Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Fine Tuning

Hey everyone,
Sorry it has been so long since I last wrote. Life has been pretty crazy lately, crazy in a good way. I went out for another short sea trial. This time with Allen Blunt, the rigger, who needed to finish up tuning the rig. It was a beautiful night. We went out past Catalina Island and back. The thought of just keeping on going was very tempting, though after some thought I decided that Allen may not be all that happy if he woke up in the morning to find that we were nowhere near Marina del Rey! And so, we turned around a few miles past Catalina.

The trial went pretty well, though we did find even more problems with the charging system. The bad weather this week has ended up to not be all bad, as Jerry Nash, and a new member of our team, Scott Lurie, are hard at work rewiring the whole charging system and I have a bit of a cold. I'm hoping to be well enough in the next day or two to get out in a few of these storms and see how every thing puts up in a bit of weather. Wild Eyes handles so well in rough weather that I'm really looking forward to getting out there!

The extra time on shore has given me an opportunity to meet and talk with a few seasoned sailors that have had great suggestions and advice. Stephen Mann of Tawodi came up from San Diego for a few days which was great and Jeff Casher, who circumnavigated over a period of 8 years, has been advising me as well as synching my 3 Panasonic Toughbook computers to Wild Eyes' systems. (Thank you Panasonic America for coming through for me at the last minute!!)

I have been practicing using some of my equipment that I had never used before like the AIS ships radar and the Thrane & Thrane Sailor 250 that will allow me to check email and send photos and video. I have to be very careful about how many Megabytes I use as it an expensive peice of equipment to run. Thank you to Fleet Broadand provider GMPCS in Florida for sponsoring me a generous monthly allowance. I hope I can keep to it!! No web surfing for me!

Congratulations to Jessica Watson on rounding Cape Horn! She's done an amazing job and I hope the rest of her trip goes as well as it has so far. I also recently heard that Laura Dekker is now being allowed to go on her trip. I wish her the best of luck, I don't know her personally but she seems like a great kid!

Sixteen seems to be the age now for people to head out on their circumnavigations with Zac, Mike, Jesse, and myself. I'm very impressed by Laura Dekker and the guts she must have to face her critics. I can only imagine how bad it has been for Laura being as young as she is. It sounds like she'll be having the time of her life, two years of cruising around the world. Laura, Jesse good on ya both!

I wanted to thank Nate N Al's Deli in Thousand Oaks for hosting a small dinner party for my team. It was a lot of fun to get together and have a little time to relax and talk and the food was great!

As it is an El Nino year, we are having a lot of interesting weather. There are a series of cold fronts coming up the California coast this week in quick succession which means I will have to wait until late Friday or early Saturday to make some serious southward progress. Even then, it will be a rough few weeks with more systems predicted to form. We will be sure to let you all know as soon as the time, date and place are confirmed.

Well, better get back to getting over this cold!




  1. Abby - Just enjoy EVERY part of this experience - All of it is an accomplishment - Well done for 'so far'. Keep going.....

  2. Again, thank for the updates.

    Hope you get over your cold.

    All the Best

  3. Sounds like it's all coming together for you Abby. Take care of your cold.

    Bay of Quinte, Lake Ontario, Canada eh!

  4. Sounds like Stephan Mann really enjoyed his visit with Abby and the rest of the Sunderland family.

    Readers here might enjoy exploring his Web site. Here's the link to his post on visiting Abby (in which he speaks of what a great team she's got working with her):


    And here's what Stephan Mann wrote:

    "I rode the motorbike up to Marina Del Rey last weekend to see “Wild Eyes” and to show support for Abby Sunderland. The boat looks great and I was really impressed with their level of prepairation and by the people who are involved with her. Abby sailed out to Catalina and back and was just returned on Saturday morning, but was up and about for a busy day on Saturday. In the time between cameras, we spoke about the trip and her boat. I spent the night up at the Sunderland house and gave Zac a ride back to the marina on the back of the bike Sunday morning. We worked around the boat till mid-afternoon when it began raining. She has such good people helping that I was no more useful than tits on a boar, so I left on Sunday evening and dropped in on my brother Robert who lives in L.A.. Monday morning was a wet bike ride in the rain back to San Diego. Because of the weather that has moved in for this week, they have delayed Abby’s departure till next weekend, God willing and the creek don’t rise."

