Around the World Sailor Girl Reunites with Brother

Sunderland defends parents decision to let her sail

By Jack Noyes
|  Saturday, Jun 26, 2010  |  Updated 7:26 AM PDT
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Abby Sunderland Sets Sail

NBC

Zac and Abby share a moment aboard French rescue ship before they disembarked at La Reunion, a French island just east of Madagascar.

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Back on dry land 16-year-old Abby Sunderland reunited with her brother Friday in La Reunion, a French island just east of Madagascar.

Images of the reunion moved on an international satellite around 9:15 p.m.

A family friend told NBCLA Abby should be back home in California "Monday or Tuesday." Abby's blog stated she plans on holding a 10 a.m. Tuesday news conference in Los Angeles..

Young Sunderland is the teenage sailor who tried to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world.

Abby held a short news conference after docking. "The past few months have been the best months of my life, I've enjoyed almost every minute of my time out on the water."

"I'm really disappointed things did not go as planned. I was on an adventure and you can only plan so far in an adventure," Sunderland said.

Abby thanked everyone involved in her rescue.

"I'd like to thank my family. They have put up with a ton of stuff to help me follow my dream. And there's been a lot of extremely unfair and offensive criticism towards them," Sunderland said.

"They have been my greatest supporters. They've always supported me and they've helped me to follow my dream and encouraged me to think big all my life. And the criticism is ungrounded, it’s from people that don't know the facts."

Abby thanked her older brother Zac for inspiring her. He was sitting next to her during the the news conference.

"We're all really sad about loosing the boat...but I'm looking forward to getting home and seeing my dog," she added.

Her odyssey capsized on June 10 when three-story-high waves snapped her boat's mast. A French fishing boat 2,000 miles west of Australia rescued her two days later.

She had already in April given up hope of becoming the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe solo when she was forced to stop for repairs.

Her brother Zac, who himself set a brief record by being the youngest person to sail around the world last year at age 17, met up with Abby on the ship and was with her when they sailed into the port at La Reunion.

Sunderland saled for the past 10 days on the Osiris. The ship returned Abby from the Kerguelen Islands, a remote and barren patch of rocks in the ocean toward Antarctica, where she was taken briefly after the rescue.

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