Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Tale from the Sea

Hey everyone,
Sorry it has been so long since I wrote. There were some problems with one of the Inmarsat satellites and so I wasn't able to get online. That's all sorted out now though and hopefully won't happen again.

I have had a pretty busy past few days. Things went well getting out of Cape Town - everything was working well and I was having a lot of fun with my new auto pilot. I've been able to carry a lot more sail with the working auto pilot and making some pretty good speeds.

A few days ago (I'm sorry I don't know exactly how long - the days started to blur together after awhile). I was sailing along nicely doing about 12-15 knots in perfect conditions. The wind started to pick up just as it was getting dark and was a bit too much for the sail I had up, so I went out to reef, but the sail wouldn't come down. After a while I realized it was stuck on the top spreaders.

There was a line on the top of the sail meant to help when pulling it down so I don't have to climb all over the boom. While I was in Cape Town I think someone may have messed around with it a bit. I had never had trouble with it before. The wind was starting to pick up even more and it seemed like the only thing to fix it was go up the mast. I called one of the guys from my team just to run everything by him. Well, nobody was too excited about the idea of me going up the mast in over 30 knots but there was no doubt that it would have to be done to free that line. While the team went to check the weather forecast for a break in the conditions I went down below and dug out my boson's chair, helmet, padded suit and all the gear I needed to pull myself up the mast.

Back out on deck it was dark out now and Wild Eyes was almost heeled all the way over on her side with the auto pilot struggling to keep her on course. Eventually, the autopilot couldn't handle it though. I had to get Wild Eyes hove to. It was too dark to see anything and my little flashlight wasn't much help. With Wild Eyes headed just off the wind and riding the waves it was still a pretty wild ride. The seas seemed to have no backs to them and Wild Eyes would plow up and through the waves and seemed to fly through the air before crashing back into the sea.

It wasn't all that easy keeping myself on board while trying to get the spinnaker halyard down and get my bosun's chair hooked up. I was trying to think positively. In general things like this wouldn't have scared me, but I couldn't help thinking how I was going to get myself almost to the top of the mast when I couldn't see what I was doing and was having a difficult time just standing on deck. I kept telling myself worrying wasn't going to do any good. I had enough to focus on in front of me without getting bent out of shape over going up a mast I had been up hundreds of times before.

As I pulled up the halyard it kept getting stuck on everything because of the wild motions of the boat. If I couldn't get it up with out it getting stuck then it would definitely get stuck when I was trying to let myself down and this was not a good night to get stuck at the top of a mast, not that any night is.

I like going up the mast and I like heavy wind, but going up the mast when it is pitch black, when it's gusting well over 30 knots and wave after wave is breaking over the whole boat, well, that's just a bit much. I wasn't going to be going up the mast, at least not that way. I still had the back up main halyard so I went out to the end of the boom were it was clipped on and started getting that ready. It was wrapped around something but I couldn't see what. I tried to get it untangled, but not being able to see what it was tangled around I was just getting it tangled even worse. That was the only other way for me to get up the mast. I needed to get it untangled. I couldn't see that high up with my flashlight no matter how hard I tried. It was maddening.

I needed to get up there but I couldn't. I had done just about everything I possibly could, but I was at a dead end. I was completely out of ideas and beginning to get more scared that I couldn't do anything about it than I had been about going up the mast in the first place.

I called Jeff from my team again and told him I was stuck for ideas. He said that the weather was going to get better the next day and that I should wait until daylight to take a better look at things. I spent the night sitting up at the chart desk. There was no point in trying to sleep. I knew that I wouldn't have been able to.

