Monday, April 26, 2010

Of Auto Pilots and 'Record' Attempts

I got a bit of scare yesterday when the auto pilot started acting up again. It was much worse then usual. I spent the whole day working on it going back and forth between my team and a guy from Coursemaster. It was looking like it was gone for good this time. We had tried everything and it still wasn't working. There was nothing else to do and it was pretty late over here so I had decided to get some sleep and then start hand-steering in the morning.

I was on the phone with several of the guys on my team and we decided to try one last thing. I restarted the system, which is almost impossible when it's rough out - you have to put the tiller first to starboard, set that limit, then to port and then center it. The tough part is that to do this, you have to set it on the auto pilot display which is down below at my chart desk. By the time you've gotten down below the tiller is pretty much never in the right place. I have strings tied to the tiller and running around the poles on my dodger through the two little windows right down to my chart desk. I remember the first few times I had tried to restart the pilot without the strings set up, running back and forth millions of times and never getting it quite right. Anyway, this time after I did the restart and got things set up it worked!

It's working even better than it did the past week - no alarms have gone off all day! It looks like I'll be able to sleep in my bed tonight! I had been sleeping at the chart desk where I could keep a close eye on the pilot to make sure it didn't start steering me the wrong way. Who knows if it will make it all the way to Cape Town but it's working for now so I'm relieved and happy!

I've been working on a list of work that needs to be done and things that I need on the boat, like paper, more pens (I don't know what happens to them!) a hair brush, a kitten, my little sister, fixing my B&G instruments, a new GPS antenna, and other things like that. Nothing I couldn't live without if I had to but still nice to have. The thought of a hot shower is helping me with the thought of being on land, but while all of that will be nice, I haven't even gotten there yet and I am already looking forward to getting back out and finishing my trip!

It looks like a few people think that I am ending my trip in Cape Town. Just in case I didn't make it clear enough in the last blog, I am not ending my trip!!! I am ending my non-stop and unassisted attempt. I will continue on to hopefully become the youngest solo circumnavigator. Jesse Watson will become the youngest solo, non-stop and unassisted circumnavigator. The way I see it is that we both win which is great because neither of us liked being in 'competition' with each other. Go Jesse!



  1. Wahoo Abby! Glad to hear that your auto piolt is working-ish. :) Hope that I *might* see you in Cape Town!!! <3,
    Chrissy <><

  2. Abby

    It is great that you finally got our auto pilot aligned and working again. As a technician and something of a mechanical expert I find that persistence always pays off...However if you feel frustrated to back off and do something else for a while and take another angle of attack at it just like you did there when you solved your auto pilot problems...YOu are to be congratulated for your persistence Abby. Most people would have given up. So keep at it. I am sure you will find your persistence pays off and will reap its rewards in the end just as it is for Jesse...
    You are right about Jesse...You are not in a race there. You are there each of you to pursue your dream...Which is to "Solo Circumnavigate the Globe" So go to it Girl!


  3. Hi Abby. you really are fantastic and resourceful. In Australia we believe that the only time that you fail is when you don't try. You are a true success. Jessica has often mentioned you on her blogs and wished you well, as do we all here. Please keep blogging it is a delight to read your thoughts. Well done, young lady! Regards.

  4. is there any chance babsy is the coolest chick on the planet or what.

  5. Abby
    You are a brave girl and have the support of all your fans around the world. I am so proud of the way you have endured with the Auto Pilot issue, it must be very disconcerting having such a important piece of equipment not working properly in the middle of the South Atlantic. Keep going Abby hope you can fix the problems quickly in Cape Town and be on you way again.

    Chris from Canberra

  6. Hey Abby--So nice to hear from you again. I too have been following both you and Jessica with great intrest. You are two incredible young women! There is room for both of you in the record books. Go Abby, Go Jess!
    Richard in Wisconsin-USA

  7. Awesome Abby!!!!! I can't tell you how pleased I am with your positive, upbeat attitude tonight! I have been thinking about you nonstop since your "news", sending you as much positive energy as I could. And like one of your other fans said, those newsies seem to be getting worse every year. I mean, don't journalists have any self respect any more? Or integrity? Or proof-readers? Anyway, You sound great, and stupendous job on the auto pilot! And like others have said: Kindle, camera, on list!
    Kevin, Aiken, SC

  8. Atta girl Abbey! It is worthy of note that the Coursemaster engineers couldn't figure it out but with the imaginuity of you and your crew, you have recovered your auto-pilot for now. No doubt that you will be ready to "deep six" those auto pilots when you get to Cape Town. Hang in there Wonder Girl!! With you all the way.

  9. Abby: you're amazing and inspirational unassisted or not. Keep up being brilliant and have fun. I'm 32 and wish I had half the smarts and perseverance as you!! Keep trucking. Enjoy Cape Town and continue to make smart decisions; force of ego never got anyone anywhere. I admire you more for following safety and your gut.

  10. Abby
    You'll end up with a trouble shooting job at cousemaster before this trip is over!!! Well done on getting it going again and safe sailing to Cape Town!! When you get going again could you please please be very carful in the Southern Ocean south of the Aussie mainland , it looks like you'll be crossing this stretch in July and it shouldn't be underestimated, it's my back yard i know it well and it bites!

    Very best of luck! Your a champ!


  11. Capt. Abby; Now we see that you and Wild Eyes have a whole lot of ocean to cross yet before the hair brush, hot shower, kitty and Katherine...all our most dear hopes & wishes sail along with you as usual, unchanged... I'd have broken a few things restarting that balky autopilot. Happily, seagulls & stuffed animals won't repeat cussin or so I'm told.

  12. Thanks for the update!!

    All the Best!!

  13. Great news, Abby,

    We are pulling for you and are excited to read a clarification on your situation. Especially that you are going for the solo record. After some more hard work, you have something wonderful waiting for you. We'll pray your team will make Wild Eyes run perfectly for the remainder of your voyage. Our greatest prayer is for your safety.

    With prayer and God speed,
    Leon and Sally

  14. Abby sorry your non-stop quest is in doubt.While in South Africa pick up Greg Mortenson,s book Three cups of tea,his quest was cut short too, only lead to bigger and better things.This true story will lift your spirits.STILL MY HEREO.

  15. Abby...You are the greatest! You are showing us all what a survivor is!! As the captian of your make the decisions! Well done. I read your blogs and sometimes worry, but am always energized by what you do!

    Today I saw you stand tall and smile proudly. Job well done. Many of us who are watching you closely and "sailing along with you", may not blog often, but are cheering you on.

    To your bloggers, I enjoy all of you as well. May your words of wisdom be encouragement for Abby.

    Peace, enjoyment and strong winds to you from one retired sailor and his wife from Snowflake, AZ

  16. Abby, an attempt at something is neber ever a failure, it is always a winner - so well done for your attempt. Adjusting the goal post when all things are considered is simply a sign of maturity - you should be extremely proud of yourself. Good luck with the rrest of the voyage.

    Jenny, melbourne, Australia

  17. Abby, Like a lot of people here, I do not know you at all, but I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. I spent 2 hours today reading your entire blog. (When I should have been doing other things!) You are braver, more poised and more mature than I ever will be. I loved hearing the good news about the autopilot. I hope the rest of the trip to Cape Town goes smoothly! Sail on!

  18. Hey Abby,

    I am sorry to hear about your auto pilots problems. I did not know that you rely on them so much. I am sure lots of people have lot of opinions about whether you should dock in or not, but none of them really matter, besides your family and friends. But most importantly you. It’s your boat, you life, your trip and you want to finish the voyage for yourself and maybe for your team a little too.
    I am not sure the solo trip was ever about getting there unassisted or without stopping. Quite frankly, without stopping you are missing some of the most beautiful places around the world. But make sure that whatever decision you make, you can live with it of the rest of the life. You better make your peace with it now before you get to Cape Town.
    I am sure you went through every other scenario with your team and you know what it means sailing without a reliable auto pilot. The trip is tough enough. But safety should always come first in this type of situation. You will have many challenges in your life and lot tougher decisions to make as you go along. It is still a pretty cool trip and many of us watching and reading the blog wish we could take with you or on our own one day. You can always come back and sail without any autopilot at all with your brother on the same boat and I guarantee you it’s going to be a challenge sharing small space with a guy. You are doing a great job, we love to read your posts, and I hope that you found what you are looking for on this trip. I quick pit stop somewhere is not going to change that. Stay safe, complete your journey and come home to tell us all about it. We are waiting so hurry up, will you? :)


  19. Abby,
    You are truly an inspiring young woman. To have a dream and make it happen is something everyone should strive for. You keep strong and know that you are in the hearts and prayers of a lot of people wishing you nothing but the best

  20. A kitten and your little sister?! I love it. Can't wait for the pics. BTW, where have the pics been lately? I miss seeing you. Maybe spending too much time with the auto-pilot....?
    Whatever... take care, rest up, and I'm hoping you don't have to hand steer all the way to CT.
    Catch you later.
    39*50'N, 86*9'W

  21. Dear Abby:

    Glad to see you got your "manual" auto pilot fixed. When you get to Cape Town, be sure to buy the extended warranty on that bad boy.

