Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Departure Set

After years of dreaming and months of hard work, prayer and perseverance Abby's weather router has given the go ahead for Abby to depart on her round the world sail this Saturday.

As many of you know Abby grew up sailing, traveling and having the freedom to pursue her dreams. She has explored many passions in her 16 years but keeps coming back to sailing. She gave up her horse, her position on the Mock Trial Team, her college classes and even her long hair and has thrown herself into learning every wire and button on her newly refit Open 40 sail boat Wild Eyes.

None of this would be possible without the incredible support team, affectionately called Team Abby, here in Marina del Rey. Headed up by her dad, Laurence, they have systematically put the best of the best onto an already incredible boat. Built for safe but fast single-handing in the Southern Ocean, she is equipped with 5 water tight bulkheads, an escape hatch and a self-righting system. She will be guided around the world by the professional meteorologists at Commander's Weather who have safely routed boats through the Southern Ocean for over 30 years.

If you would like to come and see her off, here are the particulars:

WHERE: Del Rey Yacht Club
13900 Palawan Way
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292-6294

WHEN: Saturday, Jaunary 23, 2010
9:30 Press Conference and Q & A
11:30 Departure

With feelings words can't express,

Laurence and Marianne Sunderland


  1. What a beautiful message to launch the voyage!

    Sounds like all systems are: Go.

    Looking forward to following Abby's journey from here through conclusion.

    Wishing Abby and the Team and the Family,
    All the Best.

    - Grant Fjermedal, Seattle

  2. All the Best.

    Wish I was closer.

    Thanks for the update!!

  3. Bonjour Abby & Wild Eyes, Family & Friends and Team,


  4. Fantastic!

    We are learning a little bit more about Abby as well. Your daughter sounds like a very accomplished young woman. I'm sure you knocked yourself out to get Wild Eyes in perfect shape for the voyage! Thank you for allowing us to follow along in cyberspace.

    What an exciting adventure!

    Wishing you all the Best, Abby!

    Richard W

  5. All the best
    Sail away
    We will be with you
    all the way.
    Bless you
    Richard (QLD) Aus

  6. Brady Nash lives with us in Spokane WA.Our household of 10 will be praying for your safety as you sail around Gods'beautiful world over the next several months. Psalm 5:1-3,12. Psalm 100.
    Be joyful in hope, The Fonda's

  7. Good luck, Abby. May God be with you and keep you safe.

  8. Been following along since the 640 KFI interview, it's been fun and the fun hasn't even really started yet. I'm looking forward to following Abby as she makes her way around the globe. Fair winds and following seas, sailor!

  9. What a great announcement. Outstanding job, Team Abby! I'm looking forward to reading about her departure and following her voyage. I wish you nothing but the best, Abby.

    From Seattle, WA, USA

  10. I'll be watching, send us plenty of photos. Have a great sail Abby,

    Happy Sailing

    Steve :-)

  11. We'll be there for the send off -- and then praying for Abby all the way!!

  12. To Dear Abby
    Our very best wishes to you and Team Abby for this the start of your amazing journey to fulfil your dream. May you stay safe and well, and don’t forget – we would like to know every little detail as we follow your progress. A bit far from Australia to watch you go, but hope to see some photos and video of your departure.
    Good Luck Abby from Faye and Max (Mulgrave, Vic, Aus)

  13. Wow, it's finally set. Wish I could get out there to see you off. Best of luck with the last minute preparations. I'll be following the whole voyage.

    Scott, Denver, CO

  14. 01-21-10 @ 01:55
    Hi Abby,
    Well young lady, it's finally here. It seems like I've been waiting for this day for a long time (not as long as you though) going thru the ups and downs and watching you studying, working and learning all that you could about "Wild Eyes". You made it!!!!
    Congratulations to you, your parents, family, friends and your great team. They all did a fine job and stood behind you all the way. God Bless them all. As they say in Aussie land, only two (2) more sleeps.
    Take care Abby and be safe, how's that cold doing????
    Good luck to you Abby, and may God bless and guide you.
    Michael(75)from Kingwood, WV

  15. Go get 'em Abby! Fair winds and following seas! Have a safe journey. I'll be following your progress.
    Sally in Annapolis

  16. And now it starts! Thanks Team Abby for all your hard work to make her dream a reality. Dad, you must be so pround of your beautiful daughter. Marina del Rey, once known as the mud flats, where the earliest known coyote fossils are found, now home to 19 marinas and 5,300 boats. Where on Saturday one sleek 40 foot boat with big wild eyes painted on her hull will make her way slowly out into the Pacific. On board, only one person. A blonde girl with a dream and a goal and a hope. To be..............only she knows.

  17. Safe journey! May He guide you and may you feel His presence in all your decisions.

    Zinc and echinacea for the cold.

    We will be praying for your great adventure,
    Gayle, Brian, Xan, Riley, Jesse

  18. Dearest Abby,

    Oh, I am so excited for you. If I could I would be there on Saturday Abby. As I'm in Auckland, New Zealand though I will have to settle for maybe a video on "You Tube"?? (Boo Hoo) of your departure and a little write-up on your blog of your memorable departure.