The next day the wind started to lighten, not much but enough that I could sail with my main where it was. It was still a bit rough out but if I could sail I could get somewhere with lighter wind and get up the mast safely. I was just headed out to set things up outside when I heard something hit the hull. I jumped outside to see what it was. My bowsprit was hanging in the water attached by one line on the bottom of the boat. Hanging down off the front of the boat, I could almost reach the line, waiting for the boat to rock so I could pull it up. The boat did rock, a little more then I had hoped for and I had to pull myself back up to keep from falling in. I dug out my boat hook and gave that a try. It was still almost impossible to get the line up high enough that I didn't have to hang down off the side. It seemed like everytime I got the line up on deck a wave would hit and I would have to hold on, dropping the line of course, then having to start all over again on cutting the line. It took a good long time, but eventually I was able to cut through the line. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get it back on board. Fortunately, I only use it with my Code Zero that I only use in very light wind so the loss wasn't too serious.

This blog is starting to get pretty long so I'll hurry things up a bit. I spent that day and night sailing towards a spot where there was some lighter wind, still not ideal for going up the mast alone, but out here you can't be too picky about that sort of thing.

I was on the phone with my mom the next morning, just giving her my position and letting her know what was going on. The Iridium phone had been having awful reception down here and so I went outside hoping to get a better signal. I was looking around at things out there and saw that the line didn't look like it was stuck any more. I set the phone down and went to let the main down. It came sliding right down just as fast as it usually does. I picked the phone back up, told my mom and quickly got off so I could get the line off the sail before it got stuck on something else. I got the line off and my main back up and changed course heading back south into the stronger winds.

It was an incredible relief. I just sat on the side of the boat watching as the sun started to come up. It had been an interesting past few days. I would have been very happy if none of that had happened, but, it's gonna make a great chapter in the book!!

Today, I have a good 25-30 knots with the auto pilot working perfectly and making a steady 10 knots on course eastward. I have had a good night's sleep and am feeling happy again to be out here doing what I love!


  1. Oh Abby,

    Thank God you are okay. What a scary situation for you. You are such a courageous and capable young lady/captain.

    You are in my prayers daily. God bless you and keep you safe, sweet Abby.

    Clare, Spokane, WA, USA

  2. Wow!! What an adventure! Praise the Lord it came undone so you didn't have to go up. : )

  3. Another experience, another tick.
    Well done Abby,
    sail on!
    best wishes

  4. Holy cow, Abby. Once again you have astounded me. You are one cool cookie and I am proud of you. Please continue to take care...
    John & Darlene
    Kerrville, TX

  5. Thanks Abby for this detailed update..Being a sailor (retired) myself.. I felt what you were experiencing. It brought back a lot of memories...
    This is indeed another step of boating experience one can only learn (unfortunately) the hard way.. You handled it very well...
    It is amazing the forces the mast rigging will endure..
    Stay focused and one hand for you and one hand for the boat and keep up the good work..

    Godspeed Skipper....

  6. Abby, you amaze me more every time I read your blog! You continue to be in my prayers, hopefully things will go little easier for you now.

  7. WOW Abby, you are amazing. I was getting worried since you had not posted anything for a few days, then I read the post about the satellite problem. I am checking your blog every day and will be following you for the rest of your journey!

  8. Well, I'm kinda speechless. But, That's some adventure you're having Abby! Wow. I really can't imagine going up the mast in the open sea and wind. Whew!! Hang in (er, on) there. Enjoy all you can.
    39*50'N, 86*9'W

  9. Nice job !

    The only times I've ever been injured worth talking about were those times when I needed to do something important that should properly have been done under better circumstances. Things like crawling into a fresh water tank in the double bottom of a decidedly old Navy ship to pound a lead plug in the hole where a rivet had worked it's way out. Bad idea all the way 'round, doing that at sea, but waiting until the ship was in port involved running short on fresh water, which is almost as bad an idea. Long story shortened : I'm 6'2", and got stuck three frames away from the manhole. Major panic attack because there was no way for anyone to cut another hole where I was - which was under the main engine's reduction gear. Obliviously I got unstuck, accomplished through permanent injury to my left knee. Ever since that misadventure I've had claustrophobia of the worst sort, and 40-odd years later I sometimes have to go outside the house to stop anxiety attacks when the walls start closing in on me. I've slept many nights on the rear porch when I couldn't even think about going back inside the house.