    Pay attention only to your family and supporters who have your best interests at heart and keep Wild Eyes on the prize. You are the best!!

    Wayne Wild I. Moraga, CA

  22. Bonjour Abby & Wild Eyes,


    Take care, Be safe.

  23. After all that trouble with your autopilot I would say the stop in Cape Town is a must. Take care Abby, looking forward to more about you journey.

  24. Abby,

    I'm glad you got it working again. That's quite a bit of ingenuity running strings from the tiller to your chart desk. That just shows how much you persevere in the face of adversity. I hope you get that well-earned night's sleep in your bunk.

    Does Coursemaster make a remote for the unit you have? So that you could center your tiler without all the running back and forth? Just a thought.

    I don't know if you can pull off the kitten and baby sister part of your list while your in Cape Town but I hope you get everything else you need. Unless ... do kittens eat flying fish?

    Stay safe.

    Nick form CT

  25. Yay Abby! Hard work does have a reward! This time it's that you get to sleep tonight and that's probably the best reward you've gotten in a while. :D I agree that you need cameras - we'd love to see the view from your boat. Unless you can get some kind of waterproofing for a kindle it might not be worth the cost and effort to replace it. If you do pick up another one, (this seems so obvious, I'm almost afraid to suggest it) but would keeping it in a ziplock when you're not using it help prevent the corrosion? At the very least I would think it would slow it down.

    I love your list. I believe Zac was thinking about a cat at one point too, I don't remember why he decided against it. I'm not so sure your sister would have fun though - the cat is probably a better idea.

    I pray you have a wonderful, restful trip into Cape Town. Enjoy your visit with your family/team and take lots of pictures for those of us who will never get to see that part of the world.

  26. maybe a sweet stuffed kitten named after your little sister will fit the bill? Enjoy your short stay on Land, and then get out there and get YOUR RECORD youngest solo around the world sailor.

  27. Hi.
    So, I'm a complete stranger but I just wanted to say, if you've never been to Cape Town before, you've got a treat waiting for you. It's one of the prettiest places I've ever been and I envy you the chance to come in from the water.
    It's so great to read about what you've been doing.
    Best of luck.

  28. Way to go, Abby! Doesn't it give you a good feeling to take something broken and make it work? Well done, you! I bet you will have a lovely long list of things to do and collect in Cape Town. A warm shower, a soft dry bed, a real coffee, icecream... the list will go on and on. You'll start your renewed voyage full of optimism. Hope you'll call in and see us in Aus.
    Jules on the Gold Coast

  29. I have sooo enjoyed reading your posts! I hope you manage to post some during your "pit-stop" I look forward to reading about your voyage for many more days to come!! Take care brave lady, and remember safety comes first :)

  30. You made national news again today, this time on the Fox website. Non-stop or not you're doing great.

  31. Hi Abby,

    Oh, I was so happy to read your latest blog. You sound so upbeat.

    Godspeed all the way to Cape Town and ENJOY!!

    Clare, Spokane, Wash.

  32. Hi Abby:

    Your awesome! What a story with the auto-pilot.
    I hope your team will consider using a different company and get two new ones installed when you are in Cape Town. I am glad you have got it working for the time being, but I am sure the unreliablity makes you feel uncomfortable and uncertain. Keep your spirits up. You are doing fantastic.

    Hugs, seattlesid

  33. Way to go Abby! We are so proud of how much you have achieved! We're thinking & praying for you.


  34. Around the world, non-stop vs. around the world with a stop in Cape Town? Take the stop! Everyone who has sailed around the world by themselves has the right to call you out, but the rest of us will just admire.

  35. Greetings Captain Abigail,

    I am sure happy you posted again tonight....I thought the blog was going to explode as you came close to ONE THOUSAND responses to your last post. What an outpouring of love for you Abs....well deserved super sailor. By the way...who ever is managing the blog comments ....JOB WELL DONE.

    That's a well-written image of you running back and forth to try and restart the pilot....and now it's working....CONGRATULATIONS ABBY. Hopefully you will get SOME sleep. Despite your obvious exhaustion you sound in good spirits and very positive. See.... if you had taken Little Katherine in the first place you would have had an extra hand to do the repairs.

    According to "Where's Abby" you are really on the move to Cape Town. Continued success "keeping it all together". My thoughts are with you and WILD EYES.

    Have a safe night,
    john, Bay of Quinte, Lake Ontario, Canada

  36. Wow I had heard that you were stopping your trip,that's all the news people said in N.Cal. I am glad that you're going on. I was about to send you some info on self steering. The idea has been around since the beginning of sailing. A book that caught my attention is Self Steering For Sailing Craft By John S. Letcher,Jr. Pub 1974. No wires, just light lines small blocks and some surgical tubing. Good sailing to you.

  37. I think you should keep some instant food like instant noodle etc. Thanks

  38. Dear Abby, I am sorry that the auto pilot is broken. I hope you get back to California safely. 6 Year old Anisa

  39. "Everyone who has sailed around the world by themselves has the right to call you out..."

    WHAT do you mean? That is completely ridiculous, unwarranted and untrue. It is, also, stupid. Abby IS sailing around the world by herself. You think that she is taking on some crew in Capetown?

  40. Abby you are doing the right thing, get your repairs made, restock supplies, get that hot shower which will feel so good and continue on your adventure. I have been following both you & Jessica every night. I look forward to your blog's. Congradulations on what you have accomplished so far. Be safe, Godspeed . Art, Beecher, Wisconsin

  41. My husband was reading an article in the paper about you to me and said, "She's giving up on her trip." I argued, "No she isn't, she's just stopping for repairs!" The headline of the article sounded like the trip was over, but in the body of the article, it was closer to the truth. Damned reporters...they don't care what they write!

  42. Gosh, not only the Captain of this boat, but Chief engineer and mechanic as well. Good job on auto pilot.Way to go Abby.
    Never a doubt in my mind you would continue on after the repairs. Its who you are. Sail on..

  43. Channel 4 news in LA did a story on you Sunday night/Monday morning and said your were coming back to Thousand Oaks. Maybe that is why some people think your ending in Cape Town? Good luck, you still a star in our eyes! Enjoy South Africa!

  44. Go Abby - you are one classy girl. I have posted a couple of comments on Jesse's blog but this is the first for yours although I have been following your adventure since you left California. How you have handled your disappointment at not being able to achieve your original goals is a lesson in maturity and class for all. Go Abby go. I look forward to reading the rest of your blogs while you cross the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Brian (ex pat Aussie now in Seattle)

  45. You still amaze me! Like I used to tell my daughter who is now 20, this is your life! What other people think does not matter! Enjoy the ride and stay safe.

  46. you're doing everything right.

  47. Abby, will any of your family be at cape town to see you? So Happy that the auto pilot is working. You amaze me, love your courage and knowledge. Stay safe!

  48. Best find a cat that likes water; lots of water. And thinks nothing of a constantly moving world and an occasional 90 degree switch of wall and floor. Try to find one at the marina where you dock that was born at sea for my cat went completely ballistic when he viewed the ocean for the first time.

    And we all know you are kidding about your little sister but understand you miss her terribly.

  49. Good for you, Abby. I always feel encouraged after reading your blog. Thank you so much!

    J x

  50. Good job Abby. What you and Jesse both are doing is something that VERY FEW people in this world can say they have done. Take no unnecessary risks. That's what the GOOD LORD give you wisdom for..use it. I'm praying the Lord gives you a safe journey and watches over you.Good luck!
    Don't EVER consider this a failure. You already accomplished what many only dream of. We love you and are proud of you and Jessse both.

  51. hi abby,

    the camaraderie you and Jess have shared should put to rest any talks of competition between you two. Both of you have shown maturity far beyond your age and I hope there is a lesson from this for all the elders including me.

  52. You don't have a wind vane steering system on aboard? That seems to me to be more reliable. Sorry you have to make a stop but it is best to be safe. Going on and finishing is still a great accomplishment to be proud of. Hope you get some rest now that you have the pilot working.

  53. Hi Abby,
    Thanks for another outstanding update! I read your latest posting to someone who didn't understand that you are continuing on after repairs. The first reaction I received was "That's really great!", and the second one was, "Wow, that girl can REALLY express herself; she is wise well beyond her years."
    Your list of admirers is growing on a daily basis. Keep up the great work, and we'll keep reading about it and praying for you!
    Keith and Kathy Wargo, Lynchburg VA

  54. I am so very proud of you and your attitude about all that is going on. I especially like the win/win perspective between you and Jesse. from the very beginning ou said your goal was to go around the world and if you could do it non-stop it would be a bonus. I see you have not change your goal, hooray for you! Keep up the great job you have been doing! I look forward evernight to see what is going on with both you and Jesse. I guess us old folks are living our dreams through the two of you. Keep going and God Bless!