    Cheering you on young lady and may you know that I will be continually praying for a safe journey and good health throughout your wonderful adventure of a lifetime. :-)

    Take care my dear and enjoy every moment on Saturday. Big hugs as you set sail. Jan (Auckland, New Zealand)

  19. All the best Abby - safe journey!


    Michael from Kingwood,

    Love the fact that you are one of the few that get we have Mum's in Oz and you have Mom's in USA.

    I'm a Mum!

  20. Well, it will be early Sunday morning my time in Oz, but my thoughts will be with you Abby as you set sail on your adventure. I wish you the very, very best. No doubt you are well prepared and well supported.

    Best wishes

  21. Best wishes for Saturday Abby, we too wish we were there to see you off but hopefully you will post some photographs.

    Take care of yourself, we'll be following closely.

    Kind regards,

    The McGraths, Nowra NSW Australia

  22. Goodluck on your Journey Prayers are with you
    Evie from Bendigo Australia

  23. Hi Abby,

    Have a great time during your journey, I hope you find great weather conditions and Wild Eyes makes her job beautifully!

    Have a safe trip.

    Marina from Turin

  24. we on 'different drum ' wish you every success on your journey around this wonderfull globe,sail safely and return safely, look forward to your updates,,we love photo's.
    'different drum' fremantle,australia

  25. Kath, Qld, AustraliaJanuary 21, 2010 at 5:24 AM

    Wishing you a safe journey Abby, hope everything goes just as you want it too. Look forward to following you around the world.
    Stay safe X.

  26. Hello Abby,

    ♪ Take your protein pills and put your helmet on. Ground control (Team Abby) commence countdown. Abby, you’ve really made the grade! May Gods love be with you! ♫♪♫ (sorry, the lyrical references are a little before your time ;-)

    We will follow you all the way. Stay well,
    Bon Voyage!

    Mike D
    Philadelphia, Pa, USA

  27. Go Abby. We will be following your voyage. Wishing you and your team the very best for a safe and fun trip. Fair winds and following seas young sailor.

    Shreveport Louisiana

  28. Sorry Abby, this one’s for Dad...

    Sing’n it reggae style!

    ♪ "Don't worry about a thing,
    'Cause every little thing gonna be all right.
    Singin': "Don't worry about a thing,
    'Cause every little thing gonna be all right!"

    ♪ Rise up this mornin',
    Smiled with the risin' sun,
    Three little birds
    Pitch by my doorstep
    Singin' sweet songs
    Of melodies pure and true,
    Sayin', ("This is my message to you-ou-ou:")

    ♪ Singin': "Don't worry 'bout a thing,
    'Cause every little thing gonna be all right."
    Singin': "Don't worry (don't worry) 'bout a thing,
    'Cause every little thing gonna be all right!" ♪♫♪ - The Late Bob Marley

    And just for Mom...

    Sing’n it country style!

    ♪ Who doesn't know what I'm talking about
    Who's never left home, who's never struck out
    To find a dream and a life of their own
    A place in the clouds, a foundation of stone

    ♪ Many precede and many will follow
    A young girl's dream no longer hollow
    It takes the shape of a place out west
    But what it holds for her, she hasn't yet guessed

    ♪ She needs wide open spaces
    Room to make her big mistakes
    She needs new faces
    She knows the high stakes

    ♪ She traveled this road as a child
    Wide eyed and grinning, she never tired
    But now she won't be coming back with the rest
    If these are life's lessons, she'll take this test

    [Repeat Chorus]
    ♪ She knows the high stakes

    ♪ As her folks drive away, her dad yells, "Check the oil!"
    Mom stares out the window and says, "I'm leaving my girl"
    She said, "It didn't seem like that long ago"
    When she stood there and let her own folks know

    [Repeat Chorus]
    ♪ She knows the highest stakes ♪♫♪ - The Dixie Chicks

    Mike D

  29. Hello,

    Good luck and good winds...!

    Michel in France

  30. GO Abby! I'll be following your journey and praying for you as you sail through your God-prepared route. BLESSINGS of safety and I pray your time alone with Him permanently seals your love for the Father in a way that will never be shaken. - LA in MN

  31. At last! Looks like a great day for a departure! I'll miss seeing Wild Eyes around the Marina, but look forward to seeing pictures and reading tales of your coming adventure!


  32. Exciting!

    I have services on Saturday morning, which I'm reluctant to miss, but I might just blow it off to come see you take off. May you have a boring trip. ;-P
    Of course, we all know it won't happen, and you will rise to the occasion of each situation, with all of your experience and all of our prayers. Remember that G-d loves you, and even when you're thousands of miles from the nearest soul, you're not alone.

    Still praying Numbers 6:24-26
    Mouse in Whittier

    Buy "Death and Coffee" here!

  33. Your Oklahoma Well-WisherJanuary 21, 2010 at 7:42 AM

    What a lovely post! So exciting, so soon! Will be too far away to see you off, Abby, but my thoughts will be with you this Saturday. Go Abby! Go Team Abby! All my best, peace, Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher

  34. All the best on your journey ans may God take good care of you
    from WA Australia

  35. Gary & Linda from Colorado Springs write,
    Enjoy this fantastic adventure before you. You will be in our prayers. As we sail around Lake Pueblo, we will remember you sailing around the world.

  36. OK Abby. Time to go--finally! Fly south as fast as you can to get out of this wretched weather. Just before you shove off from the dock glance at Zac's eyes. You will see in those eyes all the encouragement that you will ever need. It is your turn now. He made all the way around and so can you.