  5. Thanks got the update. It seems each day you have been delayed you have used to become better prepared for your adventure. Glad you will have a chance for the rough weather sea trial before you take off. Good luck with your journey.

    Jim L

  6. Hi Abby - It was wonderful to go on your blog tonight and see your nice message....but there is never going to be a need for you to apologize; your goal is the priority.

    Sounds like you are using the weather delay to your advantage to get all of Wild Eye's systems in optimal working order....plus using the opportunity to log a few more hours with the new equipment will increase your confidence I'm sure. Your attention to details and preparation will pay big time when you are underway!

    I'm really proud to be a part of your blog-family and look forward to following you on your amazing adventure! Will be checking in often for updates and will celebrate along with you and all your family and team when departure date appears!

    You are a very brave young woman! I pray only the very best for you ALL the way around the globe!
    Janell in Oklahoma, USA

  7. Hi Abby,

    Waiting to you leave port
    The comments on the blogg will change from questions, speculation and advice to just good old best wishes and strong support.

    Your website now indicates you may anchor and rest during your trip. is this so?

    Good Luck with the trip

  8. Yeah, today it even qualified as weather! I was watching the sky today and thinking to myself, "Gee I'm really not qualified to be sailing in this weather." Fortunately, I was looking out my living room window at the time, so nobody is in danger. Still, it would have been a more challenging and exciting day than I did have!

    Still praying Numbers 6:24-26
    Mouse in Whittier

    Buy "Death and Coffee" here!

  9. Glad to hear you are taking the time to fine tune all the small problems that are arising.

    Nice comments re the other young sailors (its all getting a little too competitive and safety will become an issue if it is not kept in check) - you are all in a league of your own when it comes to courage and composure.

    All the best


  10. Abby,
    Sounds like it's really coming together. You and your team have done a tremendous amount of work in a short amount of time. Hope you get over your cold soon!

    Best of Luck!
    Richard W

  11. I wondered if you'd be taking advantage of the weather to put Wild Eyes through her rough-water paces with all the new gear & rigging. It does seem sorta lucky! Our weather is generally so mild, there could have been conditions you wouldn't experience for weeks or months at sea!

    Love to read the excitement at hitting some real weather. You'll be diving over the swells in no time!

  12. Hi Abby,
    It is great to hear from you and your thoughts of the other sailors circumnavigating the world.
    The working bee of experienced people around you must bring you to a level of excitement you would not normally feel in every day life.
    It is good to hear you are having some R&R with your team thanks to Nate N Al's Deli well done.
    All we can do is wait for your window of opportunity to open and the departure date.
    Keep Smiling
    Brian Riley
    Hervey Bay. Queensland. Australia

  13. Abby,------A nose bath might sound a little weird but it's the best way to stop a cold in it's tracks, and to prevent one. I haven't had a cold in 15 years. Warm water in a dish, 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Lower your face into the water. Keep your mouth closed. Slowly (I do this once a week and it's no big deal but if you are not used to it, your system rebels) breathe in through your nose. If one side is more plugged than the other, close the good side with a finger. Water will flow into your mouth. Spit it in the sink. Repeat till the dish is empty. You are sterilizing the area where the bacteria and viruses love to hang out. Good luck!

    Sounds like everything is coming together for you. Hope the weather improves and you can depart soon.

  14. Well done, Abby.
    Don't put it off too long or you
    will be in the Southern Ocean in Winter.
    All the same, I wish you all the best.
    Smooth sailing
    Richard (QLD) Aus

  15. Hello Abby,

    Sorry you've got that cold but hope you'll be feeling tip-top really soon.