  55. Hi Abby... As has been said many times... Go Girl. You are a winner. We are so proud of you and your determination. Glad you have that auto pilot working. We pray it will hold tgether til you dock in Cape Town. Enjoy your stop-over. Sights to see and all. I know you will want to assist with repairs, but get some rest and relax a bit. Luv Ya Much, Stay safe and may the Good Lord watch over you. Bud & Charla Winnett

  56. i like your optimism and character especially how you look at your case and Jesse's. You show maturity way beyond your years. I hope you will always be a good role model to kids your age or younger or even to much older ones.

    i'm feeling prouder of you by the day. go abby. reach fro your dreams, conquer the seas and conquer the world. i believe you have what it takes. sail on girl and make us prouder still.

    be safe always.


  57. Hi Abby,
    You ever hear the old addage that "necessity is the mother of invention?" You did great with your strings and getting that autopilot fixed. You also have a great head on your shoulders and talk about are. I have a 15 yr old girl that I am proud of, you two remind me of each other in your determination. Course she dosent sail and never has, but she dosent give up if its something she wants. Young ladies like you and her are few and far between. Thats sad but true.
    Have a wonderful stop over in Cape Town..and a bit of company in a kitten sounds nice. I talk to my dog all the time. Course he thinks I'm a bit addled but he loves me anyway...haha.
    Hot *litter box and kitten chow* supplies...repairs..deep breath..back to the adventure.

    May your strength and faith never wane and may you always feel confident in your own self.
    I dont really know you but I am very proud of you.

    Blessings...CJ...Asheville, NC

    BTW...I didnt know Jesse was doing the same still...where do I find the feed on it?


  59. Abby you are brave and wise one. You are great young sailor. Stop or non-stop, your experience will never get in any place.
    We have following your blog.
    Please keep update.
    All the best to you!
    akira from Brazil

  60. You probably haven't heard but here in Queensland we've just had an episode of a tanker running aground onto our Great Barrier Reef !!!!!

    When you do get home your sailing experience and navigational skills would be very much appreciated here to teach ships captains how to at least get their craft into the open sea without the possibility of a major environmental disaster on our beautiful coastline.
    I'm sure the tanker which was 200m long had a bit more electronic gear than you have.
    You've managed to get halfway round the world with faulty equipment.
    This crew hardly got out of sight of land without hitting an obstacle 2,500 klm's long.

  61. Abby,

    You and Jessica will be remembered years from now for the respect and support that you have shown for each other. You both have been an example of total class which is something that some bloggers who have tried to make this a competition have lacked. Your character and ethics will outlive anything that is entered into any record book.

    Hang in there, Abby. You’ll be in Cape Town real soon and will get a very well deserved break. Just keep thinking of that long, hot shower. And don’t forget…..You’re a Champion.
    Have fun and stay safe.

    From Seattle, WA, USA

  62. That's fabulous news about the autopilot. I'll keep my fingers crossed and prayers going that you make it safe and sound to Cape Town.

    Good call on stopping to get Wild Eyes fixed. All the better to complete your attempt to be the youngest solo circumnavigator.

    You're right, this way, you and Jesse are both winners. Well, you're both winners anyway, because you're doing something many of us couldn't (or wouldn't).

    Now go get some rest and dream about your feline crew member-to-be.

  63. Abby,
    People may say your a failur or quitter but,Your not a failure or a quitter and don't ever let anyone tell you that. Your amazing to me and my 4 children. I wish there were more young adults out there like you and Jesse and others. Your what our world needs. You will never be a failure or quitter in our eyes but, a inspiration for us to do better and be better.

    Thank you!
    Your smart and just absolutely wonderful.
    Just keep your focus on your dream.

  64. Abby!
    Thank God the auto pilot is under control, for now anyway. Hopefully it will hold up until you hit Cape town. How long do you think that will be from where you are? Are you getting the auto pilot replaced? Do you get to interact live with friends/family? Are there certain sections of the trip that you look forward to more then others? How's that food? Any favorites? Thats probably enough questions for now. I was wondering when you will return home, though. Do you follow the news over the internet? Not that there is anything too Earth shattering going on here. There were a couple of vicious tornado strikes in the mid west at the beginning of the week. Hopefully you're getting some sleep. You should be about 9 hours ahead of Cali(?) Are you keeping up with achool work? Sorry about all the questions. Enjoy your Tuesday!

  65. Abby, You are doing something that most people only dream about while they sit in their cubicles and mutter silly and stupid rantings that really have NO place here. That being said has NASA, contacted you to go to work on the ISS (International Space Station) inasmuch as you are just exactly what they need up there. You have a problem and you do everything possible to correct that problem and you do it the right way, with the help of your support team of course. Seriously though, Abby Always Stay Safe And When Out On Deck Tethered. 38'43"N/122'67"W

  66. Hi Abby,

    As a 66 year old ex sailor I am in awe of your adventures. You and Jessie should be considered as true masters and sisters of the sea.
    Please call into Australia on your way through. You will be welcomed with open arms. Smooth sailing.

    Geoff Smith. Melbourne Australia.

  67. Dear Abby, It was very nice of you to commend Jesse Watson on her accomplishment's when things aren't going so well for yourself. Yes a very nice thing indeed. You are one of a kind! Ever since I started fallowing you on your journey I always knew that you are a type of person who was going to do this journey young or old as I'm proud that you made it this far with the problems you had to deal with, I agree with you that when you make it to Cape Town you get that hot shower and a day or too of good sleep then you get Wild Eyes back in shape and get out there and finish what you started,there can be no other way for you. My thoughts are with you and your family. Take care

  68. So sorry to hear of your misfortune it is definately the right thing to do in getting it fixed.
    When you leave Cape Town for the Great Southern Ocean please, please be exceptionally careful as it will be well into the winter and this is a seriously unforgiving ocean as Jessica Watson is still discovering and she is not safely out of it yet.
    Our prayers are with you.
    Tony & Gael Qld. Australia

  69. Hey Abby . . . Years ago, my high school Social Studies teacher (who also happened to be the football coach and the girls basketball coach), lectured our class on "finding your intestinal fortitude." He told us that when times are tough, we need to reach deep inside to find the "guts" that will help us get through any situation. Throughout the years, his words have helped me do more than I thought possible. I use his words to help my children understand that one can do more than they think they can. You are a shining example of how one can reach deep within to find that "intestinal fortitude" to do what to many may seem impossible. Keep it up, Abby! You're a living testament to the beauty of the human spirit.

    My family was thrilled to see your brother sail into MDR, and we'll definitely be there to welcome you home.

  70. Abby, what a great and upbeat report. I think you and Jesse should get together and go on tour after you finish your trip!

  71. 04-27-10 @ 01:38
    Hi Abby,
    Glad to hear from you, and thanks for the informative blog.
    Looks like you did a great job getting the A/P back on line, even if only temporarily. But that was quite a rigorous procedure that you went through.
    That will keep the muscles in your legs well exercised.

    There was talk on earlier posts as to how magnetic fields could effect the A/P performance. I just hope that all these possibilities are looked into before you set sail again. Having two (2) units fail back to back is unusual anywhere, not impossible, but unusual. There is a lot of electronics on the boat and electricity is a strange fellow. Good luck on that.

    I just happened to notice, in your blog, that you were definitely gonna continue on. That was funny how that statement really stood out….lol…
    A definite for sure statement!!!!!! I had no doubt.
    If I may be so bold as to stick my neck out, in my opinion, a kitten yes, your sister “NO”. You were just kidding, yes, yes……?????
    Good luck to you on your repairs, and try to relax and enjoy the downtime, although I know you won’t relax. I’m very proud of you and how you handled this entire situation.

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

  72. Smart decision and really the only one that could be made. I'm looking forward to the rest of your adventure. Any addittional stops planned? This change gives you an opportunity to make your book even more interesting. Enjoy the journey!

    Jim L

  73. Abby,
    Choosing for safety is always the best thing to do. I've been sailing rather big vessels proffesionally, and I can assure you that criticism about a safe choice is better than being sorry for the wrong choice. Keep up the good spirit.

    Good luck from a dutch sailor.

  74. Hey Abby
    onya! hope the trip to SA isn't too tough! Sail safe.


  75. I am amazed at your problem solving ability, maturity and your capability in bending the English language to your will.
    By all means get a ship's cat; they keep rats off of the ship and have done so for thousands of years, going back to the Phoenicians.

    You could BUY a fish when you get to Capetown.

  76. Love that idea of using string to fix the electronics. ;-)

    Hope things hold together until you get to Cape Town and get the replacement gear aboard.

    Meanwhile Jessica is facing a very tough week weatherwise as she tries to round Tasmania with one gale after another blowing through. (I'll be very happy when she turns the corner and waves Tasmania farewell and heads north for home.)

