Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Clarifying Misinformation

There has been so much written in the media that is either incorrect or out of context. We’d like to clear up a few points:

AUSTRALIAN SEARCH AND RESCUE COSTS:
The Australian government has never asked us to contribute anything towards the recovery costs and has no intention of doing so. Australia – like the USA and other countries with significant coastlines, are part of the international agreement to assist those who need help within their search and rescue territories. All of these nations do this for citizens of all countries and this is funded by the respective governments. Australia has a robust media and each time there is a rescue – irrespective of the nationality of the person concerned – the media alone tends to make this an issue which in turn stirs up some emotions. We value and appreciate the Australian government and volunteer organisations – as we do the French authorities - who assisted Abby.

REALITY SHOW
We were approached by Magnetic Entertainment last year before Abby departed to shop a reality TV show based on our family. Abby's trip was already sponsored. Their idea was to do an inspiring show about Zac and Abby’s adventures, what our family was like and what made them as strong and independent as they are. The show was shopped and not sold. All rights were returned to us. There is no reality TV show or documentary in the works and we are not pursuing one. It is sad and ironic that some of the media - who are sensationalizing and twisting Abby’s story for profit - accuse us of doing the same thing. We can assure you that our priority is the protection of our children, something all parents will understand.

554 comments:

  1. Phew!, the media can be brutal, eh? The important thing is, is that Abby is safe and well...

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  2. btw, she may be 16 but acts 35... a very mature, well together lady... she kept her wits about her, to that I am proud of...

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  3. Dear Abby,
    I am 15 and I want to thank you for going against the low expectations society has of teens. I am sorry there has been so much criticism of your doing something hard. You are in my prayers. Stay strong! On Christ the solid rock we stand.

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  4. This is a great blog entry. I am not a blind follower of Team Abby and reading some of the stuff in the news was painful, but now hearing from these people who were actually in the "Know" just shows how wrong the media is portraying this story. Keep up the good work on this blog, and Abby if/when you do try again I will be following all the way. Stay safe and good luck! Try not to take it to heart what is being said about you and your family right now.

    Logan
    ithaca, ny

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  5. I support Abby and her dreams 100%!

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  6. I'm glad folks stood up to defend not only their positions but Abby's as well. This only shows that the decisions were all professional and not just put on the parents. Should Abby decide to try this again, I'll support her in every way possible!

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  7. I agree totally! I came across Abby's blog totally by accident and have been following along with her ever since. I was amazed at her courage and strength. The media can...well..you know. They will eventually go on to someone else, so don't lose heart! I am just happy everything came out alright and she is fine, as everyone else should be and quit focusing on any negative they can use to sell a story!! Much luck to all the family.

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  8. Thanks for this post. It is frustrating to see the media skew the facts so much. I've been following Abby's "adventure" since the beginning and I think it is wonderful. I will help you all in spreading the truth. Have a safe trip home Abby :D

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  9. Thank you for clarifying this. I first began reading your blog just last week, and I am so proud of your your daughter. Your family is truly an inspiration.

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  10. I am glad to see the Aussie search and rescue and Commander's Weather coming to your defense. Stay strong Sunderland family.

    Paul

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  11. I am so glad someone spoke up for the Australian Search and Rescue and for Abby and her parents...it makes me sick how the Media want to use people. Nothing was in oue News until the storm happened and then they all jumped on it. Thank you, Mr.and Mrs.Sunderland for raising such wonderful role models for our youth. DO NOT listen to those ignorant people !!!!!!!!!!
    Grandma in Oregon

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  12. As a 57 year old sailor and father of two daughters, I can only say that Abby's parents are amazingly supportive! Zac and Abby are lucky to have such understanding and supportive parents. There will always be critics because they do not have the courage or wisdom to do anything but criticize. I am very happy Abby is safe and I truly hope she has the opportunity to attempt to circumnavigate the globe again. I would like to do it myself before I die. God Bless the Sunderland family!

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  13. Good for you Abby. Don't give up!!!!

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  14. Thank you for your post and the statements from those really involved. Abby has shown such wonderful seamanship skills and maturity. Only those who have sailed can really appreciate her accomplishments. Godspeed to Abby and family!!

    Nina from MdR (Cat. 42)

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  15. Thank you for fighting back. What the media has done with this is disgusting. I applaud the different agencies for their input as well. An excellent post. Abby, there are a lot of us who respect you so deeply and whose lives you have impacted for the better. Thank you for redefining "failure". The way you stand up to the bullies will define you - not their ignorant, sensationalist criticisms.

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  16. Abby, you and your parents represent a true brave and committed family who embrace life and it's challenges and work to realize your dreams. Kudos for that. I believe truly that you are a superbly capable sailor who did not dive into this dream blindly and furthermore, if sailing around the world were easy, everyone would do it....looking forward to a book !!

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  17. I have been aggravated by the media's coverage of your family and Abby. Even more, though, I've been disgusted by those individuals reading the articles who feel that based on five paragraphs and a few sliced up quotes they now have the right to tell you how to raise your children. It's just appalling.

    I've loved following Abby's progress these past few months, and I'm so glad she's safe. I hope that the media will grow tired of this before long and leave you all be. Really - it sounds like Abby is a wonderful girl with a wonderful family. I hope you all get some peace here soon, especially once she's back home safe and sound.

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  18. Abby as a father I am so proud of you! Here in Gulfport Mississippi wishing you the best and Go for it again. Bob Sawyer www.sawyerteam.com

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  19. I for one commend you as parents in supporting your child's dreams. I am sure you prepared her well and knew she was skilled enough to complete her voyage. As a parent myself I raised my children to reach beyond their comfort zone and attempt any dream. Kudos from all of us adventurers. Thank you as well for countering the media. People should relize the media is there to sell their product not report the facts. For people to believe what they read is beyond my understanding. We all must question and think. Thank you again Abby for the posts. I applaud your spirit and encourage you to try again if that is in your future. Thanks for reminding us we all should seek our dreams.

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  20. Thanks for the additional information. I noted CNN and other American outlets reported Abby missing, while BBC reported her is distress. Only BBC was correct. Our hero Jessica rolled 180 degrees off the Falklands an area supposed to be one of the safer that she sailed in. But she was lucky and the mast took it.

    Alessandro Di Benedetto lost most of his mast, and he was in an area much further North, and consider relatively safe. He is by no mean inexperienced, and still had to take what the weather dished out.

    After following Abby's blog I now would trust her any time, any where she felt she could sail.

    Robert Mosher

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  21. I first read about Abby's trouble on this blog, and my reaction was nothing but concern for her safety and well-being. I was gobsmacked to read all of the criticisms on the news stories. The evidence of Abby's levelheadedness from her writing alone is striking, and I can only imagine that in person she is mature beyond her years. Best wishes Abby, and don't let the meanies get you down!

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  22. Congratulations to you and the whole team of people who have worked with you, both in preparing for the trip, during the journey and finally in the rescue. Uan great person you Abby. One day get the goal of going around the world or any other that you propose. Good luck.
    Joaquim Guasch
    Barcelona
    Spain

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  23. Here Here!! Thank you for being brave enough to face the naysayers and critics for things they have blown out of proportion just to sensationalize and "sell" this story that, up until two weeks ago, they couldn't be bothered with.

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  24. I stand with you, Sunderlands. This storm will pass, tho not soon enough! Continued blessings to you all!

    Melanie in Torrance

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  25. Well said! Keep up the good spirits. The media are a bunch of hounds trying to make a story. You seem like great parents! Gob Bless.

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  26. Don't let the critics get you down. Hurry home Abby!!

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  27. Thank You. I think most of the us knew the truth, but we also know you needed to clarify everything for the "critics" and the media idiots. Too bad the media will never read the blog.

    Abby is a lucky girl in many ways. She was born into a terrific family who allowed her to pursue a dream. He adventure is not a failure. She is a winner in every way possible.

    Jim
    Elgin, IL

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  28. Right ON!!!! I am 200% behind you!

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  29. I too am so tired of hearing the media bash you and Abby for this fabulous opportunity you have given her. What they don't understand and don't bother to investigate is how well prepared she was for this adventure. She is going to be a much better adult for it.

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  30. Don't listen to the critics or the media. Abby is a remarkable young lady and sailor ... you are amazing paretns who have raised a true inspiration in Abby.

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  31. Thank you for this fabulous post. I think it's so important that we answer our critics. I've only recently heard of this story and I only heard the sensationalism and just rolled my eyes. I'm so tired of it all.

    Once again the media is drumming up "facts" to sell pages to the sheep who won't look any further or the actual truth.

    Good luck to you all. I find this inspirational.

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  32. I really Respect both Laurence and Marrianne, and ALL of Team Abby for that matter. You guys have met all the challenges head on and done so with grace been able to keep above the fray so to speak. I spend a LOT of time driving from one location show to another, and I listen to a LOT of talk radio, and the amount of mis-information that has been spread and the opinions that they are touting is just appalling.

    That was a GREAT informative post.. and worthy of a forward to all the media outlets. Unfortunately, whether to boost their ratings or if in fact, they actually believe the stuff that they are spouting, their mind is already made up and no amount of FACTS will change what they are putting out on the airwaves.