    If you can avoid doing something you know you really shouldn't do at the moment, don't do it unless not doing it means you'll probably being climbing in the Gumby suit.

    Having blathered all that, it strikes me that since Wild Eyes was built Down Under, and that since you might have one or two acquaintances in Oz, stopping by to snag a new bowsprit might not be such an awful thing.

    Working your way back up through the sundry Pacific islands will likely involve days and days of maddeningly light winds, so an afternoon in Brisbane might make for a nice break before tackling the Pacific.

    Code Zero might still come in handy, whaddaya think ?

    FWIW, from an old Shellback to one of the newest.

    Fair winds young lady.

    Fred McClellan
    USN (Ret)
    Marietta GA

  10. Way to go champ. We are proud of you again.

  11. Abby:
    GO GIRL GO!!!

    You are an amazing young lady. Most people would have either done something stupid straight away or gone into the panic mode and then they would have done something really stupid. You looked at the situation at every turn and then did the smart thing. GREAT JOB!!!! Now you have the excitement chapter for your book. It maybe time to just do some nice, calm, easy sailing for a while. I realize that the easy sail does not have the sales potential but...

    I think that you are doing a great job and doing a smart job also. You have wisdom and fortitude well beyond your years.

    Please keep smiling and be safe.

    GO GIRL GO!!!!

    John R Willis

  12. Water started to swell in my mouth, nails dug in, eyes couldn't move fast enough to see what you were going to do or experience next and I had to be peeled off the ceiling until you brought me safely back to my seat and into reality.

    I like the way you step outside your intrapersonal self and retell your experience.

    Am I understanding that you lost Wild Eyes's bowsprit? I'm trying to visualize what was pulled up.

    Oh Abby I'm glad you were able to keep yourself aboard through all this. How many guardian angels can you account for? a plethora.....

    How ya doing, mom?

  13. Yeah, Skipper, it will be a terrific chapter. As a sailor, I can appreciate how you felt, to some extent. What at desperate, almost helpless, feeling it must have been. Seems like you handled everything very well though. If I am understanding correctly, the bowsprit has been deep-sixed. Oh well, not too big a loss as long as the forestay remains undamaged. These past few days are, I suppose, what sailing the southern ocean is all about. My guess is that you would not trade the experience for a million bucks, but would not pay a cent to do it again. Hopefully, you have the halyards all sorted out now, presumably, the spreaders are OK too. Its very fortunate that you were not forced to go up that mast in those conditions.

    Abby, PLEASE have your team do something about the map. We really have no idea where you are right now. The last map position shown is for Sunday, and it does not seem to correspond with the position you wrote about.

    An adventure is one thing, Abby, but I think you have had enough thrills for a while. Sail safe, girl.

    Steve L from Modesto

  14. Abby:
    Wow, exciting times for you. What an adventure! You are in my thoughts always. The spirit of Brasil is with you. I'm glad your back on your way. Big love.

  15. Today's Inspirational Quote:

    "There is no such thing in anyone's life as an
    unimportant day."

    -- Alexander Woollcott

  16. Wow! I don't know all those terms to know exactly what was going on, but I can tell it was stressful!

  17. Just a quick question I've been wondering about: Do you ever see any whales or dolphins?

  18. Well done Abby, you had us all worried there for a while. Hanging from the masthead in the pitch darkness with high winds and heavy seas is something we can visualize...thank goodness you did not actually have to do that and the situation is now resolved.:-)

    Stay safe...
    John in Northern Ontario, Canada

  19. Wow - I think I aged a few years just reading your enrty! For the holidays I think I'll send you a write anywhere space pen and a waterproof mag lite! Stay Safe!!

  20. Well, well, Capt'n Abolone (term of affection... There you go making memories and gathering material for your book. Glad to hear all is well. Now be careful, stay focused and buckle up for your next adveture 'cause, you can be sure its comin'!!

    Capt'n Mudgie
    Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA

  21. What an amazing story.

    You be careful girl! There's no second chances out there alone on the ocean.