  37. Great news. Good luck in the voyage. Blog when you can but not at the expense of focusing on what needs to be done on Wild Eyes. Stay safe Abby.
    Dwight in N.C.

  38. For Saltydog:-----You know who else likes salt is Jimmy Buffet.

    Sorry Abby, I hope that's not an abuse of your blog. Knowing your departure date makes me feel like partying. I've done more research on you and have determined that your ARE a very determined young woman. Just wanted to say that.

  39. Cheryl in San DiegoJanuary 21, 2010 at 9:20 AM

    Hi Abby,
    Wow, the countdown begins for the 'launch' of a lifetime. My prayers are with you. Please be safe and ENJOY!

  40. Wishing you and your shore team all the best ! I joined the "family" just before Zac left MDR, added Jessica to the extended family and now plan to keep you in my thoughts as you leave the dock.

    A warm sailor is a happy sailor,

    Steve in California

  41. Great Post! We look forward to all the updates, photos, and video as they come. Looks like you will have a huge following here in the cyber world. Abby may you be blessed beyond your wildest imagination. Remember you are never truly alone!!

    Be praying for ya,
    Bob in OKC

  42. Oh Abby! So excited! I'm going to miss you sooooooo much.... Too bad you don't have texting.. :) Praying that *everything* will go as planned and that you will be home SOON!

    Love ya!
    Chrissy <><

  43. Abby--

    You gave up your HORSE? >>GULP!!<< Well, looks like your priorities and mine are way different. :)

    I wasn't going to follow your adventures at first, but I got sucked in. Don't know whether to pray more for you... or your mom. ;)

    Bon voyage!

  44. For anyone interested:

    Ryan Langley, age 17, from Washington is in the final planning stages of his own attempt to circumnavigate in a Contessa 32. His new website will be up and running shortly but for now you can view his existing site at:

  45. Congratulations Abby,

    A departure set at last, so good you did all the preparation and testing for such an epic adventure, all the very best Abby! I too look forward to following your journey and to seeing pics and maybe the odd vid here and there.
    Western Australia

  46. To Laurence and Marianne,

    The further Abby sails away from you, the closer you'll be to her. You are a very courageous family!

    Wishing You the Best!
    Richard W

  47. To Bob of Seattle
    Hi Bob, just read your entry of 18th Jan 9.11 pm, and I hope this was not in reply to our “comparison” article, as yours was not one that got up my nose. Please don’t go as far as not to mention JW on Abby’s blog. We think it is great that the girls themselves have mentioned each other and we have taken it as a sign that this is ok. Check out some of the entries from Michael(75), SaltyDog (apologies to others) who follow both girls and post regular entries mentioning the other with not the slightest comparison. We think it was great that SaltyDog posted details of Abby’s departure on JW’s blog (Jan 21 3.40pm). We are just enjoying so much following both these girls and all the comments posted by their followers.
    So, back to Abby, hope all goes well for you Saturday.

    Love from Faye and Max (Mulgrave, Vic, Aus)

  48. AWESOME!!! My thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Tray M.

  49. I'll be looking for that rooster tail when you cross the start line. That 'Wild Eyes' is a speed machine. Yee Haa:)

  50. Abby,
    It sounds like you have the perfect boat for your adventure. Bullet proof, and very fast. It sounds like you should be able to consistently hit 10+ knots. I can't imagine that kind of speed. I am looking forward to following your voyage.
    Fair winds,
    San Diego

  51. For anyone interested here's a link to the current list of offshore world records. To find the youngest, click on "other kinds" to the right.

    For Faye and Max:--------What a kind and thoughtful post. You made my eyes mist. If I could do it again, I would have said we are here at Abby's invitation and as host she deserves a level of politeness. Any comparison should be kept in one's own mind.

    My statement about not mentioning JW was more to do with an increasing concern that Jessica, popular girl that she is, was being mentioned so often on this blog that Abby would start to feel that she was living in her permanent shadow. Abby's kind recognition of her rounding Cape Horn spoke more of pride in a big sister than anything else. Ryan Langley, who I mentioned in an above post, talks in depth very eloquently about how sailors, even competitors, feel towards one another. It's like a family and it opened my eyes to a new understanding.

    Thank you, Bob

    P.S. I read all of Michael's and Saltydog's posts. (and yours)

  52. Awesome Abby!

    May you always have following winds and the journey of a lifetime.

    Wish I could watch you depart on your dream journey!

    Be well and safe!

    ~ Cynthia

  53. Godspeed, Abby! You and Zac are true role models for the younger generation!
    I'll be at the end of the MDR Harbor Channel jetty taking photographs as you leave the sure to wave. Our Family will keep you in our prayers, and I'll be back at the end of the jetty taking photos when you return.

  54. I will be there to send you off with the best wishes of the San Diego Sailing community.

  55. Laurence & Marianne -- thank you for the beautiful tribute to your precious daughter and her team. None of this would have come about if you were not the loving, caring and nurturing parents you are. You are wonderful!

    I know it will be difficult to be separated by so many miles, and circumstances, and time, yet you have prepared in unison for her voyage and all of you are well prepared for this momentous occasion. Blessings to ALL, and may all of you share the joy, and live each moment with Abby as she pursues her goal.