    Thank YOU for allowing us to share in Captian Abby's Adventure... Those of us who support you will always have your back. If there is ANYTHING I can do for you.. please do not hesitate to ask.

    Richard Rumble
    Dana Point, CA

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  33. I just saw some bullshit on the news about this. I have been following you since day one and it makes me so upset that they would say all this stuff. I am so happy you are safe and coming home. I just wanted to say don't worry about the media people are going to believe what they want to believe. People that care no the truth, that you and your family are a remarkable source for human sprit. I am sure you will be back out there in doing it again with in a year. Get home safe!

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  34. Abby! You sailed half way around the world! Congratulations! It is amazing to watch the media work, unbelievable. Just hold your head up high and look them straight in the eye! Yes, I made that rhyme! Good Job Abb!

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  35. Abby, I fully support you and your parents. Encouraging our children to achieve is very important. That our children have the ability and confidence to accept a great adventure is wonderful. As for the media, it is unfortunate so many people accept them to set standards or provide the truth.

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  36. It is really terrible that so many people expressing such hatred without even thinking (if their lives being judged I'm sure they would think differently). There are tons of us out there who support you and your family. The media is a giant disaster that uses shock and awe to save themselves in a dying business. I cannot wait to read your book. The best stories aren't the ones that turn out as expected. You have a different experience than anyone else.

    Also, to agree with the meteorologist above, 16 is not young. How is it OK to send men and women to serious wars at 18 but not allow a 16 year old to go on a highly supervised and well planned trip. Think before you speak people.

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  37. Dear Abby and family,

    I hope the following brings you comfort and encourages you! You are all a truly inspirational family ;)

    Tara Yeo

    The Vain Judgments of Men - The Voice of Christ
    MY CHILD, trust firmly in the Lord, and do not fear the judgment of men when conscience tells you that you are upright and innocent. For it is good and blessed to suffer such things, and they will not weigh heavily on the humble heart that trusts in God rather than in itself. Many men say many things, and therefore little faith is to be put in them.

    Likewise, it is impossible to satisfy all men. Although Paul tried to please all in the Lord, and became all things to all men, yet he made little of their opinions. He labored abundantly for the edification 155and salvation of others, as much as lay in him and as much as he could, but he could not escape being sometimes judged and despised by others. Therefore, he committed all to God Who knows all things, and defended himself by his patience and humility against the tongues of those who spoke unjustly or thought foolish things and lies, or made accusations against him. Sometimes, indeed, he did answer them, but only lest his silence scandalize the weak.

    Who are you, then, that you should be afraid of mortal man? Today he is here, tomorrow he is not seen. Fear God and you will not be afraid of the terrors of men. What can anyone do to you by word or injury? He hurts himself rather than you, and no matter who he may be he cannot escape the judgment of God. Keep God before your eyes, therefore, and do not quarrel with peevish words.

    If it seems, then, that you are worsted and that you suffer undeserved shame, do not repine over it and do not lessen your crown by impatience. Look instead to heaven, to Me, Who have power to deliver you from all disgrace and injury, and to render to everyone according to his works.

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  38. Excellent post!! Great answers in reply to all of the critics! Keep your chin up!

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  39. Awesome!!! Wait to let the media and public know that you were well watched and trained!! I am proud of you Abby and your family and hope that someday you make another run at your dream!! Heads up you did a wonderful job!!!

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  40. Anchors aweigh Abby!

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  41. It is sad that the media and some uninformed people made it necessary for you to defend yourselves - especially after all you've had to endure as a family in the past 5 days. There are thousands who have adopted Abby over the past few months, who understand what a brave and resource ful girl Abby is. I hope that by posting these letters, the media will now either move on to the next piece of sensationalism or perhaps celebrate with us how wonderful it is that such a remarkable girl was rescued.

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  42. I am really glad to see these postings. I am a retired U.S. Coast Guardsman that did what the Australians did for many years, and we never charged anyone we rescued.

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  43. Here here, well said !

    The media are viscous, life ruining, blood suckers.

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  44. Yes! You guys are all fighters and I'm glad that you are pushing back against all of the crap being thrown your way. It's amazing how quickly a lot of my friends have had "informed" opinions based on what they heard on the news over the past few days, but they had no idea what was really going on.

    Keep up the good fight.

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  45. For those of us who have been fortunate enough to have been along for the entire trip...thank-you for allowing us to be a tiny part of your adventure.

    For all of those on Abby's support team, well done.

    If anyone who has spoken out of turn would have taken even a small bit of time to read anything about Abby and her family, perhaps they wouldn't say the crazy things that they have about them.

    I imagine we wouldn't be living with the amazing technologies we have today if so many had worried about those who pushed their knowledge and dared to dream outside of what was known or comfortable to them. Abby, you are a dreamer, you are a doer, a true adventurer!

    Well done all.

    Thanks again for the ride...it was the greatest adventure I have ever had without leaving home! :)

    Jeff in Ohio

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  46. Good responses. Thanks for sharing from your perspective - it is good to understand what's going on from the silent side of things. I was thrilled to follow Jessica Watson's adventure, and I look forward to reading about your own adventures, Abby. Jessica was lauded and respected for her spirit and dedication to achieve great things. The American media has not recognized you, Abby, in the same way, but that does not change the truth that you embody the same spirit and dedication. You will not gain the same acclaim as Jessica - but may the storm the media has created make you stronger just as the seas' storms have. Blessings to you and your family.

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  47. "Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain - and most fools do."
    Dale Carnegie
    :-)

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  48. OUTSTANDING response. Everyone is wising up to the worthlessness of the media.

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  49. I am not one to listen to the nay-sayers that have nothing better to do than to be judgemental over things they know nothing about...It does seem like they take rumors or half truths and make thier own conclusions to what ever makes them feel important...anyways...I am proud of you Abby And The Sunderland Family...Abby..You have done more by the age of 16 than most have done their entire life...May Your Journey Home Be Safe And Swift

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  50. Thank you for posting this here. I am going to direct all those critics here. I applaud, applaud, and applaud the courage and commitment of both parents and offspring. As for the critics - consider the source. ;-)
    Blessings on you all as you face the *real* storm ahead.

    And this is from an "overprotective Grandma". I only WISH I had what you have.

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  51. Not knowing about Abby before this incident I can tell you not for one moment did I think it was a bad idea. As a mother of three I know my kids better then anyone. Who better to know if there child is ready to take on such a trip then her parents. Not to mention NO one in there right mind goes through all the work and money and media if they don't fell the person doing this will be safe and succeed. Some people just want to focus on the negative instead of the positive. It is my hope that your Abby gets to accomplish her dream and we see her soon sailing around the world!!!

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  52. Team Abby: I am so grateful that your family has this outlet in which to tell the true side of this extraordinary tale. Thank you for keeping your fans and supporters in loop. It is obvious to those in the sailing community that the media is truly whiping up people's emotions with 1/2 truths and insinuations. I for one remain a champion of Abby's dream and a supporter of Team Abby. Carl Williams

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  53. This is really for all of you as a family not so much for public consumption. I raised a son much like your daughter. He was raised aboard a cruising sailboat and his dad was/is a shipwright. Imagine that!!!

    He finished his scchooling of his own volition at 15 and went to work to buy his own boat. We had made plans for a multi year cruise with him leaving at 16 much to the lament of the rest of the family and many others! Well, things happened a little slower then planned and he didn't leave untill about his 18th birthday but I would have had no qualms letting him go at 16. Like many boat kids he is, and was then, far more mature then his peers on land.

    We also took a lot of heat as he basically moved out on his own at 16. Thankfully not in as much of a public eye as all of you. He is now 34 and has yet to head for land, much like his parents. It's a shame that the general public can not see that some young people are more then ready for something like this, they want everyone to fit into their standard cookie cutter mold.

    There are many of us out here, especially who are mariners who also raised families aboard who have nothing but admiration for all of you and a great deal of understanding. Wish we were all a bit closer, we'd probably be friends!

    We prayed for Abby from the time she left and prayed harder when contact was lost. We have a good notion of the power of prayer at sea ourselves! We could use a few ourselves as we are trying to launch a missions support vessel for the south pacific ourselves.

    May God continue to protect and keep you....

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  54. Hear Hear! Way to go Abby! I can only hope my daughter (now 1 year old) becomes as strong and adventurous as you :-)

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  55. I totally agree,, don't get sucked into the negative vacuum of the media.
    I have followed the entire adventure and as a father of two young girls, I think you have done some of the best parenting possible. Help them to find their dreams, prepare them for fulfilling their dreams, release them to follow their dreams, and pray to God for their protection and His guidance.
    Abby has accomplished some amazing things that no one will ever take from her. She has learned more from this experience than a life of school could teach her. Keep going Abby!! Way to go mom and dad!!
    "Your regrets aren't what you did, but what you didn't do. So I take every opportunity."
    — Cameron Diaz

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  56. Yea Abby! Glad you are safe and sound - and "able to try again"! Keep your head up girl!