    Praise God you made it through that ordeal and are okay.

  22. Nothing like a little adventure to spice up the adventure! Good work, Abby! Good decisions, and thank God for a good team to back you up!
    Tray M.

  23. Wow Abby! A hair-raising entry in your blog, I must say!!! I laughed a few times in the reading, but I think it may have been as much from relief as from the way you tell your story! Take care Abby. Have fun, be safe. ROCK ON!
    Kevin, Aiken, SC

  24. I don't know Ab...I think a good flashlight would be a necessity for sailing around the world. not that it will help you now, but I recently ordered one from this website. it's super small and super bright, and it's titanium.

  25. What a tripp! I was thinking the whole time, no way, don't try to go up the mast when it's pitch black, 30 knots of wind and Wild Eyes is heeled over. Forget that! How can you climb the mast when it's nearly horizontal?

    Anyway, glad you've still with us.

  26. Abby - you will carry this adventure into your future life - a monumental
    achievement with God alongside you. Keep your faith tightly would around you. There will be no stopping you now!

    Bravo Zulu!

    CDR USNR (ret)

  27. Abby,
    You are obviously WAY too busy to answer student's questions, but maybe your Mom could give it a go sometime. Thank you!
    Mrs. Toller

  28. Happy ending. Doing that stuff in the dark is bad

  29. Hey Skipper Abby,

    WOW! Great chapter in your book is an understatement. I was absolutely gripped by tension and so very concerned for your safety. I couldn't even reason that, wait a minute, Abby lived to blog about it so there must have been an OK resolution. I'm so relieved you are OK.

    You demonstrated amazing poise under HUGE pressure. Way to go, girl. Maybe you can take it easy for while - my nerves can't handle anything more than that right now. Know that there are many many souls with you. Big congratulations. Big love. Big admiration. Tony

  30. Thanks Abby.
    Well done.
    Keep up those good spirits.
    You are wonderful.
    God is caring for you.
    Love. ♥
    Richard (QLD) Aus

  31. Route Tracking
    Whats with this? The system used from the start to Cape Town worked great why change it. Now we can't follow Abby and know where she at. Not to fond of this tracking system last update was Sunday the 23rd.

  32. Abby,
    You're wise and resourceful beyond your years,and one tough young lady!Keep your head about you and you'll be just fine.
    Doug from Ohio

  33. Ahoy...CAPTAIN Abigail,

    Abby...due to your outstanding efforts of late we are promoting you to ADMIRAL immediately! You will be happy to know that there will be an increase in your daily allowance but unfortunately a large deduction right away for "MISSING EQUIPMENT".

    Abby....I have done enough night sailing/racing on Lake Ontario to appreciate what you have written about so well. But to be alone and handle the situation so are one in a million. I love the line "It was an incredible relief. I just sat on the side of the boat watching as the sun started to come up". You will always remember that moment. And I am glad to hear you are feeling happy again to be out there doing what you love.

    If you will allow me Abs I want to redirect a question to a new friend of yours just in case he missed it earlier:

    @TOM CAPE TOWN...Tom...Commenting in "Quick Update" yesterday you mentioned rigger Allen Blunt and I remember Allen "up the mast" on the blog Dec.14/09 (photo) and with Abby Dec. 24/09 (photo)....just wondering if you are a "rigger" yourself? And you were an "EYES" witness to Abby's departure do you recall seeing any of the following on board: a kitten, Little sister Katherine, Little brother Toby in the bilge, hamburgers and fries or a HAIR BRUSH? (inquiring minds need to know Tom...ha ha!) Tom...thousands of us call ourselves "followers" but YOU having followed Abby in person by boat and air are to be envied...lucky guy!

    @ Marie (WA ST.) ...thanks.
    @ Fred McClellan USN (Ret)...incredible story.

    Abs...have a great day surfing eastward,
    john, Bay of Quinte on Lake Ontario,Canada

  34. WOW! Just ... WOW. Be careful out there.

    And good luck. You're due for a nice long stretch of it.