    She took another knockdown a day or so ago. Interesting the knockdown came after the wind had let up. This seems to happen a lot. In her case she had 30-foot seas, and when the wind system that generated them eased up she got hit by a big brute as she slept. Must be interesting physics involved in the random creations that emerge from wave trains.

    Above is mentioned as a cautionary for Abby. Sometimes rogue waves emerge as the storm is subsiding. (Of course a rogue wave can come just about anytime there are waves, but, that's part of what makes Abby's adventure an extra adventurous adventure.)

    Abby's next leg could be exceptionally challenging. The Indian Ocean is a great big huge crossing, and we're now a full month into Fall in the Southern Hemisphere. On the plus side I'd imagine that Abby's weather routers will - - just like Jessica's apparently did - - keep her as high lattitude-wise as possible (in the 30s, away from the Ferocious 40s and Furious 50s and such), and away from the big low-pressure systems that go parading by further to the south.

    All of this should make for quite a book. Hope you are taking plenty and plenty of notes -- using waterproof ink, of course. ;-)

    Enjoy Table Mountain. I hope you get to see that mountain (that I've only read about) both bare, and with it's famous cloud-white table cloth. Think of the mountain as putting out its best cloud-lace linen as it prepares a welcome for your visit.

    - Grant Fjermedal, Seattle

  77. is there any chance abby couldn't be the coolest chick on the planet?

  78. Abby, How come this word failure keeps slipping into the blog. you have done everything humanly possible in your preperation and voyage that could be asked of anyone. you even sourced what was supposed to be extremley reliable autopilots and took a backup for the unforeseen like damage in a knockdown or electrical fault.
    If I were you I'd be asking for answers from Coursemaster for having two complete units that wouldn't even do half of the voyage. they knew the task these autopilots were going to be up for and they should have been up to it.
    The least I'd be expecting from them is to have one of their representatives meet you in Cape Town and repair or replace your autopilots.
    If the word failure is to be used it only applies to the autopilots.
    You are still going to be a winner because you have made very grown up decisions to make this stop, get the required work done so you can safely continue your dream.
    Being one of two 16 year old girls to sail around the globe single handed is a very big honour to have being there is over 6 billion people who haven't. do what needs to be done and travel on with your head held high because you are showing the world just what teenagers can be capable of doing if they believe in themselves.
    I know Jesse will be proud of you because she knows just what grit it takes to live a dream this big.
    Cheers Baz

  79. "It is not the destination we reach that is most rewarding - it is the journey along the way."

    What a positive admirable young lady you are!

  80. Gos bless you, and injoy your trip take only the good out of it.

  81. Hi Abby,
    I'm sure you'll be met by hundreds of well-meaning people wanting to give you a kitten once you set foot on African soil...

    The Scouts and Guides of Selous Troop in Germany will continue to watch you on your great adventure.

    Stay safe and may you always have a handwidth of water under your keel.

  82. Hung from Hong KongApril 27, 2010 at 12:23 AM

    Hi Abby,

    Quoted below are some suggestions for Jesse to do after she crosses the finished line. This is to aim for keeping her blog alive for beaming her greater than life adventurous journey. You may notice that some of the suggestions will involve you two great girls to cross your route for mutual fellowship and support. Just have a thought.


    Hi Jesse,

    Goodonya having fought yet another good fight. I could sense more the sentiments of our Jessican tribal fella worry of missing you once you cross the finished line. You have become our inspiration and our life line for looking forwards for a new day of hope and excitement following your adventurous journey. Many of us including myself have suggested you to keep your blog alive. But what is the next program to keep the blog going. I can bet even your most ordinary life getting back to normal while handling the new earned fame is readily a worth while program to watch. But in the intermediate and long terms, I have the following just as a lead for the Jessicans to join brain storming for infinite creative ideas: -

    1) After a rest, invite Abby to visit Sydney and you two girls plan for a historic meeting between the Jessican and Abbigans signing a treaty of joint declaration of the birth of the new world family of the Republic of Spiritans”
    2) Then you can launch your National victory lap meeting your local fans in Australia promoting your book “True Spirit”
    3) Perhaps you could negotiate with one of the University in Australia to grant you an honour degree on “New World Politics” by distant learning. ((In HKH and Asian countries, we have precedences of Uni granting place for talent under aged young students to be enrolled in Uni)) The purpose is to free you from routine and mundane Education process that already do you no justice after your such great life transforming experience.
    4) Then you may consider to embark on another round the globe journey making as many stops as you would like to be the ambassador of the Jessicans Tribe of the Republic of Spiritans” You may wish to plan your first stop at a city of NZ (where your Grand Dad is) to soothe their sourness of failure to claim you exclusively as their own.
    5) To promote the greatness of this new generation of the “Spiritans”, you may plan to cross the unfinished route of Abby meeting her at some great places in the world. Or at least you may plan to meet Abby at the conclusion of her round the globe non non–stop trip at her selected finished port.

    In order not to deprive other Jessicans to throw in their input, I must stop here for the time being.

    Keep safe to run your wonderful life journey ahead in the long haul.


    Same greetings be to you, Abby, keep safe always for the long haul.

    Hung from Hong Kong

  83. Abby, going into port for repairs is the right and safe thing to do and I'm sure you would rather be where you are and needing repairs than do what Jessica will face in the next 48 hours. she has a big storm coming from the South and she will be facing 12 meter plus seas as she sails around Tasmania. makes pulling into port sound good doesn't it ?.
    She's had some rough conditions since entering Australian waters and it has put her finishing date 10 day's later than was first thought.
    By stopping in Cape Town you can now plan your trip to avoid what Jesse is going to have to sail through so yes it's a very smart move.
    The Southern oceans of Australia are savage waters so now you can time you passage through there when conditions are favorable.


  85. I don't do well in or on water, so what you are doing is nothing short of amazing to me! years ago, a 16 year girl lived here and could easily drain a 40g hot water tank every morning, so i hear you about that hot shower!

    "To infinity ... and beyond!"

  86. Abby
    great to read the Auto Pilot Fix... and equally so the piece of string(s) trick as well!
    Ingenuity ... or as my dear mother-in-law would say "brains win out"
    Smooth Seas and Favourable Winds ;o))

  87. stacie (~mara on 27, 2010 at 12:36 AM

    Gah... snarky people commenting on Fox news... I had to try to set them straight. If anyone wants to pop over to and make sure I got it all correct feel free. I say they're all just jealous. GO ABBY!!

  88.'re such an inspiration. As much as I go through life with this facade that I'm the big strong, never show emotion guy, occasionally you and/or Jesse bring a tear to my eye. I try my best to make sure nobody sees it. You two make me feel sooo proud. I guess it's because I have 4 daughters (no sons) and 5 granddaughters.

    I hope you're reading this in the morning after a great nights sleep.

    It's so relieving to hear that you have the a/p working, at least for now. I pray that it holds until Cape Town and you don't have to heave to or put out a drogue to get any rest.

    As far as your list of things to put on board at Cape Town, the kitten is good, but I think you oughta forget about pack'n Katherine aboard. Mom and Dad aren't gonna go along with that one. I'm guessing that the minimum age in your family for putting your life on the line, thousands of miles from land, is 16. When you get home it'll be easy to get a Katherine fix, seeing as you probably won't be able to pry her off your side.

    Items that you didn't mention that you need to put on board is fresh food for a week or two and cameras. Cameras...still and video. We out here are starving for more pics and video. Abby... that also includes Cape Town and area.

    When you pull out of Cape Town, I pray that's the end of the a/p problems and you can get down to the business of circumnavigating the world. We well be in MDR to greet you home. I for one, can't wait.

    God bless you Abby


  89. @eeyore April 26, 2010 9:00 PM

    Wind vane steering will not work on an Open 40. It's a boat designed for fast speeds. It requires an autopilot.

  90. whua so nice,,,,,,,i like ur blog,,, i hope my one will be somth like urs

  91. Good on you for keeping going, Abby. Is there any chance you could start a position log, using Google Earth, like Jesse is doing? If not, no matter, but I for one will be rooting for you all the way. Cheers

  92. I have nothing against Journalists. They are very faithful to their motto: "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story!"

  93. Today's Inspirational Quote:

    "Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a
    wonderful stroke of luck."

    -- Dalai Lama

  94. Hi Abby -- Glad to hear from you tonight and very glad that the autopilot is behaving presently. You have done an excellent job in figuring ways to control that tiller in strained circumstances. Congratulations on your ingenuity! Trust all will continue to go well for you all the way to Cape Town!

    Abby, what a precious attitude you displayed toward Jessica ---'neither of us liked being in 'competition' with each other.' She has made nice comments about you as well. I appreciate the fact that you two girls have utmost respect for one another and each of you sincerely wants to see the other one succeed. That speaks volumes for the character of both of you! Any way you cut it, you are both winners!!! Oh, that the world was full of young people like you two!!!

    Get some sleep now and remember to keep alert, sail smart, sail safe!

