Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Slow and Steady

Well, finally the mast is back on and so is the boom. We were a little delayed because the rack that holds the wind generators and two solar panels on the stearn wasn't made quite right and the end of the boom hit the the wind generators - so we ended up shortening it a little. Luckily, the new main sail was a little short along the boom so we could cut about six inches off the back, clearing the solar panels and wind generators while still being a good length for the sail. While it was a small job it took awhile and set us back a day.

We were hoping (though it wasn't too likely that we would be able to) to go out for a sail that day, but it didn't happen. Yesterday the boom went on and today we finished up putting the sails on. We had all been hoping to get out for a little sail today, but by the time we were ready to go it was low tide and just looking in the water we could see the keel was completely covered in mud.

I was really disappointed. Its been way too long since I've been out sailing with Wild Eyes! We are now scheduled to go out at ten tomorrow morning with Allen Blunt, the rigger, and Oliver, from UK Halsey. They are going to tune the rig and I'll hopefully get to go up the mast just to get a feel for what it will be like out of the marina. I'm really looking forward to it, since I'll have to get myself up the mast probably more than once on my trip. I'd like to try it out before I leave. It should be fun! :)

Well, I'm slightly exhausted from all that's been happening and I've still got some packing to do, so I'll let you all know how things go tomorrow!

Abby-- ~♥A♥~

PS There are some new photos on the web site photo gallery. Also, the 'Boat' page should be updated tonight with lots more info on my equipment and photos of Wild Eyes' insides.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

From the mast

We're well on track for an end of the first week in January departure. Tomorrow we'll get the boom and sails on and go out for a little sail to tune the rig. Jerry has a heavy load with all the electronics, and we may have Mike come back out for a few days to help finish up. It's getting so close to me leaving I can hardly believe it! Only about ten more days and I'll be heading out to spend six months alone at sea! It's exciting and a little terrifying all at tha same time...

A personal touch
It was nice to get to have Christmas at home. I had been looking forward to spending Christmas on the ocean... but in the end I was glad to be home. I've been reading Jesse Watson's blog when ever I get a chance, and I have to say I envy her a little at how far along she is and I can't wait to get out there myself and leave some of this craziness behind.

Christmas evening at my grandmother's house
Next project once the rig is tuned is to finish setting up all of my communication devices. We have been looking into a Thrane and Thrane Sailor 250 so that I'll be able to do Skype, send pictures, and upload video blogs! It was actually sponsored by them, though we still are a little worried about the airtime as uploading anything will cost quite a bit. Think of a cell phone bill times 10,000... but we have some good people on it so hopefully we'll get that all sorted out soon.

I will also have the usual marine VHF radio and a high frequency SSB radio. We replaced Wild Eyes' old chart plotter/radar with a new Raymarine model. Vesper Marine has sponsored an AIS Watchmate 'ship radar' that has a seperate radar specificaly for picking up the signals of commercial shipping. It draws very little power so can be 'on watch' all of the time and tells you what type of ship it is, where it is headed and most importantly if you are on a collision course. I'll have two satellitle phones on board as well.

Jerry Nash, who used to be a commercial fishermand in Alaska) and dad
Even with things getting more and more busy by the minute we are all able to keep our heads on straight and just deal with the things that need to be done. With my team of the best people out there and the support I have from family, friends and the community, every thing will work out fine.

A few people have asked when I will do my sea trials. Since the old B & G autopilot is being replaced (by a Coursemaster system) I will do day sails to tune the rig, test electronics etc and head out for a few days on my own once the autopilots are installed. Hopefully by the end of the week.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

More Photos

Lisa Gizara sent over a few photos last night as well.

Abby at the mast with rigger Allen Blunt

The new eyes!

The heart , Abby and the 10' fin keel!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Abby came home about 7:30, ate dinner, handed methe camera and was off to do some Christmas shopping with Laurence. Thankfully, a picture is worth a thousand words!

Wild Eyes in the cradle

New signs = thank you Shoe City!
A view from the stearn
The orange heart and fin keel
Little brother Toby behind the camera
Toby was a great help today climbing in the bilge where no one else could fit to tighten a few things.