    GO ABBY!
    Janell in Oklahoma, USA

  56. @Bob from Seattle: Thanks for posting the link to Ryan Langley. Another kid out to see the world. ;-)

    He only gets about 3 Comments per post right now, so I bet he'd enjoy hearing from any well-wishers here.

    Exciting to think that Abby is taking off on Saturday.

    A few days ago someone listed links to other solo circumnavigators -- including someone who was supposed to be rounding Cape Horn about now. If a link to that sailor got re-posted, I'd be interested in taking a look at their site to see who they are, what kind of boat they are in, and where they are in their voyage and such.

    Looking forward to seeing plenty of Abby departure photos -- especially curious to see what the new dodger looks like. ;-)

    - Grant Fjermedal, Seattle


    With Abby setting sail in just a day and a half, you might enjoy taking a look at Web sites that show the weather she is heading into.

    (Wind looks ideal for her departure - 15 to 25 knots, from the West - Northwest and then going lighter to let her get settled in. With this direction she can start off reaching, which is a fast and comfortable way to sail (compared to bashing directly into the wind.) However, over the next few days wind gets a bit TOO light.)

    So . . . back to FUN WITH WEATHER:

    I use (and would be interested to hear from others which sites they like.)

    So, What's So Fun?

    Go to the weather site, and animate the forecast for the next week. See how strong the wind is forecast, and the direction it is coming from.

    Gives you a feel for what Abby is facing. And you can play pretend weather router and try to figure out which way you would send her.

    The first week (as forecast so far) will be a doozy for the weather router. Initially it looks like the best wind will be along the coast . . . but soon a big hole (light air) opens up from the coast quite aways out to sea. Would you be better recommending she head West as much as possible to try to beat the light air that may dominate the coastal waters later in the week?

    I don't know the answer, but it is kind of fun to watch it all happen.

    Also, it is fun to see the weather that is missed. The Australian sailor in the pink boat should have painted hers green with 4-leaf clovers for the way she was able to avoid major weather before and after she rounded Cape Horn. Even with that good fortune she still had 40-knot winds, but yikes! looking at the weather charts before and after, you see that she found quite a nice window and avoided 55-knot winds. And perhaps a weather router finally got some sleep when she cleared the cape.

    Anyways, that's by 2 cents worth. Time to go back to earning a buck to support wife and kids, also a noble endeavor. ;-)

    - Grant Fjermedal, Seattle

    Post Script: Let me know if you'd like a brief tutorial on how to read all the funny arrow-like lines on They hold a lot of great information.

  58. To Bob of Seattle - one last comment please on this subject, then finish.

    We completely agree with your comments of Jan 21 7.21pm , and we hope others read this and take note. This is Abby's blog, and as so Abby should be the centre of attention, but not to say that others can't be mentioned (epsecially as we only found out about Abby on a certain other girls blog).
    So as Dinki Di Aussies, may we say:-
    Abby..Abby..Abby....Oi..Oi..Oi !!!

    Love to all from Faye and Max (Mulgrave, Vic, Aus)

  59. Hi Abby,

    Wow, the time has come! Very exciting indeed. Hope your cold is better and you get off without a hitch.

    I'll be following your journey, and I've loved reading all the "regulars" in the comments. Takes me back to my sailing days with fond nostalgia.

    Fair winds and happy sailing! Can't wait for Saturday for you!

  60. All the very best Abby.

    Looks like mostly light air for the first week. Well done Commanders. That will give Abby a chance to settle in.

    On your site it says you could cover the 21600 miles in as little as 50 days. Now that I would like to see.

  61. I think the phrase I'm looking for here right now to say to you is "GodSpeed, Abby!"

    I'm sure mom, dad, bro's & sisters are all looking forward to welcoming you back in a few months with celebratory hugs!


    Trevor Leslie, UK

  62. Viel Glück...
    Ich hoffe es wird viele Berichte und Fotos geben.
    Danke und Gruß an ALLE... - Namasté

  63. Hi Abby and Team,
    A very nice blog.
    The delayed departure time has obviously been put to good use, training, modifying, testing, re-testing all of the instruments and equipment on Wild Eyes. I note a more quiet, yet focused and confident Team Abbey, knowing that every facet of the boat and voyage has been covered and all that is left is for Abbey live her dream.
    Enjoy the voyage and be safe,
    from the great Bras d'Or Lakes.

  64. Oh, mirror in the sky ♪
    What is love? ♪
    Can the child within my heart rise above? ♪
    Can I sail thru the changing ocean tides? ♪
    Can I handle the seasons of my life? ♪

    Mmm Mmm... ♪

  65. I've decided that coming up to see you depart on Saturday is the plan. Looking forward to asking G-d's blessing upon you and your boat in person instead of from Mission Viejo. I'll be the tall scary fat man with a beard. ;-)

    Still praying Numbers 6:24-26
    Mouse in Whittier

    Buy "Death and Coffee" here!

  66. Abby, Team Abby & Family:
    Fair winds! I'll be following once again.
    Kodiak Mike

  67. The sea merely lies in wait for the innocent but stalks the unwary.(unknown)

    Be safe.
    Straight Wakes,
    Mike S.

  68. All the Best Abby, Will be following you daily!

    Remember, One day at a time!