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  57. Abby what you have done is amazing. Here is what I have to say about all these critics. If Abby had made the trip with no problems then all these ppl would not have been critizing her parents for allowing her to do this. Things happen. Weather happens. I hope Abby does this again and she succeeds. We should all be greatful that she is alive and well and not worry who is going to get paid for saving this girl. If this was you out there is that what you would be thinking about? Some ppl have nothing better to do with their lives then critisize others for what they do. Abby you did awesome and I hope you will be able to do this again.

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  58. I've read every blog since January and have followed Abby's journey since then. This girl appears to be an excellent sailor and was more than qualified to make this solo attempt. All you critics, zip it!

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  59. Excellent post. You seem to have chosen the major themes of the criticism I've seen and answered them resoundingly. Unfortunately, I doubt it will have any effect. But know that those of us who know anything about sailing and/or raising strong, self-reliant kids, have been standing in your corner throughout. In my opininon, Abbey's readiness and qualifications have been brilliantly demonstrated in how she handled the emergency. That SHOULD have put all doubts and criticisms to rest. Whichever remain are not worth furher attention.

    Though the trip did not complete as planned, and it appears that Wild Eyes has been lost, you should still regard it as a resounding success. In my own mind, the voyage was always really about Abbey ... an adventure, a test and demonstration of character, resolve, self-reliance, and aptitude. And it may in fact have accomplished these things better in the course the journey took than had it completed as planned.

    My heart-felt congratulations to everyone involved on such a rich outcome. My condolences are given for the loss of Wild Eyes - though I think her "martyrdom" for Abbey's safety will result in far more fame for her than had she actually completed the journey. Her name will live on for a long time to come.

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  60. I am so sorry to hear that people and the media are spreading rumors about Abby and her rescue! I am just glad she is safe and hope she will have the drive to try again later:)

    Tori, Athens, GA

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  61. Abby's parents:
    Please do not defend yourself or your family. You are just playing into the media's hands. If you know in your heart that you tried as hard as you could and did everything in your power to be safe, there is no reason to respond to anyone.
    You did all you could, right? So be HAPPY!!! YOU did all that you set out to do, meaning you accomplished your goal. Unfortunately, you had equipment take damage...but there is nothing you can do about that.
    You did all you could!!!

    Brian
    NFCSPAMADDRESS@gmail.com

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  62. Please don't let the naysayers have any more 15 minutes of "fame"....as a famous American once said..."Damn the torpoedoes--full speed ahead"!

    Fair winds and following seas....

    Walker258@comcast.net

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  63. Well stated. Thank you for putting this information out there to the public. Hopefully, it will, at least, curtail, some of the critics or at least make them think before they continue with their constant negative barking. On the other hand, it probably won't, but we all know the true story. Best of wishes to Abby and the Sunderland Family. Job well done, in a difficult situation.

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  64. thanks again for the update. sorry you have to deal with the media feeding frenzy. it would be funny if wasnt so sad. but yet this is such a great story of all the wonderful people who give so willingly to help others, and to see how many people care for and are concerned about others they have never met. we get to see a sample of the 'majority' of humankind that are good caring people.

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  65. Dear Abby and Family,

    I've been following Abby's and Jessica Watson's progress for some time. I have great admiration for both young ladies and the families who raised them. My personal desire is to raise my four adopted children, currently ages 9 to 5, to have the same courage and initiative to take on whatever challenges they wish regardless of the naysayers and second guessers.

    Wishing you all the best.

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  66. All excellent points! I have been following Zac and Abby's adventures since Zac was sailing around the world. I find it interesting that Abby was sailing along with practically no media attention, and then, as she says, now that something bad happened, everyone wants to jump on the story. It's sick really. I also find it funny that Jessica Watson received a "Hero's Welcome" to quote the media . . . and it seems everyone forgot about her awful crash in Sydney on day one of her sea trial. Everyone said she'd be crazy to continue, but she showed the naysayers.

    I've also seen the media misquote Abby, which I find particularly offensive. Abby never said, "Blame the ocean, not me," as was a headline used.

    I work at a hospital where I seen teenagers in traumas for doing truly senseless things, or they are allowed by their parents to get involved in dangerous lifestyles. Those are the teens who lack good parenting. It's obvious Abby comes from nurturing and responsible parents.

    Anyway, your whole family is great and awesome, and don't listen to what all these creeps and leeches might be saying. I've always liked your family--I was homeschooled too and we were encouraged by our parents to try new things and think outside the box. Keep up the good work!

    Also, I'm so happy Abby is safe!

    Jessica S
    Cincinnati, OH

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  67. Dear Team Abby,
    Thank you for the posting to the critics. It has been very frustrating, as fans of Abby, your family, and of the trip, to read the unfounded comments, so we can only imagine how hurtful they must be to you. Hopefully, the critics will read your posting and get a better understanding of what has (and has not) been involved in this outstanding adventure.
    God Bless!
    Keith and Kathy Wargo, Lynchburg VA

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  68. Abby

    My nine year old daughter and I have been following you on your adventure to sail around the world. You inspire her to be everything she can be. To have goals and pursue her dreams.
    I'm so proud of you, your wonderful kid. I can only hope my daughter becomes a strong fearless youth lady like you.

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  69. What with all the criticism, I felt compelled to write. I congratulate Abby for her courage, her expertise and her extraordinary capabilities. I also congratulate her parents, also courageous, with a wonderful faith her their daughter. Obviously, that faith was well-placed. You're an amazing family. There are always lots of critics. But only one Abby. I've followed her blogs since the beginning, and while I don't know her personally, I'm very proud of her.

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  70. Team Abby,

    Though I haven't posted as often, I still follow Abby daily... as I did Zac once I learned of his trip. Speaking as a parent of two teenage girls... and in which our desire is for them to 'live outside of the box'... that we Americans have set for our kids, I continue to say that your family and kids are a true inspiration and can only hope and pray that my kids find their own passions and follow them with as much fervency as Zac and Abby. Each child has their own strengths and weaknesses - as parents, we know what those are. And as you each have clearly shown, you have encouraged and grew their strengths, allowed them to dream, and to embark on those dreams once ready. And to protect them when they are not yet ready. Our great nation was founded through YOUNG men and women – who now would be called boys and girls – who dared to do the impossible… It is our current society that says they ‘are too young’… not their capabilities.

    In the words of John Quincy Adams “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” Today, where are our young leaders? It will be your children… and mine… and others like ours that will lead one day… with passion, with discipline, with knowledge, and with understanding. Those who do not have it just don’t get it. Or they see it and envy it…

    When you have done all… STAND Eph 6: 10-19

    Grace and Peace be with all of you…

    Mary
    Jax Beach, FL

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  71. My only prayer is that the dumbass lawyers, childrens rights groups or any other idiot organization does not file any charges and drive up legal expenses for you! The absolute bravest part of this is originating in America knowing our legal system.

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  72. The so-called critics cannot and will not ever understand exploring, adventuring, sailing, or any other sort of activities which push the envelop. With all human endeavors, there are risks. But - risks can be mitigated through planning and careful execution. Look at Bob Manry who sailed a 12 1/2 foot wooden sailboat across the Atlantic in the 1960s. Despite the apparent danger of his trip, he was able to convince not one but two life insurance companies to cover him and take care of his family should something go wrong. His planning was that good. Of course, he made it and sailed into the record books and history. Had something outside of his control gone wrong, the press (1960's term for "media") would have vilified him!

    Abby rounded successfully sailed more than halfway around the globe. That in itself PROVES her competency, and the nature of her preparation and support.

    I hope Abby writes book and makes a documentary to inspire others. I will buy the book, watch the documentary, and recommend it to my friends. If she does this, the world will be a better place!

    RJD

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  73. Bravo. I have nothing but the utmost respect for your family. This is an inspiring story... don't worry- most of us make up our own minds, regardless of what the media likes to say. You have supporters and fans all over the place, and I for one will be following your adventures much more closely now. Godspeed.

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  74. When I grow up I want to be as adeventerous as Abby. I still have a few months before I am 50.

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  75. Thank you Australian Search & Rescue and Commander's Weather. Maybe this will shut up some of the idiots leaving nasty comments. Thank you Laurence & Maryanne for supporting your children in living their lives. Instead of being criticized you should be awarded "parents of the year". Abby and her family can stand tall and proud. I salute you Captain Abigail. When you finally get home from " Abby's Excellent Adventure", start putting together some more sponsors and try it again. You've got the whole world as your crew. Love and hugs from Florida.

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  76. concise clarifications for the media but I certainly didn't need any! I thought the repairs to the auto pilots in south africa threw abby a little late. that's just the luck of the thing a rogue wave is a rogue wave. I hope she tries again. From what I've read on the blog Abby and her family are wonderfully dynamic and positive.
    all the best always

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  77. In this case age doesn't play a role, as many oceanic racers who have gone before Ms. Sunderland, have had equipment failures. These failures happen. Anyone familiar with sailing knows this. If anyone wants to read an intriguing story about solo circumnavigation they can read about Joshua Slocum, who did it in the late 1800's. He suffered from equipment failures and had to jury rig his vessel to make port for repairs, sailing with the most sophisticated navigating device of the day a sextant!
    I applaud Abby for this attempt and wish her well in future endeavors.

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  78. You are an adventurer at heart Abby! May your spirit light and guide your way! I cannot wait to see all that you accomplish in your life!! Cheers!

