Rescued US yacht girl says she knew dangers
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Last Updated: Wednesday, June 16, 2010, 00:02
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 abandoned.

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.


First Published: Wednesday, June 16, 2010, 00:02

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