  35. Abby,

    That WAS an entire chapter of your book. You must still be recovering from that long episode. Many years ago, I had an experience off the coast of Washington on my commercial fishing boat with lines getting tangled at the top of the mast which prevented me from lowering my outrigger poles and utilizing my stabilizers. I made it only about half way up the mast before deciding that the weather conditions were just too bad to go up. It made for a long, very uncomfortable night. That didn’t even begin to compare with what you went through, but it sure gives me a huge respect for what you had to deal with. Climbing the mast at night, in those conditions should be the absolute last resort. I’m sure relieved that you didn’t have to climb it. You did a fantastic job of dealing with the situation, Abby. Please take care of yourself and stay safe.

    From Seattle, WA, USA

  36. Abby, I am always concerned when we don't hear from you for a while and now I know why! My goodness, what an adventure and thank goodness you emerged almost unscathed. The good thing is that as soon as your blog comes in, we know you are all right and can settle back to experience and enjoy (if that is the right word!) the ride with you. Stay safe till next time. Jana F, Auckland, NZ

  37. Wow, Abby, that was a nail-biter for sure!! I am SO relieved that everything worked out alright. Way to keep your wits about you!!! I have no doubt that you can handle anything that comes your way on the rest of the voyage. Please take good care of yourself. And, Marianne, I hope you are feeling alright and that the pregnancy is going well. Any updates you can share? (Boy? girl? When you are due?)
    --Sue McGah
    Laguna Niguel, CA

  38. Great videos and photos, dearest Abby, and this is such an interesting post.
    The wisdom and knowledge that God has given you
    in times like these reigns supreme, and He watches over you always.
    Thanks again for allowing us to share in your wonderful adventure as you get closer to becoming the youngest solo circumnavigator.
    You are our Jewel of the Sea, and your exciting journey is bringing your family, friends, Team, and all of us bloggers together in prayer and anticipation for your and Wild Eyes' beautiful finish!

    Sail on, Abby and Wild Eyes, sail on

    Love and prayers from North Carolina

  39. Anybody who thought that this was going to be a little pussycat stroll through the park has just been disabused by your post.

    You have the heart of a lioness and that is what is required to do what you have undertaken. Never in this life will anyone ever doubt your courage or your skill or your mind. Of course you had to go up the mast in the dark, in a roiling sea, and you cut right to that and did not hesitate one second. Few will experience such defining moments and fewer still will toss it off with such bravery and elan.

  40. Wow!!!
    I love that story! What is it like at night when you can't see anything beyond your boat? You must just get used to it. It must sound peaceful though with just the sound of the crashing waves.
    Alyssa from Irvine, CA

  41. You are such an inspiration. The nonchalant way you explain situations that would make me puke - you are unbelievable. May the blessings of all creation be with you.

  42. 05-28-10 @ 02:08
    Hi Abby,
    WOW, that was one hell of a story, Thank God you came out of it unscathed, it seems like everything that could go wrong to prevent you from fixing the sail did. And naturally it couldn’t happen in the daylight. I’m a firm believer in ‘everything happens for a reason’ but I don’t see any reasoning here. Unless the fact that you weren’t able to go up the mast. Hmmm??? With the water being that rough I’m glad that you didn’t succeed in going up. Sorry that you had to go through all that but glad that you used your head and waited until daylight.
    I’m glad to see that the A/P is working well and that you can add more sail and get more speed up.
    So, it looks like you did have a better day with some good wind and “Wild Eyes” is running good for you again. Mercy!!!! Well I’m glad that you finally got some good rest and that you’re happy again, keep that chin up girl!!!! Take care Abby, and keep up the good work and I hope them kind of troubles are over with.
    May God hold you in the palm of His hand, 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

  43. WOW..!!! Had me on the edge of my seat. You did a GREAT JOB..!!! And you are quite a writer also. Keep us posted, and thanks again for bringing us with you. Sail safe, sail free...

    Keep on keepin' on.....