    Take some fishing equipment if not already packed :-)

  69. Abby,

    The waiting is over. You are finally set to go. We wish you and your team the best of luck. I will be there at MDR to see your departure and pray for your safety.
    Please take care of yourself.

    Just remember safety first.

    fr@ncis (fd@)

  70. Abby and all with Team Abby,

    Our family here in Houston will be following and praying for your safety until your return. I am confident you will handle it all just fine. We were part of the Zac Pac, in fact I traveled to MDR to see him arrive back home and had the pleasure to meet him and also your Mom. Your family is such an inspiration!
    Many good wishes and hugs,

  71. Abby, Wishing you God speed with His watchful hands over you. May your journey be a safe but exciting time.

    Team Abby ... thank you for your beautiful message. Your feelings must be incredibley mixed. I can't even begin to imagine.

    God be with you all.
    Sunsine Coast, Qld. Australia.

  72. Abby the great day has finally arrived. My thoughts and prayers will be with you.
    I followed you brother's trip step by step and day by day. I wish you all the luck for you are doing the dream that I had as a young lad. But alass times have changed. I am now 64 but believe it or not I am starting to live that dream. Soon I shall follow. I will check you blog everyday as I did your brothers and now Jessica and you. God speed and Father Neptune will guide you.

  73. 01-23-10 @ 12:51
    Hi Abby,
    Well Abby, I imagine you're pretty excited now, and rightly so. So many years in the dreaming and planning stages, looking for just the right boat, flying here and there just to make sure you got what you wanted and needed, getting all the proper equipment, then bringing it home only to see it torn asunder, preparing it for the voyage, listening to all the professionals bantering back and forth about, this should be this way and that should be replaced by such and such. But I can’t knock them since they know ten (10) times more about sailing than I do, and everything finally came together. Everyone is just concerned about your safety and well being. I know it can get on your nerves though.
    That takes a lot of patience and perseverance, on your part, and a very helpful Mom, Dad, family and friends. Fortunately you have all that.
    I have been looking forward to you setting sail, that in itself is an accomplishment when you think of all the work that it took to get you to this point.
    I’ll be following you and praying for a safe and smooth adventure for you, and a happy return. Please don’t take any unnecessary chances, no matter how tempting they may be. You can’t have that moment back!!!!
    Now that day has finally arrived, and you are excited and anxious to go.
    Take a deep breath and step aboard. And may God be with you.

    Laurence and Marianne, thank you for this beautiful and talented girl and may your next child be as blessed. Good luck to you both as well.

    Good luck Abby, best of wishes and take care.
    May God hold you in the palm of His hand and may the Angels keep your sails full, and I, I will be praying for you.
    Michael (75) from Kingwood, WV

  74. This grandpa from Agoura Hills, CA has been following all of you young sailors,Jessica, Zac, Mike, Sarah (the rower) and Saito too (just about to resume his voyage,) from his comfortable chair. Thanks for giving me my daily dose of vicarious adventure. God speed to you Abby. May your journey be friutful, safe and fulfilling.
    David W.

  75. @ Grant Fjermedal

    Check out Abby's video for a fine look-see on her new dodger.

    Mike D
    Philadelphia, Pa, USA

  76. Hi Abby,
    Gosh, I can't believe the time is finally here!!! Just like I did with Zac, your blog will be the first thing I check in the mornings. Stay safe and enjoy the ride!! Will be praying for your successful journey......
    --Sue McGah
    Laguna Niguel, CA

  77. Have Posted Abby's Departure to Jessica's Site

    Just went over to Jessica's site and posted a note about Abby's upcoming Departure. Because of the time difference, the comment probably won't go live until about midnight tonight, and she already has 324 Comments for the day, so this might well be too buried for people to find, but here's what I wrote:


    Many readers of Jessica's blog will be interested to follow another young woman who is heading off on a planned solo, non-stop, circumnavigation.

    The California-based 16-year-old Abby Sunderland is scheduled to leave port this Saturday, Jan. 23 at 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time.

    The departure note on her blog begins:

    "After years of dreaming and months of hard work, prayer and perseverance Abby's weather router has given the go ahead for Abby to depart on her round the world sail this Saturday."

    The departure note also speaks of the determination that young people like Jessica and Abby require when leaving on a trip like this:

    "As many of you know Abby grew up sailing, traveling and having the freedom to pursue her dreams. She has explored many passions in her 16 years but keeps coming back to sailing. She gave up her horse, her position on the Mock Trial Team, her college classes and even her long hair and has thrown herself into learning every wire and button on her newly refit Open 40 sail boat Wild Eyes."

    Many of Jessica's followers regularly post encouragements to Abby, and many of Abby's followers do the same for Jessica.

    When will we again have two such daring young women out on the ocean alone?

    You might come over to her Web site/blog Saturday:

    and wish her well as she begins her journey.

    Should be just as fascinating a story to watch day-by-day as Jessica's continues to be.

    - Grant Fjermedal, Seattle

  78. Abby,

    When you untie the lines to pull away from Marina Del Rey, it will be like the curtains going up on stage and the spotlight will shine brightly on you. And you deserve every bit of the standing ovation that you will definitely receive from not only those at MDR but from all of us following you by way of your web site. Your family and entire supporting cast also deserve that ovation. Well done everyone involved!