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  79. To put it Tactfully.....SCREW the critics. You cannot steal second base with one foot still on first. I have a beautiful daughter too almost your age. Parents cannot help but worry reguardless of how capable and prepared you are. I am VERY IMPRESSED by your Courage, sense of adventure, abilities and the design of the boat!!!! Simply OUTSTANDING. What I have read in the media just goes to further illistrate.... Do NOT count on the media if you want the truth!!! Yes it is ironic that they who critisized you are some of the same people NOW useing you to make money??? Go figure. The VERY BEST OF LUCK NOW AND ALWAYS and you will get' em next time!!!
    SR71HABU

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  80. Abby & Team,
    Hello from Kodiak! It sickens me to see Geraldo Rivera and others in the media pounce on Abby's successful rescue as some morsel in what's become a feeding frenzy of fanatics. Does their 'only kick someone when they're down' mentality really inspire others to become like-minded media fanatics? Let's hope not.
    Abby inspired my 5th grade students to look beyond the walls of their classroom and learn about courage, determination, preparation, and human achievement. All of you media-types should read Norman Vaughn's 'Dare to Fail', view his video of climbing Mt. Vaughn in Antarctica (in his late 80's) and then reevaluate your self-proclaimed concern for protecting Abby who's spirit will not be broken by your condemnation of her or her family. Shame on you Geraldo!
    Abby, thank you again for all you have achieved!
    Mr. James & Kodiak friends

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  81. Debbie Tegtmeier, Washougal, WAJune 15, 2010 at 10:27 AM

    Freakin PERFECT!!! Great posts, thanks! I hope Abby tries again.

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  82. Well said. You are an inspiring family. I've followed Zac everyday since before he left on his circumnavigation, and followed Abby through her whole trip. You should both be very proud of your children for their adventurous spirits and the maturity they've show. I'd say you've done a great job as parents as shown by the character of these two young adventurers. Take a bow.

    God bless
    JDS
    Franklinville, NC

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  83. Praise God for all of you, and yoru family especially. You are still in our prayers. Keep your eyes fixed. We support you 1000%! And once again, congratualtions, Abby!!! We love you. Its so sad that these vultures must use the preceived misfortunes and misadventures of others to attempt to sensationalize a story and parasitize a living. Sad, but that is the state of our world, and especially our nation today. It makes you wonder if anything we hear in the media can be believed.
    CONGRATULATIONS!! I wish I could be a fly on the wall at her homecoming!! God bless you all!

    Ron in Colorado

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  84. I think Abby is a remarkable young woman and her parents remarkable people to have raised someone like her. Good job Abby. Keep up your efforts. You have already accomplished more at your young age than most people do in a lifetime.

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  85. Unfortunately, people are very quick to criticize other people's parenting choices. I grew up in Chicago. By the time I was in 7th grade, probably 12 years old, I was taking the elevated trains back and forth into and around the loop and going to museums, going to ball parks and any other areas of Chicago we thought interesting. Have people gotten killed in Chicago? Yes, of course. Does that fact dictate that children shouldn't be allowed to explore the city? I don't think so. Its what we grew up doing.
    Do farm kids learn to drive tractors at young ages? Do they ride 1500 lb horses at age 5? To the inexperienced can that be dangerous? Of course! Anything can sound dangerous to the inexperienced.
    Lets have an open mind and give other parents the benefit of the doubt.

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  86. I just want to add my voice to those who fully support you and your daughter. It's easy to criticize without fully (or even partly) understanding. Abby's voyage is an inspiration to me and others. I hope she is able to try again if she desires to do so. Keep up the good work and please know that there are many supporters here in the U.S.

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  87. Supporting Abby and your family 100%. I'd be happy to crew for Abby anyday, anytime, any sea. Knockdowns happen. Sailboats lose masts. A good sailor returns to the sea, wiser for having the experience. A great sailor returns to the sea, wiser for having the experience AND for having the grace to deal with legions of criticism in the same mature way she approached each challenge faced as she nearly circumnavigated the earth.

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  88. Way to go Abby!!

    Monica
    alohatomylife.blogspot.com
    or
    thisismybookonly.blogspot.com

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  89. Thanks for posting these letters,maybe it will help clear up some of the negative remarks about the rescue and Abby's ability as a sailor.
    I for one am very proud of her and what she has accomplished, she has not failed in my thinking, just had a temporary set back. I can only hope it does not stop her from continuing her quest.
    Was sorry to read where Wide Eyes could not be saved, I was hoping Abby would someday soon get her back. Hopefully she has just drifted out of the search area and will end up in shallow waters somewhere.
    Abby, if you read this remember that somewhere in Kentucky there is an old man that is so very proud of you. I sure would like to meet you someday just to shake your hand and tell you face to face how I am so very proud of you.
    Be safe, hurry home and keep this blog going as people like myself are very interested in you and your upcoming life. God be with you little gal.

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  90. I am so glad this was posted. I however feel that it still will not stop the media and the people who don't understand. I started following Abby's blog the end of last year when I heard a little news on it. Then the media dropped but let something happen and they want to cover it nonstop an try to blame and make excuses! I hope all the negativity does not keep her from trying again if that is what she wants! We let 16 years olds drive cars and it's acceptable so why shouldn't they captain boats? I say if they are able to and prove they can, just like driving a car, then support her, her family, and her team!

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  91. Bravo! It's really lousy that people are soo judgemental! Hang in there Sunderland family! Cant wait to follow Abby around the world next attempt!

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  92. Dear Abby, Laurence, and Marianne -- Even before you posted your replies to the critics today, I had felt very admiring of Abby and of how you had encouraged her to pursue her dreams, even if they involved some level of risk. What is life about if not doing that, and what kind of parents want to stand in their children's way? I think Abby has inspired many people, including young girls and women everywhere -- I only wish there had been more like her when I was growing up. Kudos to Abby and her parents! Best wishes for happy sailing in the future.

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  93. I appreciate the post, and I'm sorry you were compelled to do it. I think you are spot-on on all counts. I'm a home school father, and while my wife and I don't necessarily agree on whether WE would send our children when 16 on such an excursion (I would, she's not sure), we support your right to do it, Abby's right to go, and the spirit of adventure in which it was all done. I have been following Abby's trip since before she departed, and so it's easy to pick out the media types who get the facts wrong and don't have the perspective. Home school families are a different breed, and that rankles the main streamers. Wishing you and your family Godspeed.

    Trent Adams
    Orange County, CA

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  94. Don't you worry about criticism from people who do so from the coziness of their den, a hot cup of coffee at their side, heat spewing from their vents, dry and protected from the weather. Rest assured that there are people like me, who just found out about Abby myself, who are out there fighting back on the blogs and news article comments, countering the rumors, and suggesting that soft people who are afraid to be home late for dinner are not living a full life. Keep doing what you are doing because you are an inspiration for others.

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  95. Go Abby!

    I'm so happy you're doing well and can't wait to hear the rest of your story. And again, I'm very sorry for the loss of Wild Eyes.

    Ignore the critics. At this point, they're downright frothing at the mouth.

    Anyone who has been reading this blog knows what remarkable things you have done and will continue to do.

    Debra

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  96. I noticed there was not one comment here. Hmmm, I wonder why that is. Could it be the truth silences the tongue of those who who speak (or write) just to try to make themselves as courageous as those who Go and Do? Me thinks so! Bravo Sunderlands, You have tolerated those who have berated you long enough.
    Peace be with you,
    Beau Campbell

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  97. Dearest Sunderland Family:

    Anytime you choose to do the right thing, it will be picked up by the news media and turned into something that is not true. This is who they are and what they do. They don't want to share the truth. Please, don't let them change anything about you, what you have accomplished and how your family has come through this. Your family has done amazing things to raise your children to walk in integrity, be honorable and not be afraid of hard work. Mr. & Mrs. Sunderland, all you can do is what is right and true before you. Nothing more, nothing less. I am also so happy about the search and rescue team. What is so funny in all this is I never once thought they were doing this because of money. I always knew that if you were in the line of work to help people in distress, you must have a heart to do it because you don't get paid well for it. Thank God for the rescue team. Thank you for being there. Thank you weather team for your expertise and standing by the Sunderlands. It's interesting how all of a sudden all of these so called experts have come out into the open to do nothing but put down the sutherlands and their daughter's quest. The only reason they are saying anything is because the story has been sensationalized. Had her mast not broken off, this would have turned out to be a whole different story. So, when you've done all....stand. Set your faces like flint toward the Father and stay strong in Him. He is faithful and all things work together for the good. There is a reason for this storm. Be blessed.

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  98. I think it has been great folowing you! It's verry sad that media turn things around... In Sweden they have just told the story and not pointing out that this should be wrong or anything! It's something really cool that Abby has done!

    Sincerly
    Andreas Brännström
    Sweden

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  99. Thank you for all your comments. I new the media was wrong. Rescuers do not do it for the money, they do it because they love their job and are ready to help any in need. Abby has more maturity than allot of adults. Never give up, I know you will accomplish your goals, you go girl. Praying for you.