  44. 5/18/10 1:55 AM CDT
    Hi Abby, Wow! Your latest blog entry is a real thriller! I knew you were ok because you had been able to write it, but that didn't stop my heart from beating a whole lot faster as I read it. Am so very thankful that everything turned out well!

    Keep doing what you love --and stay alert, sail smart, sail safe!

    Janell in Oklahoma, USA

  45. Hmm, a good learning experience! Do you have a climbing harness? Or are you really relying on a bosuns chair? Relying on your little flashlight also sounds a bit odd. I sure hope you've got the right kit on board because you may actually have to go up the mast in desperate circumstances before this trip's done. You got away with it this time, but learn what you can from the experience. Why are you and your team not saying where you are?

  46. Simply Amazing. I am sitting here on the edge of my seat reading your blog. Good thing you didn't have to go up the mast in that wind. Keep a close eye on that rig to see what the problem with bring down that main may have been.

    Thank you for the update.

    Chuck D.

  47. Dear Abby:

    Good to know things turned out OK. Be careful out there. Yes, you're right, this will make a good chapter.

    All the best,
    Wayne Wild I. Moraga, CA

    what a Chapter in your Book!
    Thanks for the update ... like all of your Abby Bloggers,
    I have been on tender hocks awaiting an update!
    Brilliant results and experience ... I am sure your Mom and All are relieved.

    PS I am not using my Google ID anymore ... too much of me is already in their Data Base.

  49. Bonjour Abby & Wild Eyes,

    A tale of the sea?

    Abby please don't pull that kind of stunt again, OK? I'm sure you know a whole lot better...

    Back in Cape Town have you been reading Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler?? Your writing has the style, the rythm and the sounds of a regular 'private-sailor' going about her Abby Spade or Abby Marlowe hard-boiled adventure!!
    Great writing Abby, just fantastic! I'm surprised you didn't race after and catched your fish-thieve while doing all this! :-)

    Don't stay-up too late, you need your rest.

    Just great writing!

    Take care, Be safe.

  50. Peter Gold Coast AusMay 28, 2010 at 1:06 AM

    Well done Abby, I am an old sailor and I felt every moment with you.Just a word of advice, the old sailor's maxim " If you think it's time to reef the main then it is probably 30 minutes too late." Don't think its unbrave to reef when the weather is still pleasant. When you are on your own safety first.
    Keep up the good work, hope to see you when you pass Ozz. Peter Gold Coast Aus.

  51. Captain Abby,
    I too, had my heart in my stomach. So intense your situation was, but yes, God was for sure beside you.
    You book is one I will not fail to get. I love reading adventure books. I think I will also get Zac's book to read, while waiting yours.
    Sail safely and God speed.
    Dee Thompson, Santa Clarita, Ca.

  52. Abby,
    Bless your heart! What an experience.
    You are surely finding out what you are made of.
    You are showing good judgement and thinking skills.
    Easy does it. stay safe.
    All the Best!

  53. Abby.

    You are a better man than many men I know. Your mom and dad saw their little girl off at Marina Del Rey only to have you return a Woman.

    Should you like an internet diversion at your chart table you may enjoy the video posts of Sam Davies, a young lady single handing on a boat called Roxy, an open 60, during the Vendee Globe around the world race. You can find her on you tube and on the site

    You are a resourceful and intrepid young lady. Really look forward to your posts.

    Be safe.

  54. Hey Abby...Geepers creepers! You had one hell of a stressfull day with that stuck mast. I could'nt imagine having to climb that mast in 30 knots..yikes! I am so happy you did'nt have to climb it..and it unstuck itself..whew! It will make a good chapter in the book..:)
    I hope you get a relaxing day out there for a change..with everything working and going your way.

    Be safe...Bob from Boston

  55. Never did like going up the mast on my own. In 30 knots and pitch black, no way. Isn't it incredible how if one thing goes wrong the situation just seems to magnify. Anyhow I'm glad that you came out of that incident without having to go up the stick. You certainly have got guts girl.