New eyes for Wild Eyes
All signs were done by good friend Rich Meyers - www.wrapsbyrich.com

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Back in the Water Today

The weather has been on our side - it stayed warm just long enough to finish up the delamination repair. Wild Eyes looks great with her new bottom paint, new non skid, and everything else. If my boat ever lost her keel and flipped over, it would be pretty much impossible to spot her white bottom from miles up in the air. So we decided to paint a giant orange spot on the bottom. We ended up changing it to a heart. It looks pretty cool, but I'm hoping that no one will ever have to see it. I'll make sure to get a picture of it before she goes back in the water :)

There are a few new people on board working hard to help keep us on schedule. Jerry Nash has taken over where the electrician Mike (who flew back to north Carolina a few days ago) left off. While Mike is missed by us all, Jerry has done a great job taking his place. His son, Brady, has also been down to the boat most days to lend a hand. Also Allen Metzger has been doing an amazing job with putting in the water maker. The water maker installation turned out to be a bit trickier then we had thought it would be, and as there are so many people on the boat during the day, Allen has been getting to the boat late after most people have left and working until the early hours of the morning. Jerry, Brady, and Allen have all been putting in a tremendous effort and they are great to have on board. I don't know what we would do with out them!

Today is a big day with Wild Eyes being put back in the water at 11:00, the mast being reinstalled at 11:30 and the new UK Halsey sails being installed at 2:30. She has her new Shoe City signs on the hull and some new 'eyes' as well. She is looking pretty fast and ready to get some water under her keel.

Thanks to all for your continued support!


Friday, December 18, 2009

Progress, Progress, Progress

Up early and home past dark. That's how its been for a while. The media is starting to pick up on my story and I've been doing quite a few interviews recently. We've been going non-stop since the boat got here and I just realized today that Christmas is only a week away! The main thing that I'm looking forward to about Christmas is that soon after I'll be leaving on my sea trial! Its all so exciting!
I actually started to pack this morning... I'm the sort of person to throw some cloths in a back pack the night before leaving for anywhere. This time I decided I should take a little more time and care in packing my cloths for this trip.

Boat work this week:
Delamination of hull repaired
Engine overhauled and new alternators by C & C Marine
Radar arch being built
New bilge pump and alarm system installed
Mast pulled, boom reinforced, new hardware being installed
New non-skid on decks and painted
Bottom prepped for painting tomorrow
Inspected keel bolts
Redesigned charging systems for boat
All new wiring run for 2 wind generators and 2 independant solar panel systems by Mike Smith
All electronics being tested by Maritime Communications
Water maker being installed
Winches serviced by rigger Mary Ellen Rose
Menus finalized and food ordered

Wild Eyes really is under there somewhere! The guys there are all working so hard. Thanks to them she's all ready for bottom paint tomorrow!

It's a bit of a mess at the moment but the decks are all nice and new looking. The second coat of paint was finished today and having new nonskid on there is great! It had worn down so bad before that we all had to be extra careful on deck. You can also see the new solar panels up on the dome, though they're all covered in dust and its not the best shot of them.

My first time up the mast!! My new favorite place on Wild Eyes =)

Monday, December 14, 2009


Wild Eyes is out of the water now. She's in the Windward Boat Yard with tons of people working on absolutely everything!

The deck is being sanded down and prepped for a new coat of non skid. Down below Nacho has his workers cutting out the delaminated fiberglass. Allen Blunt, the rigger, examined the rig and said that it looked to be in very good condition and that there isn't much that needs to be done to it.

Everyone working on Wild Eyes understands that we have a lot to do in order for me to get out this year, and while things are slightly hectic, they are all working hard and are great to have around.

Kristy Morrell has been great. She has been putting together a menu of what I will eat for my trip, I will be eating mostly dehydrated foods sponsored by Mountain House. Kristy has talked with Dawn Riley to get a few ideas of things other than dehydrated foods to eat.

My departure date hasn't been set yet. There is too much that needs to be done and I will be leaving as soon as we are both ready, not a moment sooner or later. I will announce the departure date as soon as I know when it is.
ps. I'll bring a camera with me tomorrow and make sure to get some good pictures of everything!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Work, Work, Work

Hey everyone!
Yesterday we pulled Wild Eyes' mast. It all went pretty well and we have Allen Blunt, a very skilled rigger, working on it right now. We were hoping to get her out of the water today, but you know boat yards, its always just one more hour or day, and in our case its a few days. We won't get her out til Monday now, but it all works out in the end because we can't do any fiberglass work right now with all this rain. And seeing as The Boat Yard is pulling her out and letting us stay there for free, we're happy to wait a day or two.