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  100. Go for it girl!! You have my support for your next try.
    Randy Moore
    South Carolina

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  101. Thanks for this post. It is very funny that people are criticizing this trip. Of course there are dangers. There are dangers to cross the road or to go to school. If people would not keep trying and explore places or do such things what Abby has done and just sit at home then America would have never been discovered! I think Abby is a person that has the guts to take on advantages and might very well become a leader in the future. I doubt that having one's kids sitting at home and playing on computer games would ever make them real leaders. Such projects will. And you can see, she actually passed the test. Went that far, survived it and came back. I admire her persistence. I feel happy that there is someone today that dares to do that and I am happy that there are parents that let their children do such things and to become independent. This is not only a forgivable but without teaching your kids to be able to be independent they aren't going to survive anything.
    Gabor

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  102. I can only say "WELL SAID"..I did blog that Abby should not be concerned as to what the "Nay Sayers" had to say, as they are of NO concern. She is a special young Lady and we love her dearly, as if she were our own. Abby, you will be forever in our hearts. Should you and your family ever find yourselves in the State of Missouri, we would welcome you at our home anytime. Luv Ya
    Bud and Charla Winnett
    Wheeling, Mo

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  103. I LOVE IT!! GOOD FOR YOU GUYS!!

    I have been trying to defend your family & Abby's honor by explaining to all that ask all the very same details you have laid out on this blog. Congratulations for not letting the over-zealous media take over.

    Luckily you have bloggers, friends & family who really know & understand your journey. The Sunderlands believe in their children & their dreams, when did that become such a bad thing, or a media sensation for that matter??

    Well, I am behind you guys 100% and kudos to all that defend you and your family. You are amazing parents with amazing children. As for everyone else, they're just jealous :)

    XOXO - ALANA

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  104. The bottom line is that people criticizing have no idea what they are talking about. We are homeschoolers here too. My son (almost 9) and I have followed Abby's story as well as Zac's and have nothing but the greatest respect for the whole family. Teenagers are capable of a LOT more than people give them credit for. I doubt most of these naysayers could handle a sailboat at all, much less go through the conditions that Abby was enduring. She did the best she could in her situation, she did not act recklessly, and I'm glad things turned out as well as possible given her situation.

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  105. I have been following Abby's blog since she started it and have no criticism of Abby. -was up many hours praying for her the night she was out of touch - for those of us that were so emotionally invested we are upset at her parents and the weather team. The real test for the parents and weather team is how they react going forward. If they are unyielding then I feel sorry for them and hope they do not reap the ill harvest they are sowing. Lets hope and pray their hearts will be thankful for God's mercy shown in her rescue and exercise greater caution going forward!

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  106. Bravo! Excellent retort to the skeptics! Viva la Abby!

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  107. Yeah!

    I've been following this blog for awhile, having been fascinated by Abby's adventure story. I haven't posted before since there were so many others already saying plenty of what I felt. But I do want to say this: The media's goal is to sensationalize and turn everything into a debate and problem. Without that, media people fear they'll be obsolete. I wish you could all just ignore them. Maybe you can a little? :)

    Abby...I think you're wonderful. A smart, skilled, fantastic young woman who thinks for herself, takes risks, and knows when to say when. I was just saying yesterday to a friend that the way this played out proves that you were indeed up to this task. You should be very proud of yourself, and I really hope that you're someday able to try again.

    Abby's parents...every kid should be so lucky as to have parents who trust her judgment and teach her to trust her own. Our society and all its opportunity has mistakenly raised generation after dependent, spoiled generation. Good on you for teaching your kids to think for themselves and to go for it.

    MA, California

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  108. Dear Abby,
    Thank you for that post. It is so true!!! The media saying your parents shouldn't have let you go. Other people saying you shouldn't have been in the Indian ocean at that time of year. The cost to rescue you and who'll flip the bill. I am sorry and frankly absolutely disgusted that they don't seem to care that you're safe and sound. Or the bravery and courage it took for you to survive until help arrived. Or that if you weren't a capable and "proven" sailor you wouldn't have made it "to" the Indian ocean, let alone half way across it and through a severe storm; which as I understand, just so happen to "pop" up out there on the high seas. Isn't that part of what sailing is about, facing and braving the elements? I personally think you are utterly fantastic! I love your spirit and honestly speaking, wonder where this world would be if more people had one like yours (including myself). God bless you and your wonderful free-spirited family! To your critics and complainers I humbly ask: would you like some cheese with your whine?

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  109. Stacey, from TexasJune 15, 2010 at 10:42 AM

    To Abby, her family and her team:

    I don't typically comment on blogs or news events, but I felt the need to do so in this case. I, like many others, only found out about Abby when she was missing. I followed the story closely and I have now read Abby's blog to completion. While I do not know you personally, I believe your family has been extremely blessed. I understand that sailing around the world would not be ideal for the majority of 16 year olds, but from what I have seen/read your family took all precautions to ensure Abby was ready. I was angered by an article on abcnews.com today comparing your family to those that are trying to cash in on their children. Please hold your head high don't let the media make you something that your not. I wish you all the best. I'm looking forward to reading Zac's blog regarding his experiences as well as Abby's future book. God Bless you, your family and your team!

    Best Regards,
    Stacey

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  110. Awesome! Let the truth be known.

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  111. the media criticism abby why?, because she failed?, because she was too young?. they only want profit about this history. they sensationalize histories because that is the way of their busness. but if she had completed the voyage then the press would have celebrating her journey, hailed as a heroine. instead of criticizing her they should what she did is worthy of admiration and respect. i take my hat off. her parents are doing what every parents should do, motivate their childrens dreams and goals.

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  112. Well said by all to all! Keep DOING HARD THINGS, Abby, & it will continue to make you into the amazing young adult that you are becoming. GO ABBY!!

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  113. AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!! LOVE IT!!!!!....I was just sitting with my husband today..and i was just telling him how all this backlash was just ticking me off!!! So I am so HAPPY to see this out in the open!!!! GOOD FOR YOU GUYS!!!
    I HAVE SO MUCH LOVE IN MY HEART FOR YOUR FAMILY!
    God Bless you all!!!

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  114. Thank you Team Abby for setting the record straight. Myself, and all of us that have followed Abby since departure from Marina del Rey, knew better and disregarded the bottom feeders who relish any failure as a reason to jump upon Abby and her parents.
    Ed in TN

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  115. NOW, if only the news would actually read Abby's blog and issue some retractions. It is amazing to see all of these in the news pronounce their judgements without ever meeting or reading her site. No, 99.9% of teens or for that matter adults could handle what Abby has. But after reading her entire journey, one can only summize, ABBY HAS WHAT IT TAKES, MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY! She is amazing, and her parents deserve praise for actually giving her the skills.

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  116. I've been following Abby's adventure on her blog since leaving MDR. She seems to be an amazing young woman. As a parent, I admire the guts it took for the two of you to allow your daughter and son to do this. She, her boat, equipment and support team seem to be as capable and prepared as anyone could be to accomplish this. Good luck with everything.

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  117. The tears well up and the throat chokes up...
    so so so good you're ok Captain Abigail Sunderland..
    with 140 days and some 14000 blue water ocean miles (west to east, lots more if you take into account north to south) under yours and Wild Eyes keel,
    'NO REGRETS'...
    you did 'Spectacularly' and always with a phenominal Team Sunderland having your back.
    It's OK Capt. Abby to mourn the loss of your partner in all of this... she held you tight and fast till you were safely aboard, her mission accomplished.
    She wrote the chapters in your life that will never fade away...as the two of you crossed the annals of time in "HOPES" of setting that which had not been achieved by another, your dream since you were thirteen.
    Spend time in your oasis of solitude, reflect on the sunsets and sunrises you shared, and the gails, how she responded to your touch with her and how you each understood the other... and all that you shared, she was one incredible 'Sweet 16', like no other...
    The journey continues, each day a 'gift' of reflection and yet also anticipation, journal as much as you are able... your emotions at times as high and low as the troughs and crests you climbed and surfed,
    smile alot, for there's much to be thankful for, with many prayers answered and new adventures to be dreamed of... and anticipated HUGS from those who love you and inspiring words to be shared from a wise not so young Captain, to a world who has listening ears.
    You Captain Abigail Sunderland are such and INSPIRATION, as is all of TEAM SUNDERLAND,
    Happy FATHER'S DAY Lawerance, I know you have gotten your Father's Day gift early... if you could only HUG her.
    You and Marianne are just wonderful parents who taught them and raised em' RIGHT, and let them "GO". so looking forward to numero ocho... we love you all and respect you all, and support you all.
    always in our prayers and thoughts
    Mark n Adino, Vicksburg, Mississippi USA

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  118. BRAVO!!!
    Do you ever wonder what happened to "responsible journalism".... where FACTS are reported instead of judgmental, "holier than thou," and double-standard opinions? If Abby had successfully completed her journey, she would have had positive coverage.... Go figure!
    I am so glad you posted this response.
    We think you are a CHAMP, Abby!

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  119. Thanks for publishing this. It will be interesting to see if any of it makes it into the Media.

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  120. I just ask that all this storm called "Media" don't stop Abby of trying again and even go for something more impressive and challenging! She had no choice but be rescued. Now she is safe and I bet, her head is thinking in what to do next... and I hope that it would be soon!