  56. Dear Abby,

    I'm so happy that everything worked out well for you in the end. To read your blog was like being in an action film. Most of us who read your blog have no idea how the life can be out there.
    I maybe have mentioned it before. I have never been sailing. I also say, GO GIRL GO, sail safe, be strong. Look forward to your next info.
    Ingrid, Tyreso, Sweden

  57. Abby!!!! Please try not to do that again. lol. I was a nervous wreck reading your blog. Thank God you are okay. You are an amazing young lady and very skilled at what you do. I'm happy for that. I'm glad things worked out in the end. May the angels guide your way and God hold you in his hands. STAY CLIPPED ON. Love ya from Florida.

  58. Thank you Team Abby for updating the map.

  59. Abby, in a word, WOW!!! That is one of the most increditable sagas I've ever read. Any time you don't think God is with you, just remember those few marvelous days of your very young life, and say "Thank You, God". So happy to read your well, and keep up that great spirit. Norm :-> Sacramento, CA U.S.A.

  60. Good Lord Abbey, a man's heart can't take much of that kind of action. I was sweating bullets when I finished reading that "Tale From the Sea". I am gobsmacked that you don't have a high powered light that will light the sea up out there a mile. Probably a good item to put on your shopping list for when you get to your next stop, which you have not yet divulged by the way.

    For what it's worth, from a security standpoint, I don't think the world needs to know your exact position. All we really need to know is that you are safe, happy and flying along. An ETA to your next stop would be nice also.

    Keep safe and God Speed Abbey!

  61. Mate, when I said I would love to hear more of your adventures, I never thought you would have them so soon. And dont worry about long blogs that was the most exciting thing I have read for awhile. Take Care and keep that cool head. You are a wonder to behold girl. Love on your journey.
    Darwin NT

  62. WHEW! I say blame that on leaving on friday and now it's behind you. All is right with the world again :)

    You are amazing, I can't wait to read the book!

    Larry in Mississippi

  63. Great blog, I can't wait for the book!

  64. Girl, I am glad things worked out..omg... Hope things go better for you the rest of the way back!.

  65. Abby--
    You sailors are amazing!! What a crazy night!!
    Good luck on the rest of your trip.

  66. Hi Abby, book!!!!! I cant wait more, please? Steve the guy who has never been to an ocean. PS Im happy your alright!

  67. Dear Abby,

    I can't believe what I just read Abby!!!! It is hard even now to imagine you actually going through all of that and keeping it together! It felt like I was in a nightmare while I was reading your entry.

    I can only say are AMAZING! Words are difficult to select when describing how incredibly brave, smart, level-headed, fearless and YOUNG you really are! It is breath-taking at times when I remember your age Abby!

    I couldn't get my eyes to read fast enough once I started reading.......My heart rate went up and tears were brimming up in my eyes. I am so glad that you came through all of that okay!

    Wow! You continue to strike me as One-In-A-Million, and that you were put on this earth by God to inspire and teach all of us!

    Gosh, I wish I could just give you a big hug! I'm sure you probably needed one after all you just went through. I will be praying for you even more now Abby. Your guardian angels are definitely working overtime!

    Warm wishes from Kansas,

  68. After all that you have done and what you just went through, you can tackle just about anything.

    You are a very strong young woman and show a can do attitude. Good luck on the rest of teh trip, although you don't need luck, just good seas.

  69. Dude, you need a headlamp on that helmet. A nice bright one with a separate battery pack you can clip on that back or slip into your pocket. I have one for camping and going into the crawl space under the house. My husband wears a crazy bright one to go mountain biking in the evening. Where you look the light goes.

  70. You be careful out there Abby!!! Certainly the most dangerous part of your experience in solo sailing! Keep your wits about you and try to take as few chances as you can. You handled it well.
    Bob Starr

  71. Amazing. Good work and God speed.


  72. wow Abby great blogging that will make a great chapter in your book that I am already waiting for. take care, God speed.