    Janell in Oklahoma, USA

  95. Abby, Great decision on the port call in Cape Town. Safety should always be the priority. I love reading your blog!!!

    Autopilot, wind-vane, self-steering... what great topics for the next sailing course I take. I can only gleen so much from google!

    It has been a terrific education reading your blog. I love it!

    Always remember what others say and do is a projection of their own reality. Even reporters. When you become immune to the opinions of others, you are no longer the victim of needless worries caused by them.

    Fair wind and following seas.

    Chuck D.

  96. Abby, don't worry! It will still be the experience of your lifetime. All the best, and keep going!

  97. Bravo Abby!! You are doing a great thing! I'm bummed that you are having to go ashore to resolve this self steering issue. You will not be the first and certainly will not be the last sailor who--unfortunately--will not be able to complete their voyage as planned because of self steering issues. You are among great company on that list.
    Have fun out there. I sailed across the Atlantic 25-years ago and it is one of the greatest things I've ever done. I believe that you will enjoy and pull from your circumnavigation forever.
    Have a beam reach day!

  98. We love and admire you all the more so for making the correct decisions and keeping yourself out of Harm's Way. You bring new meaning to the idea of "Follow Your Bliss." Be Well and Be Safe. :~)

  99. Hi Abby,
    Sorry to hear your autopilots are both having trouble. I had a client with a Coursemaster autopilot on his Beneteau 57 which was nothing but grief. After months of frustration & countless attempts to make it operational & reliable, he simply gave up & replaced it with an Octopus autopilot system, which so far, (knock on wood) has performed flawlessly.

    I wouldn't recommend coursemaster to anyone, especially after hearing about the autopilot issues you are suffering.

    I hope your team is looking into other manufacturers, and suggest they take a peek at the Octopus units.

    Best of luck with your trip,

  100. Hi Abby,
    Glad you got that auto pilot going again. I hope it lasts until you get to Cape Town. Catch up on some sleep and hopefully that hot shower will no be to far away. Congratulations on your achievements so far and enjoy the rest of your adventure.

  101. Abby, your solo sailing adventure around the world is unique. You remain "heading in the right direction", so important to you as you blogged April 16th in "Pouring Rain and Fog". There are so many new possibilities. Your blogs will be followed carefully, as they are now. It appears to me that the book title would be great with reference to sailing or heading in the right direction. The secret of a great life? Much love, Pat

  102. Dearest Abby,

    You go girl, you have an amazing attitude Abby and as I've said before you have such good sportsmanship. I just want yourself and Jesse to get home safely never mind any records. You will both always be winners to me. :-)

    I'm pleased that the autopilot is working for now and may it continue working until you reach Cape Town.


    My prayers are with you my dear for a safe journey into Cape Town. It's a good thing to look forward to - a long shower, it will be a real luxury for you.

    Take care and keep safe and thanks again for all the blogs you send our way.

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

    April 27, 2010 3:50 AM

  103. Abby, you are definitely making the right decision. The seas below Australia are challenging with a 100% okay boat at this time of the year. And a solo circ is still a solo circ. A magnificent accomplishment!

    Have fun in Cape Town, and we'll all salute you when you scoot past Sydney.

  104. You have done a fantastic Job. So keep up your spirits not worry about any one who hasnt the maturity to fully understand what you have allready accomploshied You are a role model for young pepole.You have huge support in Australia we wish the rest of your trip is safe So Abby Go Girl You ARE One Remarkeable YOun Lady GOOD luck & Fair Winds . Peter Gympie South Queensland.

  105. Now the trip gets seriously EXCELLENT. You go, lady!

  106. HAY! ABBY!

    Thanks for the update, good news to start the day. Whats it like in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean? Take a picture for us.

    Hope it's all down hill to Cape Town.
    Stay sharp stay safe and.....GO! ABBY!

  107. You are so so right Abby, you and Jesse both win and claim a big slice of your dream without the competition. We are all there behind you and I'll just bet you are looking forward to that hot shower. Once things are right again, on with your journey you go.

    So sorry to hear about all the trouble with the auto pilot. What a nuisance but only justifies your decision as the right one. I cannot even imagaine the frustration - just reading your trial over the day is enough to send me into a spin. What patience you must have.

    I guess Jesse has been very fortunate in many ways but she is certainly up against it in these last weeks as she completes her voyage. Only you and she can really understand what each other is facing so I congratulate you on being up front with everyone. I definitely got the impression that you were both encouraging one another, the competition was more with everyone else.

    May God guide you safely to Cape Town and give you a big break with that auto pilot and any other troublesome equipment!

    Jo-Anne, Geelong, Aus.

  108. Hi Abby,

    Sorry to hear you have suffered another hiccup.........Your safety must come going into port and sorting out the problems is a far wiser choice.......remember we want YOU to be able to tell the story. Look forward to continuing your amazing journey at a later rest up, recharge and onward........cheers.......Babs (Oz)

  109. Hey Abby - some smart decisions you have made and I admire you for that. As for the kitty - I've got one that is laying here beside me purring and gazing into my eyes right at this moment making out that he is totally innocent, devoted, adoring little puss - only cos he wants more food - if and when I get off this chair and move in any direction other than the fridge where his food is he will no doubt hide round a corner, wait patiently and then leap out at me as I go past and try to bite me in the shins!!! It's always really good fun in the morning when I am just out of bed - half asleep and thinking (obviously quite incorrectly) that I am top of the food chain in this house and should probably get to have my coffee etc before I panda to "Mr I want it now and I'm the boss" Awesome little piece of work he is - half lovable and half pure evil...... I could air freight him to Cape Town for you if you want.......???? Free of Charge:-)

  110. Hi Abby, You sound good and I am so glad that you got your auto pilot going again. I saw you on the news and they are the ones that are saying you are coming back to Thousand Oaks from Cape Town, I knew they were wrong because you had said that Cape Town was just a stop over and you were going to finsh what you had started out to do. You are a brave young lady and I am so proud of you, you are not a failure!!!!!! I beleive that things happen for a reason and there is a reason for this. You are on a great adventure and one that you will never forget. We are all very proud of you and keep sending your blogs. Be safe and my prayers and thoughts are with you. Gail/Ventura

  111. Pffffew! Terrific news, Miss Abby! I am relieved that you were astute enough to make your autopilot work again, and let's hope it will agree to hold on until Cape Town. Hand steering for all these milles is not the hottest thing to do!
    Good job, so.
    I think the kitten would be drowned after 3 days, and though Kathy would love coming with you, remember she is going to some place named S C H O O L. But maybe you forgot about that weird thing? Mmmm you might well take some new schoolbooks on board, when you dock in South Africa, as I am sure you finished all the ones you had taken with you? nagnag... I am naughty, sorry Abby.
    A hairbrush is a mandatory equipment for a young lady. And if she is a little untidy, you may take a good heap of them, maybe one or two dozens. Once back in California, you will sell them (the surviving ones) as collectibles from your odyssey.
    Take care and reach Capetown safe. Fair sailing, Abby!

  112. It's like one of life's lessons,it is for a reason.

    Sorry to hear about having to head to port, but again it's for a reason.

    I am happy to hear you & your team have made the right decision and are going to get this fixed. Yes this may be a bit of a disappointment for now Abby,but, what can't be taken away from you is the memories you will always have of this trip. You will look back at this trip and always be proud of your self....

    Now get to port, get her fixed and be back on your adventure of a life time...

    Big wishes from the small state of DelaWHERE!

    One day at a time!

    Checkin in on you daily!

  113. What an amazing attitude you have Abby! Grace under pressure, tenacity, and generosity - if we could bottle measures of this mixture up and spread it around the world, a vast improvement would take place. But your commitment to your dream is inspiration to many to do similar - maybe not on the same scale ;*) Love to you from Texas.

  114. Go Abby! As close and avid "Down Under" followers of Jesse Watson we have also been watching your adventure with interest and admiration. For any solo sailor the challenge is nature itself, the voyage and the accomplishment needs no competitors. Good luck, Godspeed, Best Wishes for your eventual landfall back home.

  115. It's such an honor to be able to read your posts, as well as those from your family, I wanted to say, thank you. Your trip, your patience, your determination are so positive in this "bad news" time. Speaking only for myself, I am very proud of you and all that you accomplish every day that you are sailing. Keep up your posts, your words are very welcomed.

  116. Abby,
    May you have fair warm winds and smooth seas.
    And we are looking forward to reading about your new port of call, Cape Town South Africa.
    There will now be more interesting things to write about in your book. The exicting experiences of a new land and welcoming people cheering you forward on your sea adventure.

  117. Hello Abby, Glad that you got the autopilot fixed. What a relief! You know a kitten would be a great companion but your stuffed friends might get jealous:) Have a safe day and hopefully all things will go smoothly and you can get some much needed rest.
    NJ Mom

  118. Another option - start a new non-stop trip after everything is taken care of at Cape Town.

  119. I'm so glad you were able to get the auto pilot functional again. Hope you got some restful sleep in your bed last night!