    You too, like Jessica, paints a picture for us with words. I don't know boating jargon but I sure do appreciate your skills and knowledge and the mature way you say things. I so wish you all the very best preparation time and look forward with everyone else to your departure date.
    Sunshine Coast, Qld. Australia.

  16. Thank you for the update, Abby... D Day is closing! I hope you will leave your cold on the shore, remember you can't take it as a passenger if you want to sail solo!

  17. Abby,

    Was wondering where you were!

    Thanks for keeping Jesse in your thoughts. No doubt the crowd following her will be climbing aboard with you as you get underway.

    As you brought up Laura Dekker... I would like to see if you or others here think that in a number of ways hopping from port to port is more dangerous than the open ocean. A lot more traffic and the very real risk of physical harm from the criminal element. Is her government going to provide a body guard?

    Anyway, I wish you all the best, and for all those who sail the seven seas...


    (auto pilots do not like "following" seas)

  18. Best wishes Abby,

    You sound relaxed & confident in your boat & your team. We look forward to your sail date & reading about your journey.

    It was also nice to read your heartfelt comments to Jesse & I'm sure she wishes you all the very best too.

    You will have to take care of yourself this week, you don't want that cold to become worse, so if you can, lots of water & lots of rest time.


    The McGraths, Nowra NSW Australia

  19. Hi Abby
    Just wanted to wish you a speedy recovery
    Evie from Bendigo Victoria Australia

  20. Hi Abby!
    You must make absolutely sure that the charging system and the autopilot work, especially since you have no wind vane. Of the five solo circumnavigators out there I know about, three are having serious trouble with such equipment.

    Jeanne Socrates has engine problem (I believe she does usually not need it for charging but it is needed sometimes). Minoru Saito has engine problems and can't charge. Dilip Donde has autopilot problems. The fourth, Bernt L├╝chtenborg has had other serious problems, the rudder, which now works OK (he will reach Cape Horn in three days and is expecting a hurricane). These four are above age 40.

    And the fifth, Jessica, has no real problems.

    You go Abby, you can do it! But the weak point is often the boat, not the sailor. It is better to have little more winter conditions near Tasmania than to stop the journey halfway. It is good that you have professional support!

    Ben Larsson, Gothenburg, Sweden

  21. Hello Abby,

    See, good things come to those who wait... More sponsors! Congratulations!

    Sorry to hear you have a cold, but that will pass quickly. It’s one of few the downsides to all of the meet and greets you've been up too; shaking lots of hands and picking up cold germs. You won't have to worry about getting sick once your out at sea!

    Thanks for another great blog and filling us all in on your adventurous preparations. We all feel your anticipation and can hardly wait for your journey to begin. It'll happen soon enough though. You just get good and fit and ready ;-)

    Take care,

    Mike D
    Philadelphia, Pa, USA

    P.S. A hardy Hello to the entire Sunderland family!

  22. 01-20-10 @ 11:22
    Hi Abby,
    Sorry to hear about your cold, I hope you get that out of your system before you set sail.
    Glad to see that you’re getting that charging system straightened out, you’ve had a lot of trouble with that. I hope it will stand up after you take off. Will that shut you down, or do you have a back-up for that?
    I hope that with this delay you’ll be able to get all the bugs out of that system.
    Here’s hoping everything works out good for you, and that you can set sail at the end of this week. It just seems like it’s been rough on you with all these delays, what a happy girl you will be when you finally sail on. Yes….
    I’m praying for you Abby.
    Take care and be safe.
    Good luck to you Abby, and may God bless and guide you.
    Michael(75)from Kingwood, WV

  23. Hope your cold and the conditions get better soon so you can get started. It must be so agonizing having these delays, but at the same time good to know Wild Eyes will hold up for the long haul.

