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Abby Sunderland goes for sailing record

Thursday, Jan 7, 2010  |  Updated 2:47 PM PDT
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Q&A With Zac Sunderland

AP

Abby Sunderland wants to one-up older brother Zac when she sets sail in November in a quest to become the youngest person to sail around the world alone.

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Zac Returns Home

Zac Sunderland and his sailboat, Intrepid, finally return home.
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The sailing record set by 17-year-old Zac Sunderland this summer is already in danger of falling: his little sister is planning her own circumnavigation, it was reported Saturday.

Abby Sunderland, 15, has found her boat in Rhode Island, and her shipwright father is lining up sponsors to buy it to sail it around the world, the Ventura County Star reported.

Zac and Abby Sunderland's father, Laurence, told the newspaper the right boat is an Open 40-class sailboat used in races. The boat's price is $150,000.

Zac Sunderland established the record as the youngest person to circumnavigate the world alone, completing his journey July 13, about 13 months after leaving Marina Del Rey.

Zac sailed west, across the Pacific, but Abby has charted a course south, past Central and South America, then east around Cape Horn, past South Africa, across the Indian Ocean, past Australia and then east across the Pacific back to California.

The Ventura County Star reported Abby's route would take her across the "Roaring Forties" in the southern Indian Ocean, one of the most forbidding stretches of the sea in the world. Because there is no land mass to slow sailors down, the prevailing westerly winds are especially strong there, and the storms can be unforgiving.

Abby said her preparation currently daily visits to the gym to get in top physical shape for the journey. She said she has already found one sponsor to help pay for the trip, and family is looking for others.

"She's really prepared for this," Abby's mother, Marianne Sutherland, told the Star. She said her daughter is a more experienced sailor than her older son, Zac.

Marianne said Abby talked about a solo sail around the world before her brother left last year.

An Australian teen, Jessica Watson, is getting ready to take the same route. Watson, who turned 16 on May 18, plans to set sail from Australia in mid- September to beat Zac's record. Abby won't turn 16 until Oct. 19 and said she must leave by mid-November to round Cape Horn during the Southern Hemisphere summer.

Meanwhile, another solo teen sailor, England's Mike Perham, is on course to return to his homeport as early as this month. If so, he would hold the record -- at least until one of the girls breaks it.

The Sunderlands live in landlocked Thousand Oaks, near the Los Angeles-Ventura county line.

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