    I took a quick glance at the NOAA weather site and it looks like you will have a nice NW wind to start your trip. Possibly a little lumpy to begin with, but it sounds like the big swell will settle down a bit in the following days. I sincerely wish you the very best throughout your entire voyage, Abby. Have fun everyday while making safety your number one priority always. I’m looking forward to reading every update.I'll be standing and applauding you tomorrow.

    From Seattle, WA, USA

  79. I'm there.

    just like i was with introducing biltong to Zac when he arrived in Africa.

    And aprising that Natasza has the same windvane when she pulled into St. Helena.

    We got you covered Abby.

    all corners of the earth.


  80. Go for it Abby!!!
    Al P in chilly Beijing!

  81. hi! Abby.
    Well the time has arrived for your dream to come true.

    To your family, team Abby, and 'Wild Eyes' thank you for letting this great adventure come true.

    To you Abby you will come to miss all the things around you, friends and events in your life style as it is now.
    As small as you will seem to be on the large oceans, always remember you will have a large extended family of followers wishing you a safe passage, as well as enjoying all that nature has to show you.


    Keep Smiling
    Brian Riley
    Hervey Bay. Queensland. Australia.

  82. Abby,
    Have a great trip and a wonderful adventure. We will be checking on you every day and look forward to reading each and every update.
    And thank you to your team for making it possible for all of us to follow you around the world.
    Keep safe.

  83. Abby, all the very best wishes from Gloucester VA!! You are in the hearts of many of us who are excited for your adventure to begin.
    May the fair winds be kind to you and keep you safe.
    You are in our prayers!!
    Terri Harris

  84. 23-Jan-2010
    Jessica Watson has faced her toughest test to date on her solo circumnavigation, having experienced a violent storm overnight with hurricane-force wind gusts of up to 70 knots and a swell of 7-10 metres, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

  85. Well Abby the time has come hasn't it. You'll probably be too excited to sleep much tonight. Try to calm the mind. Instead of counting sheep, try sailboats. I'm sure they are easy to visualize. Beautiful sailboats drifting one after another over a calm sea. Sails fluttering in the breeze. Seagulls drifting past. Sun warming your face. That's it, let the mind rest. .........let go.......

    Faye and Max: I smiled at your "Dinki Di Aussies, oi..oi..oi...but since Americans and Australians speak different languages, I have no idea what you're talking about. Are you tennis fans? I'm glad Henin's back.

    Abby,......Hope the press conference and the Q & A goes well. Wish it was on TV. (up here) You'll do great!

  86. Here we go!! So looking forward to your first post on wild eyes.
    I wish i had a 1/4 of your courage Abby. Be safe and have fun.
    Laura Bermuda Dunes CA

  87. Go Abby.
    Jessicas new title "I get knocked down,
    but I get up again". She and Ella survived.
    Don't worry about the Seas, just know that
    you are prepared and ready to tackle
    Praying for you
    Richard (QLD) Aus

  88. @MikeD: Thanks for the pointer to the YouTube clip of the building of Abby's Dodger!

    GREAT looking dodger. And fantastic cockpit coverage.

    Most hard dodgers don't fit in well with the boat's design, but whoever came up with this one really did well.

    Here's the link that MikeD posted:

    Let it rain! Let the waves splash! Abby ought to be nice and dry with this addition.

    - Grant Fjermedal, Seattle

  89. Abby and Team.

    Briefly -- because I think people have pretty much said it all already: Have a great and wonderful adventure!
    With some prayers, Jack Mulkey (jacko75 in your Twitter followers)

  90. Abby's Dodger Video.

    Great Video, Big Thanks for the link.

    the Dodger looks Great!!!!

    She will get some good use out of it!!!

  91. Abby,

    stay safe and have a lot fun!

    Wolfgang, H-U, Germany


    Heard you were on your way today.

    I would love to see a photo of your finished and ready to go "Wild Eye's". I did watch the video on youtube making your dodger.

    Safe trip and look forward following you on your journey.

    Lynne (Picton, NZ)

  93. great dodger design , Team Abby gets A+ for the dodger and all other work in making this project possible.

    Time for the adventure to begin ,God bless all involved.

  94. Hi Abby,


    I'm off to bed as it's 2.14am in New Zealand. Thinking of you my dear and wishing you a saf I'm so excited for you. Wishing you a safe passage out from your port.

    ENJOY :-)

    Warmest wishes and hugs from Jan (Auckland, New Zealand)

  95. Best of luck Abby! Not only are you chasing your own dreams, but you are inspiring young and old to really think about what is possible, and hopefully chase a few of their own.

  96. Fay and Max ... SACRILIGIOUS! How could you! OMG! Using our SACRED AUSSIE catch cry WITHOUT the word AUSSIE in it!!! Haha Heehee!

    WAY To GO ABBY! That's how our American mates barrack for their mob! LOL

    Abby ..... I read that your boat is AUSSIE built and designed. Well hon, have no fear, she'll be right mate! :)

    Wishing you safety, fair winds and smooth seas from across the sea in South Australia!

    Proud mother of a serving Australian soldier.

  97. Thank you for the dodger's video, Mike D. Good looks... and it lets see how much work and people it needs to do anything on a boat!

    Enjoy your adventure all along, even in the hardest moments (cf Jessica's hurricane-like storm!), because they are part of the game, make a large part of your journey's value, and will be the strongest memories too.