Wild Eyes looks pretty sad sitting there with no mast and a bit torn apart inside, but once she gets put back together it's going to be great! The engine was pulled today for a complete service and over haul. Mike Smith is busy rewiring her electrical systems. Still to do is to install the solar panels, wind generators and water maker. Dad fixed the diesel cabin heater today which I am looking forward to using! UK Halsey is making a brand new set of Kevlar super-light, heavy duty sails.

I have been trying out a lot of different long life foods and am surprised at how good they are. They even make freeze dried ice cream. Next week we'll be packaging up my food bags and getting ready to stow them. I have been spending all day every day on board Wild Eyes getting to know where the key areas are, helping Mike and Dad. I'll be spending time with the rigger and mechanic as they do their work, observing and learning the particular ins and outs of all WIld Eyes' systems and equipment.

I'd like to make a quick apology for any problems with my website... My sponsor thought that the old website might be difficult for some people to figure out and has been managing the new one. We were getting too busy with the boat and other things and didn't keep close enough attention to what was being put up, but we are clearing things up now and we should have it all working pretty soon.

Thanks for your patience!--


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Update from Marina del Rey

Its been great having Wild Eyes here. Today we had the rigger come out and the electrician. We'll hopefully be pulling the boat out of the water on Thursday. We're waiting for her custom cradle to be delivered from Mexico.

Its been pretty busy around here but I've got a bit of time now so I thought I would address some of your concerns. A lot of the criticism I have received is understandable and somewhat due to a lack of information. First, I will be doing a shakedown trip before I leave. The weather around our local Channel Islands is some of the worst you can get around here.

Second, Cape Horn is not for sure. I am keeping open the option of going through Panama as Mike Perham did depending on weather and timing. Also, the non-stop part of my trip is an attempt, and I acknowledge that it is a very difficult thing to achieve.

Sailing this type of boat is not at all something new for me. I have sailed around 1,500 miles on Wild Eyes. I know the boat back and forth and, I assure, you the weather was not perfect through all of that. While I was not completely alone on Wild Eyes single-handing is definitely not as new of an experience as many if you seem to think. Before I leave I will have spent plenty of time sailing her alone.

I appreciate your concerns. Even if it means waiting another whole year, I will not go until the boat and I are ready. We are going for this year and if all goes well I should be able to get out in time, but if i do have to wait, whats the big deal? I've already got an amazing boat and parents willing to help me, it will just give me more time to prepare.

I really hope that this has helped to ease some of your concerns


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Wild Eyes Back in Marina del Rey!

Sorry to leave you all!

I had planned to write a quick blog before leaving for Ensenada on Thursday, but while I was up in Whittier with my sponsor, Leedy Ying from Shoe City, I got a call from my dad saying that our friend Peter was going to be sailing to Ensenada in his sail boat, Lady K.

Though a bit inconvenient in timing, I made it home in time to pack my bags and head down to the marina. Peter and I had a nice trip down, spending the night at sea on Wednesday. We motor sailed most of the way and got there late Thursday night. I had hardly slept that night so he dropped me off at the hotel with my dad and Zac who had driven down on Thursday afternoon. It was a pretty nice place but I didn't get a whole lot of sleep there.

I had been hoping that Wild Eyes would have already been put in the water so I could spend the night on her, but the ship wasn't even in when we got there. The next morning we got up at 6:00, had some breakfast and headed down to the docks to see if we could see Wild Eys on the ship that had come in late the other night.

Pete Thomas
, Shashi, and Al Scheib, all from the LA Times waited around down on the docks with us as the estimated time for Wild Eyes' launch got put back farther and farther. Eventually, when they did start to move her, we, the three from the LA Times, Lisa Gizara, the photographer and Eric, her boyfriend, Zac and myself all piled into a panga which carried us over to the ship where we could watch Wild Eyes being put in the water.

Once she was lowered off of the ship and in the water, we all piled aboard. We got a few lines and things situated and then gave the engine a try, the first few times it didn't turn over, but we eventually got her going and I moved her over to the dock to wait for my dad who had been enjoying himself for four hours in the customs office.