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  121. My children and I have been following Abby's fascinating story. While not surprised by the media frenzy, we have grown quite annoyed by the distorted media coverage. Abby is the daughter of Laurence and Marianne Sunderland. I believe that they love their daughter. They are the only ones who would have suffered the loss of their precious daughter, and had to deal with the consequences of their decision to let her attempt this journey, had things not turned out as they have. So in light of this truth, all of the negative opinions being expressed are quite irrelevant. We are glad Abby is safe.

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  122. There are of course two arguments here. Ultimately the choice belongs to Abby and her parents, not all the rest of the world.
    Brian Kotrich
    Nuevo, CA

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  123. Forget the naysayers. I would guess most of them are jealous, wishing they had the nerve to do what Abby did on their own.

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  124. Well put by Australia rescue & also Abby's team. I get infuriated by so many people that seem to think of the cost, of money. I don't think any rescue organization would be thinking of costs; it would be like a ship sinking, radioing for help, and rescue checking with them first to see if they intended to pay them back or we won't rescue you. Absurd!
    Been checking here each day to see how Abby is faring on board the French fishing boat, but don't see anything since Sunday. Abby, you and your family are amazing and I wish you the best.Congrats on staying alive & upright on Wild Eyes--- that shows the world you are capable. An applicable saying to the stop of your voyage would be----It isn't a stumbling block, it's a stepping stone.---Bill

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  125. You all rock! Good for you for raising such strong children who are not afraid to try something new or difficult. Those are the experiences life should be made of. She will never forget this experience and it is priceless. Don't worry about what others say.

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  126. Those of us "Who understand", also mourn the loss of the boat. I hope you can recover your losses and try again.

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  127. Dear Abby,
    I can only hope I raise my children as strong, educated and as independent as your parents did. Ignore the many ignorant comments of people that are either jealous or uneducated on sailing. Job well done and I hope you are able to try it again. I will be watching if you do and enjoying the adventure through your blogs. My condolences on Wild Eyes…
    Best Regards,
    Deborah Bell

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  128. I have to agree with the above comments, esp. "she is 16, not 8". Abby, being a young woman, could be doing FAR WORSE things than sailing around the world!

    If she is strong, educated, capable, and supported by her parents and other trained professionals, as she is, - let her be!

    It is a very courageous and noble thing that she is doing and I for one commend her for it. If she happens to get a book deal or movie out of her personal journey, so what! We all would love to be in the same position. And as that is not the reason that she began this journey, it is not 'self promotion' to accept some publicity.

    I promote myself every day, and I am proud and happy to do so. It is part of my business and if you want to be successful, something that is a necessity.

    Abby, you will always be criticized. You will never be able to make everyone happy. Just know that what you are doing is amazing and you have many supporters out there hoping for great success for you!!!!!!

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  129. WTG!!!! I have been following Abby's story since she left and I truly have looked forward to all of her blogs and pictures. She is a very inspiring young woman and I am discusted at the media!!! ABBY YOU ARE AN AMAZING PERSON!!! And I cant wait to hear about your second attempt!

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  130. nicely put...all the way around...

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  131. I never did understand why everyone was going on about reimbursing search and rescue. They exist solely to help find and retrieve people, regardless of how they ended up missing. I did volunteer search and rescue for a while and you'd be amazed at the number of drunken frat boys camping where they shouldn't be. If they don't have to pay then neither should you.

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  132. Bravo! And the critics should read a bit of history of around the world sailors... some make it, some don't. Even Chicestor had to stop and rebuild his boat in Sydney!

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  133. The responses are excellent. Media has really two motivations. The first (I hope) is to disseminate accurate information to those of us who cannot witness events first hand. The second is to sell advertising to support the enterprise. However, since the enterprise of news reporting is now a 24 hour, multi-channel activity, media are challenged to fill time with reporting. As a result, they manufacture issues and controversies to fill time and sell advertisement. For those of us who "get it" about your activities, the time filling and controversy creating is useless noise. Please don't let the noise get you down.

    Tim in Louisiana

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  134. To Team Abby and followers,
    First of all this is and should be "Abby's" blog and only hers, I'll try to keep this short. As part of many teams in racing planes and sail boats we NEVER start to want to fail and we stack the deck in our favor. The Team did a great job as did Abby. I was with the U S Coast Guard back in the 68-72 time frame when we did a lot of search and rescue and we never want to know what is in it for us just lets get them back to safety, sort of the Rules of the Sea. How people view what happens is made much easier from the comfort of four walls and an easy chair. Some do and share others sit back and pass comments. The World is a big place made much smaller by the internet and as we saw with Abby a way to keep in touch even when a failure happens like the loss of a mast, if he had this about 105 years ago Shackleton would have been saved about 18 months to his rescue.

    Good work was done by all in my book. As part of the search and rescue family we are just doing our chosen job. What will Abby be up to next I don't know but I know it will be as this adventure was well planned. Thank you for the adventures and all I have learned from you.

    Journey Safe
    from around Redondo Beach

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  135. Thank you team.
    I support you.
    Richard (QLD) Aus

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  136. From Colorado Springs, Colorado........
    I have followed both the adventures of Jessica Watson and Abby from the beginning. I have checked their blogs on a daily basis and have wrung my hands over their challenges and rejoiced in their success. However, I have never posted a single comment until now. The media portrayal of Abby and you as her family have made me furious. I have vowed to never watch Fox News (or anything Fox) again. I am a 60 year old who has marveled at the sense of adventure, the incredible maturity, and the passion with which Abby has approached her dream. I have never sailed, know nothing about sailing....and will probably not follow anything regarding sailing in the future. I have followed Abby based upon my interest in the human spirit. Hopefully, in all the media frenzy that relishes a "scandal" (real or percieved)you realize that there are tens of thousands who salute you as parents for enabling your children to attempt their goals and live out their dreams. I am proud to be one of those people. God's speed to Abby in her return and God's blessing on such a fine family.

    Scott K. Jolley
    Colorado Springs, Colorado

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  137. Negative comments often come from 'well-meaning' people but it still does not validate their words. Each one of us has to live by our own convictions and not by the ideals of another. In the end we will be judged by the only One who judges righteously, our Creator. We, being made in His image, will be adventurous, daring and creative if we will not allow naysayers to dictate how we live our lives

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  138. Abby and Fam,

    Sorry about the dream and about Wild Eyes you don't need to answer the ignorant media or media hounds. Your lives are yours alone, thank you for sharing what you have with your fans and supporters. To All Others it is none of your business just go away !

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  139. Sure hope this calms some people down! You will NEVER have to justify anything to those of us who have followed your remarkable children. The really lucky ones are those that KNOW you. I hope someday to be in that group. Stay strong, and know you are loved.
    Blessings always -
    Marie, WA St.

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  140. Thank you for putting the liberal media in its place. Everyone wants to think the worst, but they don't know the whole story.

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  141. First I want to say that I think you are a remarkable family. I am the mother of four small children & there is a saying I try to live by - "there are two things you give your children...the first is roots, the second is wings". The roots part is easier than the wings part! I believe that as parents, you & your husband have already accomplished both with your two oldest children (and I'm sure your younger children are just as amazing). My youngest is my only girl and her birthday is October 19th - ths same as Abby's. I don't know what her future will bring but my hope is that she will be as poised, confident, and hard working as Abby. I also hope my boys will have the sense of adventure, fun & courage that Zac has. Reading Abby's blog, it is clear this was a well planned trip for a very cabable sailor. Best wishes to all of you....

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  142. Thanks for this reply to the media. It is good to know all the angles that they go to to make a story.
    And I am glad to read the real story!
    Praise God Abby is safe and can rejoin her family soon!

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  143. Thanks for the clarification. I hope all of this complaining is over by the time Abby returns to the USA..she deserves a great welcome for the accomplishments she achieved. The Australians did a wonderful job in the rescue effort, I tip my hats to them.
    K. Thompson-Milwaukee, WI USA

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  144. Thank you so much for sharing this. It's ashame what the media has done and continues to do. I have followed Abby's blog from day one so I know the media is wrong. However, persons not familiar with Abby need to read her blog before jumping to conclusions. God speed, Abby!

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  145. What a remarkable young lady with a dream and determination to attempt what she has. I know absolutely nothing about sailing and when I first heard of Abby's story I found it fascinating. I thought it odd to hear remarks pertaining to "Child-neglect" in this situation and to attack this family in such a way. It's quite obvious that Abby knows what she is doing and she has been taught by loving caring parents. To me...child neglect is allowing a 16 year old to sit in front of a TV or computer and play video games all day!
    God Bless you Abby and your famiy. So glad to hear that you are ok!!!

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  146. I learned of Abby's story the first time when she was missing. I thought it was very couragous of her to attempt such a feat. I wish I had been so strong and independent at that age. Abby, I'm so happy you are safe and I hope that you get to complete your journey eventually.

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  147. Aweasom posts. need to keep the facts out there. Aweasome job Abby!