    Maybe some of your family will be able to meet you for a visit in Cape Town....???

    Lori in MN

  120. Another option - start a new non stop trip from Cape Town after everything has been taken care of and you have rested.

  121. Thanks Abby.
    Good to see that things are working better for you.
    Smooth sailing.
    Richard (QLD) Aus

  122. Hey Captain Abbey,Happy to hear you are safe-making the right decisions-can't wait until you are back out at sea again-following your journey every step of the way-your a winner and talented captain. Enjoy your stop in Cape Town and send sum pics. Sandi on the bay md

  123. Dear Abby ,I just read your Monday post and I want to say that you are a very special girl. Patricia and I are so glad you will be able to continue after Cape Town.We wish you safe trip and we will be following with interest as you continue on with your adventure. You are a very mature and responsible young girl,and we consider it a privilege for us that you share your experience with us. We look forward to your next post. God bless you and keep you safe. Terry and Patricia ,Melbourne Australia

  124. Hi Abby next time you fit a pilot get a real one like a AP4 from TMQ Australia. they are the best. Just point and go no setup. All the fisherman her use them

  125. Dear Abby,

    I was so happy to hear from you! You sound great! Very glad to hear that you have the autopilot working again and that you are planning some much needed rest! I am praying for you and as always thinking of you all day long!

    Warm wishes from Kansas!


  126. Abby, your resourceful, resiliance blows me away. Most of us who have lived four times longer are not as successful as you in that department. I am so proud of you! Be safe. Keep looking for the silver lining. There always is one. And, most important, continue smiling. Your hair can be brushed silky another time ;-) ~Alice in Kennebunkport, Maine

  127. You are very impressive you will go far in what ever you do. Good luck and i will continue to follow you!

  128. You sounded so tired & frustrated, but still had the maturity and guts to put positive spin on possible outcomes(you and Jessica both win!) and wish Jesse well. She's not having an easy time getting around the bottom of Australia - wild wild weather - must be scary for her now in those tremendous seas, so you're both facing amazing challenges - more than most adults can imagine. Hope you get some sleep on the way to Cape Town. ... Have you been reading Jamie's blog? There was a thread bout whether it's ok to talk to yourself when you're alone at sea for so long, and I mentioned that the first circumnavigator of Australia, Matthew Flinders was famous for taking his cat with him ... if you do come to Sydney, there's a statue of Flinders and his cat you should ask someone to show you - so cute. Meanwhile, give that great big stuffed bird of yours a cuddle for us - please :-) ... and take care!

  129. Hey Captain Abby,

    Great blog! Good job on fixing the auto pilot (for now at least)!

    My question is, since it is now a bid to by the youngest to circumnavigate the world with stops, does that mean you can end it where you began, right back home in Marina Del Rey? That would be sweet!

    I hope if your Dad meets you there, he brings a few books along for you.

    Stay safe~~Namaste~~

  130. A companion animal sounds great fun, but would it survive a knockdown? Jessica's had a few of those now! T'would be dreadful to see a little fella washed overboard, or knocked out. At least you can tie down your stuffed soft cuddly friends when the going gets tough. But if I did have a kitty on board, I think I'd call it "Octo" - channelling The Beatles LOL

  131. Hi Abby: Amazing that you can get things fixed the way you do. Best wishes for continued progress toward Cape Town and a nice rest on land before you head out. Jessica seems to be having a challenge getting around her home country with bad weather and rough seas. I send prayers and good wishes to both of you brave girls. And hello from my two kitties, Iris Martha and Trillium Rebecca!!

  132. Hey Abby, at what point do you reach your half way point, where is it, and how much longer until you get there? Do you have any type of special ceremony planned like shooting off a flare or downing a giant snickers bar. I was thinking that when you reach that point, if you could let us followers know, we could all then honor your achievement by doing something like declaring that day as "do a good deed for a friend in honor of Abby's achievement day", and then each of us go out on that day and do something unexpected and nice for someone we know or someone we don't know. It would be a cool way to congratulate you from your international community of followers/supporters. What say you, fellow Abby followers?

  133. I am so impressed with you Abbey! You're amazing! Keep it up and Stay strong!

  134. Abby I've read all your blogs and all the comments over the past three months and what you have been going through.It's just amazing what a 16 year old girl is capable of doing.I know when I was 16 year old there is no way I could have done what your doing.
    You have a special gift from God that gives you that courage and to stay strong.
    Abby over the past three months you have created a circle of friends that love you like our own daughter and we have become so concerned about you.
    I hope that when you complete this adventerous voyage you will have some kind of get together so all your well wisher will get to meet you.
    Abby you're in our daily prayers.
    God bless you.
    Libby Di Bernardo
    San Pedro,Ca.(79)

  135. I have been following your journey since the beginning but have not commented previously.
    What you are enduring right now, the many skill sets you are bringing forth, the determination to work through solutions and to complete this trip, has only reinforced my belief that you've proven yourself many times over and can accomplish anything you want to in life. If people don't read your words carefully and not misinterpret, that's their error. You've already shown veracity in your words and work. Keep forging ahead!

  136. I've been following your adventure. I'm a pilot and have flown all over the world. Never second guess yourself when it comes to decisions like the ones you and your team have had to make. It was the wise choice, it was the safe choice and it shows great maturity and understanding. Don't look back. Safe trip.

  137. Hallo Abby Schönes Fräulein
    Schade dass Du an Land gehst
    es ist bestimmt gut Afrika ansehen
    freu mich dass Du dann weiter machst
    hab Blumen auf der Webseite für Dich Dein
    Schönes Lächeln sagt mir Jetzt Afrika Nähe.
    Wünsch Dir Schönes Wetter
    und Sonne und viele 20 Knoten
    und eine Gute Heimfahrt.
    Grüße von Markus aus Germany

  138. I hope Coursemaster are putting you up in a nice hotel suite while they replace your auto-pilot system.

  139. Aweeeeeeeeeeee..........a little kitty cat. That sounds like a GREAT idea! Go for it! That really sounds good. :)

    Be safe,

  140. Abby , if you need to reset again , climb in the back and take the rudder angle indicator off the quadrant and tie your pieces of string to this , this way you can do exactly the same re initialize without having to move the rudder from side to side ,after completion , climb in the back and re attach the indicator. Leave the strings attached and the other ends inside the aft watertight bulkhead hatch so they are there to do it again if needed

  141. Your Oklahoma Well-WisherApril 27, 2010 at 8:01 AM

    Abby -- I'm glad you get a little respite from the autopilot woes... just wishing you smooth sailing all the way to Capetown so that you can get in there and fix the thing for good so that you can get back out on the beautiful big ocean to continue your dream... I'll repeat from yesterday -- I have such great respect and joy for you and what you are doing! Keeping you and your team in my thoughts in prayers always... Peace, Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher

  142. Skipper, thanks again for the update. Good to hear that at least you don't have to steer by hand all the way to Cape town. Keep your chin-up you are a winner all the way, you survived Cape Horn solo, and all the way to Cape Town which is half way unassisted. This will give you and Jessica a different entry into the record book. I hope people will now stop the comparison. Now since you already stopped in Cabo, then stopping in Cape town, if you need to stop anywhere after Cape Town, this time you don't have to think twice if you have to make more stops for any reason at all. Also you don't have to end your voyage into Cabo, you can come home to SOCAL.
    Sail on, stay safe and dry.

    Old salty USN(Ret)

  143. I have been following your blog since I read about it in the news. First I am amazed at your will to do it. Keep it going. Fear and worry are things which always happen, just pass them by and keep moving do not let them stall you.

    Mr.K from CA

  144. Wow! I just stumbled on this blog and am now going to follow you. What a great challenge you are taking on. I admire your strength and determination. Glad you figured out how to fix that autopilot! Best wishes for more happy sailing.

  145. abby
    as a thought how about fitting the boat with an old fashioned wind vane auto stearing device. They work and are easy to fix! also you could put the boat in "irons" overnight for a little rest if necessary!
    Looking forward to your new adventures. Be safe!

  146. Stock up on chocolate and eat your fill of fresh fruit while in Cape Town! :^)

  147. I am so sorry for you that you are having to change your plans. That had to be a tough decision. It is better to error on the side of safety though. Ignore any of the negativity. Most people never do anything great in their entire lives. You are doing amazing things before you are even "of age". Keep up the great work, enjoy the journey and keep dreaming of big things! Your awesome!

  148. Dear Abby, We have been following your adventures and praying for your safe passage. We enjoy getting out on the Chesapeake Bay around here, but can't imagine what it must be like where you are and doing the things that you are doing! Great job fixing things on the fly!! As I tell my children before they go out, "Be Safe, Be Smart and Have Fun".
    Take care and God Bless,
    A Silver Spring Family

  149. Well written, Abby. :)

    Proud of you.