    Scott, Denver, CO

  24. Abby,

    I bet you’re getting a little worn down. But all of the hard work and preparation that you’re putting in now will pay big dividends in the long run. You’re setting a good example for anyone whether they are about to sail around the world or just go for a 3 hour sail. Be prepared before you untie the mooring lines.

    You show a lot of class, Abby, by showing your support and encouragement to Jessica and Laura. I know Jessica feels the same way back at you. I’ve always felt that there’s an unwritten code that says that all boaters need to help and support each other when ever possible. Anytime that I’ve had a chance to help someone on the water and they ask how they can thank me, I say to pass it on. I just tell them to help someone else when they get a chance. It eventually makes the full circle and comes back to you.

    I’ve been watching the NOAA marine forecasts, and it just looks relentless. I’d sure like to see it mellow out a bit before your departure. Have patience, Abby. That day will get here.

    From Seattle, WA, USA

  25. Bob from Seattle,

    I like your fishing tips to Abby. I used snubbers on my commercial salmon troller years ago. My tuna fishing experience, both commercial and recreational, is pretty limited. But I bet some of the locals in her area can give her some great tips. Even if Abby didn’t want to bring out the rod and reel for some serious fishing, it seems like it would be fun to toss out what we used to call a “whiskey line.” Rig a feather jig to a leader 5 to 10 fathoms long tied to a snubber that has a swivel on one end and a clip on the other. Clip it to a rail at the back of the boat and just leave it dragging behind the boat. That is as long as she’s not already dragging a drogue. 6 to 8 knots would be a ballpark speed to troll for tuna, so you never know.

    From Seattle, WA, USA

  26. No real hurry Abby, it is most important that the charging circuit as well as all the other equipment is totally reliable for such a journey, as any shortcut could jeopardise your whole project.
    To hezakiah229, thanks Michael(75) always look for your postings also, and a belated Happy Birthday, (check out the limerick on Jesse’s blog when it is posted !).
    Really nice of you to send congratulations to Jesse, we are sure lots of people will appreciate this comment.
    Getting close now Abby, good luck and stay safe.

    Love from Faye and Max (Mulgrave Vic Aus)

  27. Phew!...finally. Thanks Panasonic as I type this on my toughbook :-) pssst... you should have updated the a/c adapter cord by the plug 5 years ago !

    Back to the action. There's a reason for this delay, which will be come clear perhaps in the middle stretch or certainly on the back end.

    Just as Zac had to bac trac ;-) bac to that little port in Mexico due to the Hurricane. A timely delay as the bulkhead gave way will still close enough to haul to Puerto Puerto Vallarta.

    Most or more importantly you're relaxed enough right now to even notice that you have a cold :-)

    That's the key.

    ...reminds me since it's non stop better check your molars and xray them in case they decide to erupt, you'll know where your stand. Ask Mom about that.

  28. Hi Abby,
    It's good you're finding these bugs and getting them ironed out. It must be sooo frustrating for you, but I guess that is good practice, as you will no doubt have a number of frustrations to deal with on your journey.

    Hope your cold gets better very soon and look forward to reading of your departure date.

    Best wishes

  29. I'm reading Grant's switching off (again) :-(

    Please don't go. Aside from your wealth of experience and professional writing skills, where or whenever will you ever be able to participate in a back-to-back circumnavigation from the same family :-)

    Moreso as a few recogniseable "zacsters" are here, how to jog memories and notes if your keen mind decides to stop posting and not follow the flow.

    For instance. Remember when Mike's 'team' switched of tracking around Cuba. Dad said it's because of pirates. LOL. When called to task he too indirectly scoffed at that notion. What it turned out to be per perham (is that a pun or a per :-) )documentary, he was becalmed and drifting hours away onto a reef off of Cuba. that's all that was, no pirates, just a cunning disguise because he was in near certain danger.

    Who to bring this up with if you disappear?

    please don't go, this past year and ths year will never be repeated ever again.