Things were pretty much ready to go once he got there. Zac was going with Peter in his boat and Pete, Shashi, and Al were coming along with my dad and I. We hoped to be in San Diego around midnight - a bit of a trip, but they all (Pete, Shashi, and Al) seemed up for it, so off we went!

It was quite a nice little trip with a bit of wind so we were able to sail pretty well for awhile. It eventually died off which was quite disappointing. I watched the speed fall, but there wasn't a whole lot I could do about it. When it took a bit longer than we had hoped... all of our passengers headed down below one by one to get out of the cold wind and try to sleep. I don't know how much success they had - remember Wild Eyes is designed for sing;e-handing! My dad and I spent the night up keeping an eye out for pots and kelp.

We got to San Diego about six in the morning. The customs clearance didn't take long to finish up so we fueled up and after our LA Times crew disembarked, headed back out. We were able to sail pretty much the whole way. The one down part was that the auto pilot was down and so I spent another night up hand steerng most of the way.

We got into Marina del Rey at about 7:00 am pretty exhausted and ready to go to sleep immediately. Once in her slip I cleaned her up as best I could. She's a bit of a mess at the moment and is in desperate need of a good wash down. I'm good and ready by now to go take a nap, just wanted to update every one real quick first!


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Update from San Diego

Mom here:

Abby had such a busy week that she was unable to update her blog before heading south to Ensenada. Good friend and avid sailor, Peter Kokelar, sailed south on his sailboat, Lady K, with Abby to meet Laurence, Zac and the LA Times crew in Ensenada on Thursday evening. Pete offered to come to allow some of the LA Times crew and photographer, Lisa Gizara, opportunity to get those 'at sea' shots. After a good night sleep they were able to receive Wild Eyes and head north on Friday late morning.

I spoke to Abby from San Diego this morning briefly while they were waiting to clear customs. It was a long night with little wind and motorsailing close hauled the whole night. She didn't get any sleep but seemed cheerful and upbeat which is good. After clearing customs, the LA Times crew hopped off Wild Eyes to head home. Peter and Zac will continue on board Lady K. Laurence and Abby will continue on Wild Eyes and all should be back sometime early Sunday.

Abby will write when she gets back to fill you in on all of the details. Sorry for the troubles with the web site. We are working things out and all content should be up by the end of next week.


Marianne AKA Abby's mom

Monday, November 30, 2009

Foul Weather Gear, Food and Friday

We went to meet with the dietitian, Kristy Morrell, who is advising me on my food for the trip. She is in charge of monitoring and advising on the diets of all the sports teams at USC. It was good to finally meet her as she has so much knowledge. She's been working on the different menus for each of my approximately 30 weeks on the boat. Mountain House Foods will sponsor some of the long-life foods that I will be bringing. It is super important to have the right foods to keep you going out there. We're talking about all kinds of stresses and how to anticipate them and deal with them.

The ship that Wild Eyes is on has been delayed so she is now arriving in Ensenada on Friday. I can't wait to get on her again! Zac and I picked up our new passports today. I finally qualify for a 10 year passport instead of the 5 year kid ones. I am so anxious to get to work on her.

There is so much to do back here that its been good to have a little time at home to get details organized like all the various foul weather gear I will be needing for the trip. There are layers, hats, gloves, dry suits, survival suits and boots to be tried on and purchased. I spent an hour in the dental chair today getting a few things sorted out. Don't want a toothache out there! And then, of course, there is Sid Wing, my trainer, who comes by faithfully to torture me with weights and running exercises.

I was hoping to take the boat from Ensenada by myself, but there are so many issues with traveling to Mexico and clearing customs that it is better to have my dad along. But as for the sailing part of it, he's just along for the ride!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Things have been pretty busy back here. With the departure coming up we've begun to sort out a lot of things like food, clothes, and foul weather gear. Its been a little weird being back home after spending so much time on Wild Eyes and I can't wait till she gets here!

Thanks to Brian, back in Fort Lauderdale, we have a computer and navigation software. He was a great help, and it is thanks to people like him that my trip is possible. Also Shoe City has been great throughout all of our preparations and they are the reason that we were able to buy Wild Eyes in the first place.

Mountain House dehydrated food has come on board recently and they are working with Kristy Morrell, the sports nutritionist that is helping plan for my nutritional needs en route. I'm working on getting some foul weather gear too. One of my sailing heros, Dawn Riley, gave us some advice as to what to do to keep warm in the Southern Ocean. I'll have one lighter set and then a heavy duty set for down in the Southern Ocean.