    I'm praying that you'll have a quick turn-around once you reach Cape Town, but that all that needs to be done will be done well and will last you for the rest of your trip.

  150. Abby, we will continue to look forward to your blogs--you go girl..we are proud of you. Kitten idea sounds great--except kitty litter changes may not be fun in 20foot swells...

  151. Hey Abby,

    Glad you got your auto pilot fixed for now. I vote for your little sister bringing a kitty to you in Cape Town. Cats are great sailors (rig up gimballed cat box inside hanging canvas bag).

    Stay safe, God be with you!!

    Nina from, MdR

  152. 04-27-10 @ 13:20
    Hi Abby,
    And how are you doing today young lady????? I hope that everything is going well and holding together for you. You’ve had your share of ups and downs lately and you didn’t falter not one iota. Good for you.
    I hope you accomplish all the things that you have listed on your “to do” list. How about a little something special for “Abby”, I think that would be neat and you definitely deserve it. Yes indeedy!!!!!! I’m praying for good results on your repairs, and that you enjoy your (short??) stay at Cape Town.
    Take good care of all and keep up your positive attitude.
    May God hold you in the palm of His hand and may the Angels keep your sails full, and I, I will be praying for you.
    Your faithful friend, fan and follower.
    Michael (75) from Kingwood, WV

  153. i think you are really smart in wanting a kitty!

  154. Trina and Nivram from Ventura, Ca.
    You and Jessica are both unique in your own way. A role model indeed for all ages. Humility and perseverance coupled with strenght and ingenuity, you both will overcome the forces of nature. Your skill and positive attitude are bringing you your success in your solo trip around the world and throughout your life. Hope no more problems come your way after the autopilot and Wild Eyes will bring you home safely.
    We've been following your journey since day one and love to read your blogs and comments from fellow bloggers. However, this is my second blog for you.
    You're so young yet so full of wisdom. Keep smiling and our prayers be with you for your safe sailing back to Ca. God Speed.
    Trina and Nivram

  155. Hello from Seattle,
    I'm proud of your attitude and the comment about sharing titles with Jesse. What a generous and adult way to look at the whole race.
    Stay Safe and keep blogging,
    Linnea and "Fair Lady"

  156. Go Abby Go!!!!
    We chart your miles everyday in math class and our favorite time is visiting your site. You sure are brave and kudos for you cheering on Jess!
    Go Abby Go!
    ~RV Gang

  157. I am pretty sure that give up or quit are NOT words in your vocabulary. You have shown incredible strength and tenacity. You have made not only the correct choice but the most responsible choice by going into Cape Town. Anyone that can spend the hours you have rolling around at sea in small places, rewiring and trouble shooting time and time again, and without one complaint, that's someone to admire. And to think you did without even someone to hold the flashlight or hand you the tools. You are already a winner, you are out there living a dream, how many people can say that. Think of you everyday! Hugs Gail S/V Sea Witch

  158. Abby,
    Definitely take on the kitten and LOTS of kitten chow! Of course if it turns out this was really the only problem with the A/P that it needed to be rebooted (the solution to most computer problems!) you could just wave at your dad and keep going. Why stop if you don't have to? You could always stop in Oz if it started giving you grief again...or reboot!

  159. Abby: Greetings! Great job! May the Lord continue to Bless yoU!! We're praising Him for His faithfulness!
    What's the latest? Is the thing still working?
    Im so PROUD of you, my heroine!
    Thanks for keeping us updated. Where are you sending the photos? is it possible for us to accress them?

    OH, about the kitten...are they not prone to sea-sickness? Just wondering....

    Have a GReAT GOD_BLESSED DAY! Write again very soon! You have not idea how we wait for a word!
    ps: I dont know if you're even reading these, but oh well, we'll keep sending them.

    Ron in Colo

  160. Hello Abby!
    Congratulations on being not only an ambitious, adventuresome and courageous young lady, but also a very level-headed one! Though I rarely comment on blogs, yours has caught up with me and I would like to wish you well. It might be sometimes difficult to ignore some of the ridiculous comments, they are expected...when you raise your head above the crowd, someone is likely to take a shot at you. People are funny. Mostly, I believe that they envy your courage and spirit and find that they don't measure up themselves. Keep blogging - it is a way to define your moments and keep the rest of us enchanted with your quest! ---Christine from Florida

  161. Monday's edition of USA TODAY reported you were quiting, claiming your 4/24 blog entry indicated so. Wow, how could they get it so wrong?

    Keep up the good work Abby!

  162. You may be disappointed and frustrated for a short time but your decision to stop and make repairs is smart and mature.
    I hope Coursemaster Autopilot from Australia sends new equipment and a technician to help you and your Dad make repairs.
    Enjoy a hot shower. Take on food and other supplies and continue your journey knowing we all admire you.
    Paul in Ventura,CA.

  163. Can you construct a self-steering windvane? Seems you got half of it built already with these strings set up. Can you attach it to the boom and let the entire mainsail and boom act as the actually windvane? How about the wind generator? You got the mount, you got the pivoting head, bold the emergency till up there as the wind vane and attach the strings or make it ropes and let that direct the tiller.

    I have no clue about any of this :-) it just seems you got the components in place to create something. Or not?

    Can any of the xpert sailors comment???

  164. I'd love to see Abby complete this without stopping :-( there has to be a solution :-) what about even ripping out that stupid hydraulic, bolting it directly to the tiller, and making a tiller pilot. Dumb down the whole autopilot thing, and make shift something simpler directly. I recall you guys close with the monitor windvane people, canb't the come up with a solution on the fly. Using the boom and main sail as a windvane, or the wind generator linked to the tiller or something?? Anything??? There are always solutions to any problem.

    THINK PEOPLE THINK!!! :-))))

  165. Hey Abby, I hope that auto pilot of yours worked enough so you could catch some zzzzzz's. Your doing great Abby, just think in 1150 more miles ...a nice shower..a great meal and good friends and family will be waiting..keep that chin held high..but not to high you'll hit your head on the boom!..:) Take care gor now

    Bob from Boston

  166. So I know you get to talk to the fam & everyone on the team pretty frequently, but I bet you don't get to gossip about daily news, do ya?

    Well, that just may have to be my job then. I am going to attempt to give you a few news clips so when you get back to the English speaking world, your not totally outta the loop.

    Let's see.....
    ~Bret Michaels is in ICU due to a brain hemorrhage, lots of speculation as to why, but no real answer yet.
    ~Soon, YOU TOO can have your own Twilight engagement ring! Do you even really care, though? Well if so, it's about 2k bucks for a look alike ring from the movie...
    ~Good news, the DOT has enacted a "3 hour law" designed to prevent planes on domestic routes from sitting on the tarmac for more than three hours with passengers on board (w/fines of up to $27,500 per passenger)!
    ~And something that may be useful for you and your crew once you hit S. Africa, BE CAREFUL of BABOONS!! Apparently they are running rampant in the streets of Cape Town, and causing quite a bit of damage. They're in search of food sadly, they have been kick out of their homes due to development. Sad, but this is life.

    Anyways Abby, hope this gives you something else to read since that Kindle went down. (If you raise enough hell, Amazon may just send you a new set all together! Who knows, you could be a Kindle spokes-girl)


  167. Abby, make sure you have a cat carrier that you can hang to minimize the motion in case things get rough...and yes, lots of dry kitten chow! You may even find it tasty to share with your little friend!

  168. You go GiRL! but careful w/ cat idea.... you never know if a flying fish will snack on it.

  169. Windvane people:

    Abby has said, about a thousand times, that a windvane doesn't work with an open 40; she has to use an autopilot.

    I know that you mean well and are just trying to help.

  170. Abby-
    I saw your story on yahoo and since have been reading your blog. I think you are a very strong person and wish you the best of luck. I'm glad that you know when you need help and don't listen to anyone who tells you to stop. Good luck.


  171. ABBY,you have all our support.
    your a 16 year old girl going around the world.
    who cares about stopping.your a true young sailer and Captain.Stop all you and Jess are the two best lil sailer i know and you are a HERO.Go girl get your boat fixed and be safe then sail the world.
    We all love safe,your friends Robert,Ellen,Alison and Autumn
    May the Good Lord be at your side to the end.
    From North Carolina

  172. I would advise you again to rethink your decision. All great and historic voyages have had setbacks and seemingly irresolvable problems. Soldier through. There is really nothing that is forcing you to stop at Capetown. Your battle, to date, is mental and emotional.