    @Marianne and Laurence: Be brave. Abby has the good seat, she will have all the fun, and some fears certainly, but she will be the tackling one. You won't have much fun, many more fears, and will feel useless most of the time. Pride will help, but not compensate. Good luck for living it AGAIN without stressing too much. For sure, you love your children more than yourselves, and they must know it.

  98. Good luck Abby! Be careful, be safe, have the adventure of a lifetime!

  99. 01-23-10 @ 11:53
    Hi Abby,
    I didn’t think I’d be writing another post before you left but I just read about my other heroin Jessica, and I couldn’t control myself, but you’ll probably be underway before you get to read this. Hopefully!!!!!!

    Our two (2) adventurous young ladies, here’s one (Jessica) somewhere in the South Atlantic weathering a storm of great magnitude, and our second adventurous lady (Abby) ready to pull out of Marina del Rey sailing off to get her share of the adventures on the Big Blue. And if that’s what is in your hearts,….why not? You both have good sound boats and are well trained in the sailing, and maintenance of your boats, and you are not oblivious to the hazards that could await you. I commend you for your courage.

    I’m very proud of both of you ladies for taking on a such a huge quest, and I know that you’ll both be successful at it.
    Well Abby, have a safe, enjoyable and adventurous journey, and be cautious.
    Looking forward to your first happy posts when you get a chance, Abby.

    May God hold you in the palm of His hand and may the Angels keep your sails full, and I, I will be praying for you.
    Michael (75) from Kingwood, WV

  100. Best of Luck Abby!

    For those that can't be in Marina Del Ray,try
    the MDR webcam

    It seems like it refeshes every 30 minutes, so there is chance that you can see Abby make her way to the sea!

    Bon Voyage
    Richard W

  101. Doubt this will get through on time, but a webcam overlooking marina del ray,no clue if correct or not, but looks like the main channel, abby's leaving in 2 minutes from time of writing this. refresh the page for the latest:

  102. Abby,

    It’s currently 11:30 AM, Jan. 23, 2010. Time to cast off and set sail to make a lifetime of memories.
    Thinking of you and wishing you the best.

    From Seattle, WA, USA

  103. Hi Abby,

    Godspeed & Godbless

    We'll be following your blog as you sail around the world!!

    Brian & Phill Williams
    (aka kiwi_canuck)
    Vancouver, Canada

  104. Muy buen viaje para ti y muy buenos vientos.
    Seguimos tu viaje desde ahora y felicitaciones por emprender esta aventura.
    Quito Ecuador.

    Very good trip for you and good winds.
    Continue your trip now and congratulations for undertaking this adventure.
    Quito Ecuador

  105. Grant Fjermedal,......Thanks Mike D for the You Tube about Abby's dodger construction and instillation. The definition I read used the word "canvas", so that's what I was expecting. With Jessica's knockdowns, the prospect of Abby experiencing a capsize surfaces in my mind again. For those who think it's insensitive to discuss it here, I'm sure Laurence and Marianne would not have let there daughter venture out solo without being as educated as possible to every conceivable "what if", especially capsizing.

    My question Grant is do you think in the event of a capsize, the dodger would be torn off? And Abby mentioned it's "self righting" as if they did something to the boat after purchasing it. But I might have misunderstood her. Is the "self righting" simply that the ballast is on an extended keel?


  106. 100 minutes ago... Are you on the tracks, Abby?

  107. 45° 31′ 0.02″ N, 73° 39′ 0.02″ W,........let me guess....?????......Ville de Mont-Royal.

  108. I am completely frustrated as to the lack of coverage and information on Abigail's departure! I can't find anywhere, pictures or a video of her leaving the Club and the harbor, or her press conference before that. I presume that she has left.

    I wish Abby well in her conquest of the world, and hope that there is better coverage of her doing so than at the start.

    Does anyone know where I can see pictures of her departure?

    Disillusioned Ken in Toronto

  109. Yow...leave the blogoshere for a few hours and whadda find when you return? Shazaam, a cute video of the dodger for Abby boat. Nice design job shore crew! Complete with stainless tube hand holds; first class.

    As I're gone from MDR. Looking forward to the play by play.

    Steve in California

  110. Well, she's off.

    The rest of us can commence being jealous and/or grateful that we're not out there too, depending upon our own levels of adventurous spirit and the difficulty of her daily travails.

    She and her family spoke eloquently and confidently to the questions of all the media, as well as those of us who were there just as fans and supporters. I met KarenH and look forward to seeing her again at Abby's homecoming.

    I got a blue wristband that says, "Abby Sunderland VIP" that was sweet, but wholly inaccurate, as I'm not one, but Marianne still graciously spared a few words for me in the midst of the goings-on.

    I didn't get close enough to either Wild Eyes or Abby to pray personally over either one, although Abby's friend led the whole room in a prayer that spoke to the heart of all of us. I did sing the Aaronic Benediction quietly as she cast off, and G-d certainly isn't limited by a few yards of distance.

    All of our prayers will now be sent with a greater urgency, as we all know that Abby's very life is in the hands of her L-RD, her boat, and her skill.

    G-d bless.