My ditch bag is just about packed and my medical kit is coming together with the help and guidance of Dr David Lowenberg.

Something I hadn't been doing much about up till now is getting together things to do while I'm out there. There are so many other things to do it really seemed unimportant in comparison, but I'm starting to work on getting together some books (can anyone recommend the Kindle?), getting some new music on my ipod, and getting my school books together.

Zac and I were on Good Morning Australia on Monday which was good fun. I have been doing a bit of interviewing and I have to say that it is actually getting a little easier!


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Back Home

We left Fort Peirce with promises of lighter wind in the afternoon and a plan to hug the coast. It didnt turn out that way. We probably should have waited till the afternoon and checked to see for ourselves whether or not it really was dying down, but it was getting late, and we were begining to worry that we might not be able to make the ship in time. We got towed out by Vessel Assist because the current and waves were too much for Wild Eyes' little engine. We tried to sail but with the conditions being wind on the nose and the Gulf Stream against us we weren't making enough headway. We decided our best bet was to give tacking a shot, but it didnt work out quite as nicley as we had hoped.

Now tacking isn't a bad thing and often works fine but we were hardly able to make any head way. we were tacking every 15 to 20 minutes and were going at top 7 knots. We began to realize that we wouldn't be getting much sleep that night. I can safely say that was one of the hardest parts of the entire trip.

The night dragged on forever, but eventually it did start to get light out. We were all exhausted and had come only 40 miles. We decided to pull into West Palm Beach. In order to run the auto pilot we had to use the engine for charging. But that had broken down during the night. It turned out we had gone over a lobster pot. The marker on it was a little stick which would have been hard enough to see during the day let alone at night! It had wrapped itself around the strut and shaft and actually broke the strut. We couldn't do anything about it where we were so we would just have to be towed back out when the weather changed. It was great getting to sleep, though I don't remember falling asleep... just waking up at 6 the next morning with Vessel Assist there to tow us out.

That day was amazing and a great way to end the trip! We had about 10 knots of wind and were making about 8 knots boat speed. We went just as far as we had the entire day before in only a few hours. The auto pilot had broken, but it was such a nice day out everyone was happy to hand steer. We pulled into Fort Lauderdale Thursday afternoon, still a little tired but pretty happy with how the whole trip had gone. We had been under a lot of pressure to get Wild Eyes to Fort Lauderdale in time to be loaded on the Marie Rickmers for shipment to Ensenada. If we had missed the ship, my trip would have to be postponed.

Zac left us that afternoon not too long after we got in. We all (my dad, Mike Smith and I) spent the night in a small hotel room that night, and I was luckily allowed to sleep on the boat for the rest of our stay there. We got a lot of much needed work done. We replaced the solar panels, fixed the strut, got every thing ready so that when she gets dropped off in Ensenada I can hop on and take her right up to Marina del Rey.

The whole trip was an experience, we had some great weather, we went through some hell, plenty of things broke down, and we had some fun; just what you want in a shake down trip. All in all it was a great trip. We put the boat through a lot, and all of us learned so much about handling her. I am more confident then ever that WIld Eyes and I are up to the challenge of sailing around the world. -- ~♥A♥~

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Respite in Fort Pierce

Zac at the healm

Me with a friend

Dad with his cup of tea .

Well, here I am sitting on Wild Eyes in Fort Pierce, Florida waiting for the wind to change direction. It's been hard on our nose for the past day or two and Wild Eyes doesn't do well close hauled.

We got out of Newport, Rhode Island last Sunday, two days later than we had been hoping to leave. Our trip started out nicely with a good bit of wind coming from the north and we were racing along with our full sail up going at about 8 to 9 knots. It didn't stay like that for long though, by the next night we had 25 knots of wind and 15 foot breaking seas. It was amazing! And Wild Eyes handled it all great.

I've come to realize a bit better how much work Wild Eyes will be; she's a great boat, and designed for single-handing, but she is a race boat. It takes more than twice as much work to do anything on her than on any other cruising boat - but its worth some extra work. That rough night on Wild Eyes wasn't at all bad - it was actually kind of fun. We were making great time going at around 15 knots and once getting up to 24kts surfing down a wave. We were down to the third reef in the main and healed right over, though it was nothing compared to what I will get into. I will get a lot of weather like that in the Southern Ocean and it was good to be able to see how the boat handles in that sort of thing.