  173. A kitten has potential but mustn't let it fall overboard!

  174. Hello Abby,
    I admire your pluck! Congratulations on your perseverance and finally getting the auto pilot to work and I am willing it, to keep on working, at least to Cape Town.
    And your non competitive spirit towards Jessica is admirable!
    You both follow your own dreams and that is right for each of you, exactly as it is happening! There is room for every expression of dreams to follow, on the face of this planet.
    Way to go Abby,
    my thoughts of support and good wishes of safety and cheer are with you,
    Trudy, Austria/Australia

  175. Hi Abby,
    I have been off line while driving my motorhome from Tucson (wintered there from SD) to Port Aransas TX. Gosh I am so sorry to hear that a mechanical failure is going to cause you to change your original goals. However, I know you wanted to go non-stop, but from a life experience perspective, I think it is great that you can now stop at ports-of-call along the way. You are also right that it even works out for the better for both you and Jessica. Hey, I think you should stop in Sydney to say hello to her.....gosh that would be a hoot to say the least!
    Please stay safe and alert and enjoy Cape Town!
    Just remember God's plan is ALWAYS the perfect plan.
    God Bless you.

  176. Re: Jury rig autopilot ideas - I'm certain Grant will find the topic too tempting to resist, so I'll just settle with the observation that, while sailors are accustom to rigging up temporary fixes for broken gear, Abby's life depends on THIS fix.

    Sailing on the open ocean, in the best of weather, is living side by side with superior forces. Water, in itself, is heavy and waves carry tremendous force. The wind puts constant strain on the boats rigging; both standing, and the running rigging that is used to handle sails.

    Abby's Open 40 is the equivalent of a high strung thoroughbred horse; agile, fast and temperamental. In anything above about 20 kts, tight control of the helm is essential...not necessarily to continuing in the exact direction (there are, after all no curbs to hit out there) but, the control is critical to prevent accidental gybes and, while sailing deep in heavy seas, to prevent potential pitch poling of the boat as it surfs down the face of one wave and rises on the back of the next.

    Hand steering in these conditions is exhausting, and usually only done by racing crews in short watches, perhaps an hour at the helm and an hour off. Abby's AP system, in whatever configuration, has to be reliable enough for her to trust that system will not fail (even for a 10 seconds in some conditions) AND be robust enough for her to depend on when she is too tired to steer.

    A cobbled together system of "strings" and sails as wind vanes might well be enough to get her safely to Cape Town but not the stuff to get her the rest of the way around the world.

    As Grant recently alluded to, Abby is still taking about continuing on east from Cape Town, into the Southern Ocean as Fall approaches and, depending on other gear issues, might not get out of the Southern Ocean until early winter (early summer in the north latitudes).

    She will very likely face some serious weather in the weeks ahead. She should not do that with a jury rigged AP system.

    Consider this: Her proposed route (on her web site) estimates the distance to travel from Cape Town to her way point east of the South Island NZ to be roughly 6,400 miles. That same route estimate travel time, is approx 50 days. If we are generous and say she is able to leave Cape Town by May 7th, AND she makes her estimated mileage, she is off South Island NZ 7 weeks later.

    The sun rises in Dunedin, NZ (north of her proposed track) at 8:20 AM and sets a mere 8 hr 39 minutes later at 4:59 in the afternoon.

    Aside from a whole lot of other things, Abby needs a AP system that she can not only rely on, but trust with her life while sailing most of any 24 hr period in the cold and dark of the Southern Ocean near the winter solstice.

    Such a system is not going to be cobbled together on her way to Cape Town.

    That's my two cents; your mileage will vary.

    Steve in California

  177. Something tells me that this is only the First of many more Firsts for you, Abby! Godspeed and good luck - the world is cheering you on!
    Erin - Calgary, Canada

  178. Abby, bad luck about the breakdown but very mature of you to side with safety. Hope it hangs in for you until Cape Town. Regards from Oz, Alan and Lena

  179. The ol' Reboot did it, then? I wonder if there is a way to flash the bios on that thing so you can reboot without all the manual setup involved.

  180. Well I hope you take at least 4 new autopilots and hydraulic drives. 2 new installed, and 2 complete system spares. In fact make it 5 total!

    If I remember correctly there some cousins in Cape Town, from Mom's side? At least you get to me the cuz :-)

  181. Hi Abby... It was so good to almost "hear" the smile in your voice in this post! It's amazing how much better we feel once we make a decision, whether it's one we want to make or not. Better safe than sorry, as they say. Never mind the records, we all just want you to complete your voyage, enjoy the journey, and get back home SAFE! Sail safe and stay clipped!

    Marie from WA St.

  182. HI ABBY, still following you and reading your updates. You certainly have courage and I do wish you well with you continued journey.

    Lynne (Picton, NZ)

  183. Hung from Hong KongApril 27, 2010 at 10:29 PM

    Hi Abby,

    It is a silver lining of the playing up of the auto-pilot that we now have more inter-communications between the Jessican and Abbigan tribes. Many Jessicans who use to follow your blog but not writing comments have started writing on both platforms. It makes this unique world family more enriching and inclusive. One thing I have noted is that the Jessicans have a lot more internal communications to mug around for a light joke on each others. Quoted are some examples, and I hope this will become a contagious stuff changing the dynamic of the Abbigans sooner and later.

    @William Buckley, 28Apr 0153 : Thanks for the word of wisdom. I know Steve Bradbury. And I understand the Aussie slang means
    “an accidental win or unexpected or unusual success.” But I don’t understand if you are referring to me being the first blogger once, or you are referring to Jesse’s current fight with the extreme situation that a win is unlikely. Nag, I don’t think it is the latter one. Anyhow, nice to have your thought on me for a moment. It makes our Jessicans chat more intimate and interesting.

    @stevep 27Apr 2206, How do you know I am actually an Australian despite I keep calling myself Hung from Hong Kong? My last blog on 27Apr 0931 meant to clarify with you a possible misunderstanding of my position on the rivalry issue. I actually have posted several blogs in both the Jesse and Abby blog sites stressing that both young ladies have never entered into a competition with each others. That’s why I said in Apr 27 02:54 “While I am trying to defuse the unnecessary rivalry between Jesse and Abby for the record of youngest solo circumnavigator” The fact is, all those blogs were posted in Abby’s blog but got blocked in Jesse’s blog. Thus it appears that my position is not clear enough leading to your kind words reiterating records are not important. Sorry for the long winding. But your genuine concern is appreciated.

    @ConFuseUs 27 Apr 21:42 I never thought my name has caught your attention. How well do you know me, or even have a picture of me? What do you want to tell Stevep? You are a mysterious person quoting always profound statement like Confucius Would appreciate your further enlighting teaching, my Master.

    @Magpie 27 Apr 20:38 you did have hanged(or hung ) me. That is why I have to introduce myself as “Hung from Hong Kong” so that I won’t be hanged. But my Chinglish could not escape your sharp eyes. So I have to come clean to every one that I am a Hong Kong Australian in Brisbane. I call Australian home but still proud of my culture of origin. The world will be better with people having got world vision rather than nationalistic view though it is a necessary evil to fuel patriotism.

    Sorry Jesse and all Jessicans or Jessaholics clans for stealing the shows. Let us refocus on praying for Jesse to conquer the next liquid mountains.


    Abby, our thought are always with you as long as you stay safe for the long haul

    Hung from Hong Kong

  184. om nom nom nom nomApril 28, 2010 at 4:18 AM

    Hi Abby & followers
    Like others tracking Abby's & Jessica's blogs, I'm interested in the cross-posting, and the growing band of followers. Have these girls created a new phenomena - a world-wide community of land-lubber admirers, who on Jessica's blog, at least, are already bewailing that they'll have withdrawal symptoms when Jessica's journey ends; everyone wants the story to continue! Abby, you can take as long as you like to sail around the seas, and we'll be with you all the way, as you tell us couch potatoes locked in skyscrapers and traffic snarls what a wonderful world is out there ... if only we had the courage to come out there and enjoy it with you.

  185. Doug and Debbie Odom, Greenbrier, ARApril 28, 2010 at 6:46 AM

    Congratulations, girl, on gettin that autopilot fixed and running again. You can now take a little break! And, who cares? Whether your trip is assisted, unassisted, non-stop, stop, it doesn't matter. You th' woman! Go girl!

  186. Abby,
    We are with you all the way. You are doing great!
    God bless you!


  188. Abby,

    I wouldn't worry about record-attempts or what some people might say. What you're doing takes a lot of guts. Enjoy the experience!

    Best of Luck,

  189. No problem stopping in Capetown, fresh food will be a pleasant change from Mountain House!

    I would forget your sister and a kitten, though. Your sister would ruin your solo trip, and kittens don't travel alone, they have certain needs, food, toys, litter boxes. A spilled litter box would be a mess! Never mind storing the used kitty litter until you get home..... I'm sure the shelter in T.O. would be happy to let you have a kitten or two when you get home.

    Have fun in Capetown, hope it doesn't take too long to do the repairs.

  190. Great spirit Abby! Please run for U.S. president the moment you turn 35. This country needs someone like you (of which there are so very few).

  191. Abby,
    Keep up the good work. Sailing around the world is a hard thing to do. You have to expect that there will ne some problems, as you probablu know. You seem very mature for your age. We are all with you in spirit and know that you will make it. CAZ

  192. Awesome blog! Keep up the good work

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