    Your comments and observations and inputs need to be recorded real time live on these blogs for future generations to come.

  30. @Anonymous at 2:37 p.m. - THANKS for the exceedingly kind words. ;-)

    Your note about the chance to experience back-to-back circumnavigations from the same family certainly rings true.

    I'm anticipating that once Abby takes off the whole world (so to speak) is going to jump onto this blog and it will get very crowded, and I will be delighted that it is.

    On the day she takes off I plan to post a note on Jessica's blog, and I'm sure plenty others will to. The note will invite them over to enjoy both trips.

    If we get just half of them, expect to see hundreds of Comments a day. I rarely post over on Jessica's blog because with 500 to 1,000 comments, seems like there would hardly be anything left to say -- and I just don't have the time to see what the first 500 hundred or so actually DO have to say. ;-)

    Maybe things will be a bit less hectic here, and if so, it will be nice to continue with this nice, and nicely growing, community.

    All the Best,

    - Grant Fjermedal, Seattle

  31. 01-20-10 @ 20:32
    Hi Abby,
    Just checking in to pump you up a little bit, like you really need it. Ha, ha. Yeah right.
    Main thing I wanted to mention to you (not insulting your intelligence) is to watch the medicine that you take for the cold. Some of the O.T.C. meds can really knock you on your,_ and that’s not a good thing right now. It’s as bad as drinking whiskey. I’m sure your Mom has you covered on that one. But they can make you groggy and unsure of yourself for a number of days. I am not a doctor, just experienced.
    I also enjoyed your congratulatory remarks for Jessica, I thought that was very nice, and also your support for Laura, she’ll make it someday, somehow. I really hope that someday when this sailing episode is over that you girls can get together, share your experiences, have a good chat, and just be yourselves…….Teenage girls. Yes??? Yes!!! LOL…….

    For Faye and Max:
    I haven't gotten to see the limerick yet, but it's guaranteed I will, and I'm sure it's a good one. Thank you for the belated wishes, always appreciated.

    Glad to see that you’re an open-minded person who will listen to suggestions and advice, all you have to do is weed through it all and use any and all that pertains to your situation.
    In today’s society people are much more intelligent at a younger age due to all the learning tools that are available to them, and sometimes the people from the “Old School” don’t see that, or maybe won’t admit it. (Boy, I’m in for it now).

    Sounds like you’ve got a job ahead of you learning how to operate all of that new fangled electronic equipment. Of course, you realize that your fans and followers will hound you for pictures and video’s now. Be cool!!!
    Got to go, Take care and be safe.
    Good luck to you Abby, and may God bless and guide you.
    Michael(75)from Kingwood, WV

  32. hi abby, like jess i wish u all the luck and best wishes for a safe journey and may god speed b with u. i will have 2 young adventures to watch for a few months. sail safe.
    p and j
    bundy qld

  33. Good luck and Best wishes Abby!

    Cheers from Proud Mum of a serving Australian Soldier in Adelaide, South Australia!

  34. hi abby, I´m from prague from czech name Lukas
    yes good action :)

  35. May Mother Ocean carry you in the palms of her hands, God Hold you in his heart. Don't for get to set your alarms.
    Capt. Art
    Fort Walton Beach Fl.

  36. you are something have a nice day abby

  37. Here is a quote that helped me on my much smaller adventure which is at m-trips.blogspot.com. It's "Make journeys; attempt them..." May you keep looking up as you take part in your adventure.

  38. Hi Abby,
    I'm having fun sailing along with you (in my arm chair). I don't get the spray in my face but I feel like I'm there when I read your blog. I followed Zac all the way around and am looking forward to seeing you through till your return to MDR. Have fum and know that a lot of people are thinking of you.

    God Bless


  39. Abby, You are a very brave young woman and admired by many! Its people like you that motivate others. Welcome back home! Best of luck in all you do.