Our auto pilot has done great. When we first left Newport we couldn't get it working so we ended up hooking up the secondary auto pilot and its a miracle she's still working. The boat slides all over the place when surfing down waves and even with all of that extra work she's managed to keep us on track so far. She is very loud, but after the initial fear of having to hand steer for the whole trip we agreed not to complain, lest she feel she wasn't appreciated and break down.

Sailing with Zac has been an experience... and I'm still trying to decide whether or not its a good one! He's taken advantage of there being no mirrors on the boat and I very rarely wake up without some drawing on my my face. He also has taken great joy in little things, like my mortification at watching him wash a cup with salt water and a dirty sock. But despite how annoying he is, its really good to have him with us out here.

I could write a whole lot more about this trip, but I have to get going, we have a few things to finish up before we pull out.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Update from the Atlantic

Photo ©2009 Trond Hjerto
Photo ©2009 Trond Hjerto
Photo ©2009 Trond Hjerto
Photo ©2009 Trond Hjerto

From Mom:
Many thanks to Trond Hjerto from the sailing vessel Maryam for the above photos of the crew!

Last contact had them all in good spirits, warming up as the head further and further south. Winds had been light at times except for a day of stormy 20-25 knot winds a few days out. They should have a steady 20 knots to blow them into Fort Lauderdale in the next day or so.

Abby is making a million mental notes on what she wants/needs on the boat. Zac is alternately teasing her to insanity and helping her learn his strategy for sleep, navigation and safety. Typical....

It must be strange for Laurence to sail with two kids who can run the show!

A special thanks to Leedy Ying from Shoe City, Inc, without whom this boat and trip would not be possible. Look out for a new web site soon with lots of fun and interesting links ect.

Abby had an incredibly friendly and encouraging email from Australia's Jessica Watson, who is already out there sailing around the world. She is looking forward to getting to port and getting in touch with her. Abby and Jessica have both dreamed of doing a trip like this for years - I'm sure they will lots in common!

Check back in a day or two for an update from Abby.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Waiting for Weather

Well, here we are in Rhode Island again, but this time Wild Eyes is actually mine!

We've been here for the past few days fixing up a few last minute things and waiting for some good wind so we can get out of here and head down to Fort Lauderdale.

It's been a great stay here, other than being absolutely freezing! I am really looking forward to getting going south. Its very nice here, but too cold, and I want to get started on everything! We have met a lot of great people while we have been here which has made it a lot of fun.

We don't know for sure when we'll get out of here, but it will probably be early Sunday as the wind is blowing 30 knots from the south east right at the mouth of the harbor here. A few people have asked where we will be stopping along the way. For now, the trip is planned as a non-stop, but we all know how that can go! I will try to post if we are pulling into port anywhere along the way.

We're all sitting in a warm room at the boat yard eating left over pizza and having a good time, but it will be good to get back and start some real work on the boat, and to be back with all my family and friends.

A nice article by Liz Ellis from Soundings Magazine with a video of Wild Eyes.



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Exciting News!

Wild Eyes
I finally get to write a blog with some really exciting news! We bought Wild Eyes, the Open 40 in Rhode Island, yesterday!! My dad, Zac and I will be flying out to Rhode Island tomorrow to sail her to Fort Lauderdale. It should be a pretty fun sail and hopefully we'll get some good weather. Its only a 6 to 7 day trip and then we have some work to do on the boat while in Fort Lauderdale.

The boat will be shipped from Florida to Ensenada. We'll fly back here and wait for the boat to get here. In the meantime, there is always a lot to do; training on the water and in the gym, organizing supplies (food, clothing, tools, meidcal kit), meeting with potential sponsors, media and TV.

I'm heading out to my school's Mock Trial scrimmage in West Hollywood tonight. It may be the last time I see a lot of my friends together in a long time.

More updates soon...


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Busy Days

Things are moving along nicely over here. My dad and I spent most of last week freezing in Newport, Rhode Island with Wild Eyes. We planned to buy her while we were there, then sail her to Fort Lauderdale. The survey revealed some delamination so that needs to be fixed before we move the boat. It worked out well because I needed to get back home for a meeting.