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  148. People who criticize Abby are used to the typical portrayal of a 16 year old: completely self centered and dumb as a board caring only about a boyfriend or clothes, hair, weight, vampire books & movies, etc. Abby is not typical. Obviously she is bright enough to have mastered something such as sailing at the highest level. This, to me, is equivalent to being an Olympic athlete or even having a degree in something. This took much dedication and perserverance - something a typical 16 year old in the US is sadly lacking. Our family admires and respects you Abby as do most who are still able to think for themselves instead of letting the media do it for them.

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  149. I can't believe that people would critize you on something they know very little about. I think it's great that someone at a young age has the motivation and dedication to tackle such a big task. It takes commitment, bravery, and a lot of heart to set out on a journey like yours, most 16 year olds don't have what it takes.
    Don't let the media monkeys get you down. Their just jealous....

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  150. I'm so glad you guys were able to clear everything up about the media. Its so sad that people only believe media that always blow everything way out of propotion. Its really sad. I'm glad she is doing great and that she has a safe trip hom. God bless you guys.

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  151. Laurence, I am not sure you need to answer your critics. Nothing great was ever achieved by those who follow the worker-ant philosphy that they all obviously subscribe to.

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  152. i completely agree, on all accounts! bravo Abby (glad you're safe).

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  153. Forget about the media, they are useless. I admire her spirit of adventure, she's not a baby, she has proven she can handle a boat at sea, I have been following her blog and I'm disappointed at what happened but she can and I hope will try again. I wish my own kids were that adventurous and I could come up with the resources to support them. Keep on blogging and keep on trying, that's the spirit ;-)

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  154. Thank you for posting this... It's nice to have an answer for the friends who have parroted the media spin. I'm sorry, though, that such a post was even necessary. I've gone back and read Abby's blog from the beginning and felt nothing but admiration for her. I wish my 16yo had the drive, determination, and maturity that Abby seems to display!

    Good luck in all your future endeavors. From one parent of a teen -- it sure looks like you're doing something right to me! :)

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  155. Thank You Abby, and Thank You Australian Govt. and Thank You Commander's Weather, and Thank You to your Family, And One more Shout Out to TEAM ABBY. Oh and not to be forgotten All The Great People That Have Been Involved with Abby's Rescue......Peace & Aloha..38'43"N/122'67"W ps I'm so sorry about "Wild Eyes"

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  156. Team Abby,
    The media is just trying to make a Great empowering story into a bad one. Maybe they should ready her blog and they would find out she is not a amateur. Keep your heads up!
    Suzy
    Parker, CO

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  157. Thank you for the clarification - you have brave daughter. Geraldo Rivera needs to go back to looking for Al Capones corpse in abandoned buildings.

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  158. I wish to thank Team Abby and her whole family for keeping us posted on what's happening to Abby. Most websites would have stopped updating and left the world in the dark as to what's been happening. Thank you all for keeping us informed as to what's happening to Abby. The world loves her a lot. We all show it by reading her blog everyday and make our comments as well. I'm waiting for the day when I can post the comment "WELCOME HOME ABBY, we all MISSED YOU and we all LOVE YOU".

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  159. Gayle from Thousand OaksJune 15, 2010 at 12:28 PM

    You are an incredible family, led by FABULOUS parents. Your children have achieved more than most parents could even begin to imagine.

    Sadly, the escapades into drugs and casual sex by thousands of other children in our city are not news, because they are so very common.

    You have raised a son who sailed around the world before he could vote, and a daugher who set out to do the same. The fact that she successfully handled an unimaginable situation with consummate skill and courage demonstrates exactly why you made the decisions that you did.

    Be proud parents - very, very proud.

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  160. It is sad to see how the media condemns this extraordinary endeavor. I have marveled at the thorough preparation for the trip and the obvious maturity of Abby in attempting this trip. What an amazing growth experience. If we had more parents like the Sunderlands, just think of ...
    The only bright side is that a vast number of people already know what fools have found a vocation in the media.

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  161. I just want to say one thing. The critics should not use the "16 years old" argument. If these people would read every one of Abby's blog entries throughout the trip, they would realize that Abby is not just another 16 year old!! She is obviously an expert. She is intelligent, mentally capable, and extremely resourceful. Her blog entries prove that she was well capable of making the journey.

    To Abby, please listen to the fishing boat captain. I know how much Wild Eyes means to you, but the captain is right: She is just a boat. You are the important part. You survived. Thank Wild Eyes for keeping you alive in those treacherous seas, and say goodbye. Please don't dwell over her, just remember her.

    Rick

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  162. I just want to say one thing. The critics should not use the "16 years old" argument. If these people would read every one of Abby's blog entries throughout the trip, they would realize that Abby is not just another 16 year old!! She is obviously an expert. She is intelligent, mentally capable, and extremely resourceful. Her blog entries prove that she was well capable of making the journey.

    To Abby, please listen to the fishing boat captain. I know how much Wild Eyes means to you, but the captain is right: She is just a boat. You are the important part. You survived. Thank Wild Eyes for keeping you alive in those treacherous seas, and say goodbye. Please don't dwell over her, just remember her.

    Rick

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  163. its ironic the same ignorant people who do not understand how the coast guard works that were claiming your family hurt relations with Australia. Infact were the people killing relations by making them feel that were were accusing them of being stuck up.

    As i've posted on many news blogs it is very common for USA and Australia to help out each others ships at no cost.

    I would reccomend mabye getting abby a reality show where they send out a ship to help her find wild eyes !!! =)

    HEY FIRST POST WOOT!!!

    If she writes a book I would buy it I would be interesting in reading about the journey and I never buy books.

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  164. God Bless Abbey and her family. The ciritcs need to lay off...Only the Sunderlands know what Abbey was capable of...and it is not our place to judge. I dare say the young men and women we send off to war are less prepared for the dangers they face. Abbey spent her life preparing for this. It came natural to her.. I for one and so proud of her andI don't even knwo her!

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  165. The media is the CANCER of our American society. God Bless you Abby for your drive and willingness to do what others can't. May you continue to arrive safely after all of your adventures and navigate far away from the haters of the world. Godspeed.

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  166. The media is the CANCER of our American society. May God bless you Abby for your willingness to do what most can not. May you always arrive home safely from all your adventures and navigate away from the haters.
    Godspeed.

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  167. Thanks for these posts, and for the portion that was pulled. I think that you as parents have done a great job with your kids and I applaud you for giving them the freedom and support to follow their dreams. While I personally would not allow my kids to sail around the world, that's because they have absolutely zero experience sailing. I can't remember that either of them have ever been on a sailboat, and very little time even in a canoe or kayak.

    As for you, Abby, please write your book. While it will have a different ending than you anticipated, it will be all the more poignant because of the emotions and loss you are experiencing. If it comes out, I'll be purchasing a copy for the school library I work at.

    Mike in Michigan

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  168. Hi Abby,
    I am sorry you were unable to complete your goal, and am relieved to hear you are safe. As a parent of two girls and a boy, I would have a hard time allowing any one of my children, including my son to embark on such a dangerous journey. Your parents are loving people I am sure. I would not be able to live with myself should the worst occur. This is the main basis for such criticism.

    Good luck in the future, may God be with you!

    Ron Brown
    digitakchefronbrown@blogspot.com

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  169. Thank you for this post. I knew we weren't getting the truth through the media. I am so impressed by both Zac and Abby; I wish more American teenagers were like them. Good job, Mr. and Mrs. Sunderland; you've raised wonderful adventurous Americans.

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  170. I have only recently found out about this young persons adventure and was sending good vibes and prayers for her to be found quickly and well.
    If you rely on the media to be informative, you are in for a shock. The media has become a circus, and we should not be entertained by their stories. They are not factual.
    Abby is an inspiration to many, and for me, having sailed as a young girl, I respect her courage, her determination, and willpower.
    The rest is a bunch of you know what.

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  171. To Abby and her Parents, Stay strong, and keep your faith in the Lord. He will, as always guide you and protect you.

    I'm so sorry for the stress the media is putting you through. No one can tell you what to do, but may I make a suggestion, "let the last interview you've given be your very last one you give from here on out." (and) When Abby comes home, I hope they don't swarm around her like a pack of killer bee's. I hope, if Abby decides to respond to the requests for interviews, that she only chooses to accept one or two, and then turns the rest down, because they will only add to the stress. It seems your answers just aren't good enough, they continue to re-question you over and over again.

    I'm sure Abby will feel that she needs to keep defending herself, and her parents. She shouldn't have to do that, but their questions might make her feel this way. They aren't sailors, and no matter how many times you explain things to them, they just won't "completely" understand. We've all seen how tough the media can be. They're like vultures! God Bless you and your family! Stay strong, and well. Congratulations on your new baby arriving VERY soon. :-)
    Many Prayers continuing to be said!
    Lorie~ PA.

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  172. Abby please complete your book as soon as you can, cant wait to read it. you represent the best we have today. the sleazy media represent the worst. we arent all sheep. hope the rest of your life brings the happiness and success you deserve.

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  173. Bonjour Abby,Team Abby,

    Thank you Abby, thank you team Abby, and many thanks to all that helped and now support Abby and her Team!

    You are the best!

    Take care.

