Teen Sets Sail to Break Record

Abby Sunderland is trying to be the youngest person to sail around the world

By John Adams
|  Monday, Jan 25, 2010  |  Updated 6:21 AM PDT
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Teen Sailor Returns After Roundtrip Record

Sixteen-year-old Abby Sunderland could be the second teen in her family to sail around the world.

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Sixteen-year-old Abby Sunderland set sail Saturday aboard a 40-foot yacht called Wild Eyes, starting her quest to become the youngest person to sail around the world alone. If she succeeds, she'll break the record briefly held by her older brother, Zac.

"I had begun to think that dreams are meant to be more than dreams and that in reality dreams don't come true," Abby wrote on her Web site. "Then my brother (Zac) left on his trip. It was amazing to see all the support that he got from around the world and to see who everyone worked together to help make his dream reality. Watching him do this really made me believe that I could too."

The Thousand Oaks teenager, who had been waiting for a break in the weather to set sail, left American waters on Sunday. Her family is updating her status on her blog.

"She was able to sleep some and eat some so Day 2 has been a good one," a Sunday night update read. "On to the equator!"

Her route has her sailing along the western edge of South America, around Cape Horn and then across the Southern Ocean, considered for having some of the roughest seas in the world. She plans to sail nonstop on Wild Eyes, a high-tech racing yacht, for the entire trip, which could take up to six months.

Though it will be summer in the Southern Hemisphere, most of the trip is expected to be chilly.

Abby does have some competition. Sixteen-year-old Jessica Watson, an Australian sailor, is about halfway through her attempt to sail around the world. But Abby is several months younger than Jessica, so even if Jessica sets the record, Abby could break it.

The record is currently held by British teenager Mike Perham, also 16. Perham broke Zac Sunderland's record just months after Zac complete his round-the-world adventure.

Even if Abby Sunderland sets the record, it may not last too long. She has five younger siblings who might want their stab at glory, too.

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