The repairs for Wild Eyes will be quite expensive and we are working in a pretty small time frame to get her over to Fort Lauderdale and onto the ship. Other than finding the delamination, our trip went pretty well. We got a bit of work done and are now getting insurance to move the boat down the coast.

We had been thinking of getting a few people to deliver Wild Eyes to Fort Lauderdale, but we've now decided that I'll be flying back with my dad sometime soon to move the boat ourselves. I'm really glad that I'm going to be able to spend some good time sailing her and getting used to all the systems. I'd just like to make it clear that I may not be getting Wild Eyes. We are spending the weekend praying about it before moving ahead.

What a rollercoaster ride!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Boat Update

Well, decision day came, and ended with us having to wait another day to find out for sure, then another day. But we do now know whats happening. It could all work, as long as every thing goes according to plan (how often does that happen!) We can afford to buy the boat, fixing her up will be a bit of a stretch, but it is do-able.

The problem we had been trying to sort out over the past couple of days was shipping. The last ship that was scheduled to go to Newport, RI was canceled. If that were to happen to the next ship, we would have the boat stuck in Newport with not enough time to get it to another ship.

So, in the end, the ship is not going to be going to Newport. Its not all bad though, because there is a ship that will be in Fort Lauderdale, a ten day sail away. It will be a little difficult to get out there and get the boat ready and to Fort Lauderdale, but it will be good to be able to get to know the boat even before we get her over here.

Its going to take a lot for everything to fall into place... but it very well could all work out. Its so exciting getting closer and closer to the dead line! If we end up doing this, my dad and I will be flying to RI in a day or two. I'll let everyone know whats happening as soon as I find out myself!


Saturday, October 10, 2009

On The Edge of Our Seats

Today has been very exciting, and a little nervewracking... Its the final day to decide whether or not we are buying a boat. We've all been on the edge of our seats as my dad goes back and forth with the owner and his broker.

Its going to be great if every thing works out and we are able to get the boat. My dad and I will fly back to the boat and start working on her until the ship leaves that will bring her to the west coast.

Its been anything but calm over here, as you can probably imagine. It's quite hard waiting. If things don't work out this year I'll definitely be trying for it again next year. After all of this excitement, the thought of being stuck here doing school and living a completely normal life is not something I'm interested in doing right now.

We are still seeking sponsorship and thanks to Magnetic Entertainment and Matt Tolnick at Kaufman Sports it looks like we may be able to get something going really soon.

Everyone who is following me has probably heard of Jessica Watson. She just recently arrived in Sydney and will be leaving next week. I wish her luck on her journey and hope that I'll get to meet her sometime after she gets back.

For anyone who hasn't heard about it yet, I have finally got my website up at abbysunderland.com. A big thanks to Lisa Gizara who put in a ton hard of work and a few late nights to pull this together in just two days!!

Another exciting event is coming up at the end of this month on the 29th of October at the CYC (California Yacht Club). Zac, my dad and I will be speaking. I'll be able to give some more details of this later but for now its looking like it will be a fun night from 7 to 9. By then I'll have most of the details of my trip all ironed out and I will have a boat as well!

There should be enough exciting news that it will be worth it, even though my public speaking skills aren't all that great. That's all there is for now. I'll blog again as soon as I've found out whats happening with the boat!

Thanks again to my Dad, Matt, Lisa, Chris, and to everyone else who has supported my family and my trip!!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sponsorship Update

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. I have been training constantly on and off the water. Though we have been busy, it’s been great to have a good excuse to be able to skip a few classes to go sailing. I have really been enjoying it the training (mostly.. the running I could go without :)

Since there are a lot of new people following me, I thought I would give a little overview of every thing.

I am 15 years old, I will be 16 on October 19th. I am planning to sail around the world solo non–stop and unassisted and to set the record as the youngest ever to do so.

This trip has been a dream of mine since I was thirteen. We are getting very close to having everything fall into place to make it all happen, but as close as we are, we still don’t have enough funding to buy the boat. Although I didn’t start planning things very seriously until recently, preparations have been progressing amazingly fast.

It has been quite exciting since our first press release went out. Our first major sponsor, Shoe City , came on board immediately after the first press release. We are at the point where the next step is to buy the open 40 in the Bahamas that we have decided on. The problem with that is we cant buy the boat right now due to funding. If we don’t find another major sponsor soon the whole trip could fall apart, which would be awful after all the hard work and time every one has put into it. Happily, Kauffman Sports Management Group has come on board to deal with any potential sponsors. Please contact Matt Tolnick at Kauffman Sports Management Group (310-456-5400) for more information.