    Y'varech'cha Adonai v'yishmarecha
    Ya'er Adonai panav eleycha vichunecha
    Yisa Adonai panav eleycha
    v'yasem l'cha Shalom

    Still praying Numbers 6:24-26
    Mouse in Whittier

    Buy "Death and Coffee" here!

  111. Abby's News

    Thanks for the News Links!!

  112. Hi Abby,

    Yes Faye and Max, lets give Abby the Aussie Salute.

    Abby Abby Abby -- Oi, Oi, Oi!! I have heard about your solo-circumnavigation through Jessica Watson's blog.
    Have fun Abby, I am sure you will collect some wonderful memories on your journey and you will have much to tell when you get back home. All the very best to your ground/preperation crew and family as well. Cheers and Beers from Australia.

  113. Hi Abby,

    wish you good luck and a safe trip!

    Take care,

    Sven, Hamburg (Germany)

  114. A few pics from the departure and news conference. I'm not a photographer, though.

  115. Abby,

    Wishing you all the best and a safe voyage!

  116. Congratulations Abby on your departure - safe travels!

    To Bob from Seattle about capsize: Abby has mentioned that her boat is narrower than the Class 40s shown in the video and should self-right just through the weight on the bulb. Abby can also move ballast inside the boat (such as herself!)to help it right if necessary - she will be nice and safe in there and will have plenty of time. Of course, the conditions if she capsizes are likely to be quite rough, so another wave is just as likely to help her back up again - this happens often after a capsize.

    The big "but" in all of this is, of course, the risk of losing the keel altogether (higher in this type of boat than Jessica's, for example) in which case the boat is not ever coming back up, and an exit through the stern door to rescue is in order.


  117. This comment has been removed by the author.

  118. What an inspiration! I'll be following your journey!

  119. @Everyone: Wow! We've broken 100 comments for the first time. Bet this happens a lot more now that the trip has begun. ;-)

    @Adrian: Thanks for good explainer for Bob's question.

    @Bob from Seattle: You sure ask some good questions about the dodger. ;-) To your first point, you are right: Dodgers are nearly always canvas. The idea being that supposedly they can be folded out of the way when not needed, but in fact, once up they are rarely lowered.

    The hard dodger for Abby makes more sense than a canvas one for the rough weather she will see from time to time. Someone did a heck of a nice job designing this fiberglass dodger. Looks great, and look at all that room for staying dry.

    You ask an interesting structural question. To my eye this wasn't made to break away. It has a low enough profile that I don't think it would place too much of a leveraging force on the main structure in event of a knock-down. It looks well designed and well made.

    As to your other question: Would it interfere with self-righting. I think the answer would have to be Yes -- but probably not a lot.

    During my big campaign to get her a dodger (which began as soon as I saw Steve in California's comment about there not being a dodger) I never thought about the impact on self-righting. This is because I'm used to the more conventional type of sailboat with a large ballasted keel. So, you raise a very good question. The good news is that, whereas it would likely provide resistance against self righting (which is bad) I doubt if this would be a significant force -- certainly nowhere near the force that a jib or mainsail would exert if they were up when the boat turned upside down.

    As others last night posted, Jessica took 4 complete knockdowns in the Atlantic Ocean during an 8-hour storm with 30-foot seas and at times hurricane-strength winds. Because of the boat's keel design, that good old Sparkman & Stephens 34 popped right back up all 4 times.

    My hope is that Abby never gets a knock-down because her design will make it a bit dicier -- especially if she were to "turn turtle" which is mast down, keel up. Yes, she can move water ballast around, but you just don't want to spend much time upside down in a storm ocean.

    Jessica blamed some of the knock downs on a series of rogue waves. Imagine 30-foot waves colliding together to create the occasional 45-footer and you see how nasty the knockdowns can be. (I've always defined a knock down as the mast touching the water. On Jessica's site they defined it as going into the water, so she really took a beating.)

    Would be interesting to hear exactly how Jessica rode the storm. Were all sails down? Or did she have a tiny storm jib up for steerage. My bet would be all sails down and she used wind against the hull for steereage. Would also like to know if she hove-to, or set a sea anchor, or ran with the storm under bare poles.

    Whatever she did, it worked, and she survived the storm. In earlier posts I'd mentioned that at least in rounding the Horn she seemed to be as lucky as a 4-leaf clover. Taking 4 knockdowns during a hurricane of an 8-hour storm, means she's earned her stripes and proven that more than good luck is involved.

    For the next few days looks like Abby will be dealing with the very opposite: Very light air. Go to (or any other ocean weather site) to take a look at what she's dealing with now, and what is forecast to come her way.

    - Grant Fjermedal, Seattle

  120. To Disillusioned Ken in Toronto--
    You need to bookmark then any time you want breaking news, enter your search terms. In this case, "Abby Sunderland" will get you a bunch of hits. Topix is designed for searching news media. You could also try "Abby Sunderland news" in Google.

    So far, I like the Los Angeles Times article; I think it covers the bases pretty well. By now most of the local media will have posted something.

    To everybody--I've uploaded a few photos of Wild Eyes at

  121. Wishing you Fair Winds and Clear Skies.

  122. Can anyone tell me if Abby has amateur radio aboard, and if so, what band she will most likely be on?

  123. u r crazy abby:)
    even though i think u r brave!
    All alone....? your self?
    I would die!

  124. I love you Abby. Marry me. I have a daughter named Abby.