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  174. Critics Shmitics! You and your family know what is best for you and what your capabilities are. God bless you and your family and thank you for posting the information regarding S&R...I mean really? Aussies ROCK and I am thankful for all that took part in rescuing Abby. Your precious daughter will be home soon and I hope to read about her adventure in her new book.

    Much love from California.

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  175. Good response from you folks, thanks for the truths.

    Do I recall another 16-year-old sailor who made his circumnavigation starting in 1965? He was Robin Lee Graham and he set out in his Dove. That sloop was 24 feet long overall.

    More than a few teenagers have sailed solo around the world since then.

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  176. As a kid I learned that if I ignored bullies, they'd eventually lose interest and go away. As I got older, I discovered the same thing about critics.

    Abby is brilliant and inspiring! And her parents are to be commended for allowing her to pursue her ambitions. (The critics should stop acting like she went out in a tiny boat with no plan, no provisions and no skills.)

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  177. Abby, I think what you have done shows the excellent upbringing you have had from your parents. The ability that you have to accept a challenge as you did is just a forerunner of what God's calling for you. Do not let negative comments from the media, or the common person on the street get you discouraged. You know that our Lord Jesus Christ received negative comments throughout His ministry here on earth. I am proud of you at your age, having such a goal. I am a great-grandmother of 19, and a grandmother of 20, and I want you to know you have the support of older people, not just teenagers. -

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  178. Dear Abby
    I have been following your progress for months. Always remember, YOU didn't fail your equipment did. Maybe it was too late in the season to be in the Indian Ocean but if the mast had held you would still be out there. You never gave up and from what I can tell you never lost your spirit or your sense of humor.
    Well done. Don't let the Negative Nellies get in your head.

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  179. Why does the press have to blow everything up.
    Sorry this is happing to you and your family.
    Glad your safe now.
    love, Hannah

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  180. Don't let the couch potatoes get to you.
    You can't believe how many people admire
    Abby. 999 out of 1000 sixteen year olds
    can't even wipe their a----.

    can't wait till Abby gets back

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  181. Bonjour Abby & Team Abby,

    With you all the way, rain or shine! :-)

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  182. I think what Abby did is great. Living life to the fullest. I've heard there's criticism, but I think this is more manufactured by the media than anything else. That is what they do.

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  183. Hello Sunderlands
    Thank God Abbey is safe!!
    What is done is in the history books. I personally feel there is no need for you to honor any critic with a response. We all followed with Love, concern and admiration. I agree that age dosen't matter it's good decisions and a little Luck. I always say, "Don't let fear and common sense stop you." It was and still is a wild ride. Every attempt of anything will be scrutinized as it should. Now for my critique,
    1)Repairs in Cabo, unprepared?, delays So. Ocean weather window but hey, "We're still going for the record" In my opinion sets the tone for the whole endeavour(ominous)
    2)Autopilot malfunction stop in Cape Town, why no mechanical self-steering gear? tried and true, lowtech just about everyone uses. Bad choice! (highly suspect) Again delays So. Ocean weather window.
    3)Rigging issue and bowsprit loss in heavy winds/sea May 27. Everyone knows that boat has a very high heel factor for it's design ie. racing yacht and too much sail up in those conditions is asking for a knock down. Unable to remedy situation and then calling home for ideas, thank God for technology. Cut the line and deal with it but get your main reefed. Advised to make a heading for lighter winds and then deal with it, oh come on at 8-12 knots in the So. Ocean that could have taken days to get to light air and repair. Isn't proficient skills in heavy seas a must unless you have technology ie. weather commander and a shoreline captain? The bowsprit is classic, obviously the bow took a big digger and the vessel was damaged. Only needed in light air for the genny? So cut it lose? (can you hear that ringing in your ear)I've been taught that any reef is worth two. You can always put more up in lighter air and we all know how fun it is to reef in a blow and especially singlehanded. (fate is sealed)
    4) The knockdown. Full keeled boat, keel stepped mast, sea drogue and/or a handkerchief up in storm conditions all sound practice unless you're going for a record and not that concerned for safe passage. A 20ft. Flicka storm rigged, self-steered and well provisioned would still be out there and rounding but slow as Hell. Was she reefed properly? Hell why didn't she drop the main and put up the storm jib? Drop everything and deploy the drogue. If someone told me that gale force winds were coming and were upon me I would have prepared and prayed. The only way that mast could have broken was when the boat got knocked down and then righted itself the main was up (full or partial)and full of water and that boat was coming up (Snap) We have all been christend by the sea and then we analize our mistakes.
    Good Luck and God Bless
    If you're gonna be dumb, you had better be tuff.
    I have purchased a Tee-shirt and will be willing to donate for vessel recovery. Let's get this job finished. Now is the time the tuff get going.
    Eric

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  184. I have keeped track of Abby from the very start she is a role model for all teens. She has more courage and respect than anyone reporting in the media. They all live in glass houses and have no understanding of what its like to try and accomplish something great. The only regret I have is not being able to turn on my laptop and track Abby's progress each day. I can't wait for Abby to try again and I have faith that her and Wild Eyes will meet again. Good luck Abby on all your Adventures.

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  185. WE LOVE YOU ABBY, and you FAMILY TOO!!! You are in our prayers, as always. The Bezzic Clan

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  186. Abby and family,
    You are truly inspirational, both for kids and adults alike!

    And remember: it's always easier to be a critic when fear is the basis for the criticism. There are plenty of parents out there who would rather their children sit "safely" in front of televisions than to take on even the smallest of challenges, physical and mental alike. Hell, there are plenty of adults who live by that very same creed.

    Always, always, always follow your bliss! You're amazing...I'll be a parent in 6 months, and I can only hope that my child will have a fraction of the courage, devotion and tenacity that you have all displayed as a family!

    Keep sailing, Abby!

    Chamise
    Talent, Oregon

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  187. Way to go abby, forget the naysayers. You can prove them all wrong when you do for real next year. A new start, a new boat, and a new record!!! Way to go Abby!! we luv you.

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  188. There should be no criticism here! Abby had a dream and followed it- she was well trained - anything can happen at any time. If she wasn't prepared for this trip, parents would not have let her go.

    Thank you to all those who were involved in search and rescue for Abby-

    Abby - well done - hold you head up high and remember the good times - and learn from the not so good ones.

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  189. That’s to be expected though, when has the Media ever commented favorably about any circumstance. Controversy is what they thrive on, no matter what personal injury it causes, or how inaccurate it is. And then you have the uneducated morons who open their web browser to the first media coverage and instead of creating a opinion of their own they jump on the band wagon… little do they know that bitch is going to crash, real soon. I mean that’s how I heard about you, from the Media… God I only wish I could have followed you from day 1 - but I’ve been catching up – but I didn’t. Yet here I am, and because I took the 5 minutes out of my day to come to this blog and hear the other side of the story, I only wish I could be there with you and the first retard who opened his mouth I would knock his teeth out. You’re one of the most, or I should say, the most courageous people I’ve ever met… or read about. I can only dream about aspiring to the levels of greatness that you have already accomplished… and I don’t doubt as time goes on you will only continue on this legacy you’ve created.
    Don’t lend an ear to the naysayers; they’re so far uneducated and un-opinionated that no matter what you say they will turn around, look you dead in the eye and say, “wehfhhe wheahwe wei!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But the media said! Ahwefhawoeig”. I mean, more or less. Point being, you know who you are, where you are, and what inspires you. Don’t let go of that! Don’t forget who you really are because a very small handful of people who love nothing more than to stir things up and start controversy, say that you’re not old enough, or smart enough, or whatever they say… just ignore them. Realize that they are the ones sitting behind their computer screen where they’ve been sitting for the past 3 years and are so miserable they try and make other people as miserable as possible to make them feel better…
    Ok enough ranting. But I do want to say one more thing, if you do write a book, I will be the first one to pre-order it! (provided you’re the author) Keep the faith, stay happy and keep your eye single and set dead a head… you can’t go wrong.

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  190. For those of us who have been following Abby and know the back story, this all makes sense. Thanks for answering all the people who are truly clueless, but consider themselves to know it all. I hope this encourages people to continue questioning everything they're told. Go Abby and team abby! We're behind you and believe in you--can't wait to hear about your next trip out on the water! :)

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  191. When I was told of what the media was saying by my mother, I told to not believe everything she hears on the news because they spread gossip and sensationalize everything and not just about Abby and your family. I am getting so tired of the media doing this for all their news. PLus the news has been kind of dead lately so they had to make things up to stir attention.

    I also said to my mother that the Sunderland family seems pretty private to me, they're not doing this just to get their faces on television. They're trying to compare this to the Balloon Boy incident and that's ridiculous. I respect what Zac and Abby both have accomplished and congratulate you all. You're a fine and wonderful family, more power to you and success.

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  192. It is a shame you have to answers these critics at all. :-\ Keep doing what you love Abby!

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  193. Regarding the issue of a reality TV show, I say, it's unfortunate it didn't materialize before Abby left. I think if people had seen her handle Wild Eyes and her level of maturity, there would be a lot less criticism. Maybe you can roll all this public attention, as negative as much of it is, into a positive, and get the backing for a show before Abby leaves for her next attempt. It's really too bad Wild Eyes won't be a part of that.

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