Saint Denis De La Reunion (France): A
teenaged American girl rescued from her dismasted yacht in the
Indian Ocean told AFP today that she knew the dangers before
setting out to sail around the world.
"My trip`s definitely dangerous... but I think I`m just
as capable as any sailor," Abby Sunderland told AFP by
telephone from the Kerguelen Islands, the remote French
archipelago where she was taken after fishermen rescued her.
"Being dismasted -- that was a chance that I was willing
to take," she added, speaking before setting off today for the
French island of Reunion where her parents were due to meet
her and take her back home to Los Angeles.
A multi-national effort was mobilised to rescue
Sunderland when her 12 metre yacht "Wild Eyes" was dismasted
during a fierce storm on Thursday.
In her interview with AFP today, she thanked officials
and her rescuers who took her onboard a French fishing boat
Saturday after two nights drifting helpless. The boat was
The 16-year-old refused to describe the circumstances of
her demasting but would not blame the rough winter weather in
the Indian Ocean.
"The time of year had nothing to do with what happened to
my boat. I`ve had incredibly good weather my whole entire
trip. I`ve had better weather than most people," she said.
Sunderland said she prepared the trip with the help of
her brother, who himself had sailed around the world, and her
father who is also a sailor.
"I was planning my trip because I loved sailing and I
wanted to sail around the world and I had wanted to for
years," she said.
"I definitely still love sailing just as much as the day
I left and I`m going to keep sailing."
The rescue came just a month after Australia`s Jessica
Watson became the youngest person to sail round the world
non-stop, solo and unassisted, aged 16.
"I was planning to do my trip before I`d ever heard of
Jessica Watson," Sunderland said.