With where I’m going, timing is very important. I will need to train on the boat for as long as possible before leaving. We won't purchase the boat until the trip is completely funded so timing right now is key.

We had a good sail yesterday with one of my dads friends, Peter Kokelar, Lisa Gizara the photographer. It was a lot of fun and Lisa (GizaraArts.Com) has got some great photos of the different boats I have been training.

I can’t wait for the week end. I’m going to be going out on an Open 50. It’s the most amazing boat I have ever been on!

Me on Lady K, Peters boat

This is the open 50 that I have been training on. It is pretty much the same as the boat I will be using, just ten feet bigger

Monday, September 7, 2009

Welcome Abord Shoe City

We have all been really busy over here lately. My dad and I and a few other people went out to Newport, Rhode Island last week to look at an Open 40. The boat was great, but it needed more work than we have time or money to do. My dad is flying out to Nassau, Bahamas this evening to look at another Open 40. The one he’s going to see looks like it might work.

I have been sailing on a friend’s Open 50 a lot recently. I love the boat, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to sailing normal cruising boats! Hopefully, we’ll be able to buy a boat soon. I am really looking forward to begin working on the boat that will take me around the world.

Shoe City has come on board as a major sponsor. This will allow us to buy my boat and get it over here so I can begin working in earnest on knowing the boat inside and out Shoe City have been really great to work with, and thanks to them, things are really getting going. We are still looking for more sponsorships. If anyone is interested, they can contact my dad, Laurence, at Laurence@sunyachts.net.

A lot of people have been asking me about Laura Dekker recently, so I thought I’d just let you know my opinion. Age doesn’t matter. She and her dad think she’s ready to go and they are the only two people that should be able to make the decision of whether or not she does. I dont know her, but, she has proved that she is a very capable sailor and I hope that she is able to go.

I’ll be back with an update on Dad’s visit to Nassau as soon as I know anything.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Developing Plans

A lot has happend since i last wrote and I'm hoping to be writing more regularly now that things are begining to get moving.

Last week I went with my dad and a friend to look at an Open 40. The one that we looked at won't work for the trip but there is another one that we're looking into. Open 40's are designed for single handing around the world solo. The average speed is 10-15 knots, getting all the way up to 20 knots. They are really amazing boats.

After checking one out and talking to a few people who are experts when it comes to Open boats, we pretty much decided that that is what we want to use. Though they are designed for single-handing, they are still difficult to handle and are much different from other cruising boats.

Luckily, we have a few friends that are more then willing to help out and a team of sorts is begining to form. We're all working hard to put this together and I'm very lucky to have so many people here that are just as excited as me.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


It has been a bit crazy over here lately with Zac just home and trying to work out some of the details of my trip: route, boat, sponsors, etc. The whole project is still in the conversation stage right now. I would like to go non-stop, but whether or not I can do that will depend on the boat, time, and preparation time.

As for the boat, my dad is actually designing one right now. The boat will be something like a cruising class race boat. My dad is hoping to make a boat that is smaller, around 38-40 feet, so it will be easy to singlehand. Ideally, it will be faster then most cruising boats that size going 8 - 10 knots, but stronger than a sled and other racing boats.

A lot of sailors compromise their safety for speed and the goal of this boat is to not necessarily be a race boat but to be an extremely strong boat that can reach pretty high speeds.

We met with a potential solo circumnavigator who was wanting my dad to help find him a boat. He liked the idea for the new boat and thought the plans looked good.. It is really expensive to build a whole new boat, but God-willing everything will work out in the end.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sailing Solo

I plan to be leaving to sail solo around the world this time next year. For three years now I have wanted to do this trip, before my brother ever came up with the idea! Even though I did come up with the idea before Zac ever did, it is due somewhat to him that I am actually doing it now.

I had begun to think that dreams are meant to be no more than dreams and that in reality dreams don't come true. Then my brother left on his trip. It was amazing to see all the support that he got from around the world and to see how everyone worked together to help make his dream reality. Watching him do this really made me believe that I could too.

I'll be keeping a blog now to keep every one updated on my progress.