  73. So glad things worked out for you. Keep sailing safely. You really rock!

  74. W*O*W !!

    What a story . . . what an adventure . . . I held my breath as I read this post letting it out only when I knew you were safe! I also *laughed* nervously several times when you pulled through the latest "moment" or mini-crisis. Am so glad you are fine and Wild Eyes made it through with only the somewhat minor loss of gear.

    I know what you said "Besides I'm out here for an adventure, and it wouldn't be an adventure if everything went according to plan." But this is high adventure . . . try to not have too many moments like this one! *whew*

    Take care grrrl . . . may you have fair winds!

    ~ Cynthia (on the road in Montana today)

  75. Wow, Abby! Inspiring to read about your strength and perseverance and determination in the face of such adverse circumstances. You present a wonderful example of 'Stay strong in the struggle'. These are the kind of situations that build character. . .or is it the character of the person that gets them through such situations? Best wished for the rest of the journey.

    PS-You now have the 'luxury' of being able to stop and visit the world as you continue on. Do you plan to do so or is the plan to go non-stop back to Cabo/San Diego?

  76. Wow Abby! I hope everything else turns out ok. Glad you didn't have to go up the mast :)

  77. Wow, talk about intense!! It's times like those when you wish you could hit pause, figure it out, and then resume, but like you said, that's what makes it interesting!

    Glad you're safe, and hopefully not too bruised or battered. Take lots of cat naps and just stay focused, you shouldn't have any problems you can't take care of!

    Best wishes, fingers-crossed for smooth sialing!


  78. Wow, that was quite a day. So glad it all worked out in the end. Good luck across the southern seas.

  79. Abby i got an adrenalin rush just reading about your ordeal but thank goodness all is well! Cheers!

  80. Hey Ab, please remember your brothers advice, Reef early and eat often. We want to see you back in CA

    Jay in Denver

  81. Good job Abby. Way to keep your head. My biggest fear would be leaving the boat. So, stay on the boat. Watching every day, stay safe.


    The new and improved "WHERE'S ABBY" is up and running. Thanks Team.

  83. Anyone know if Abby's "new autopilot" is a different brand, different model of the same brand, or just a replacement of the same AP she was using before Cape Town?

  84. Great update! Never complain about them being too long. Thanks for sharing the details with us it makes it so fun to read. Stay safe.

  85. Your Oklahoma Well-WisherMay 28, 2010 at 8:34 AM

    Wow, Abby, what a few crazy days out there! Great descriptions, although being a non-sailor, I sure would like to have a diagram of the boat so that I instantly understood all the pieces you are writing about :-)
    Sounds like you handled it all like a pro, as always... take good care out there! Peace, Your Oklahoma Well-Wisher

  86. You go Abby. I have a grandchild and she is about two and half years younger than you. Me and her check yor blog daily and it brings us together . She doesn't have any sailing time, but alot of time with power boats in AZ where we live. I am thinking about getting a small day sailor so we can learn together. Thank you for the inspiration. Be safe.

  87. Hi Abby
    Interesting saga is about the world's record for understatements.

    You handled that situation with the skills and courage that only comes from years of experience and training. As I have said before, what a remarkable young lady you are.

    One thing for sure you are never alone out there besides all your blog friends, there is the "Big" Guy who has you in his arms. Sail on it can only get better. Amazing.....

  88. O.M.Gosh

    I'm sitting here in my cushy Simi Valley office on the edge of my little black chair and my eyes are getting larger and larger as I read. And my husband and I didn't even want to go out of Channel Islands Harbor last weekend cuz there was a small craft warning... how silly of us.

    You. Amaze. Me.

    Your calmness attests to your upbringing and is a lesson for us all.

    I like your forward thinking about the upcoming book as everything in life can in fact be broken out into "chapters". This will be comparable to your brother's broken boom or pirate story. You have cameras set up all over the boat right? Are you filming this? We have Zac's 1st DVD and enjoyed seeing it from that perspective. I figure you're set up the same way, or at least hope you are!

    Sail on studmuffin! You are inspiring thousands of people everyday.

    :0) Steph aka sailingirl722

    PS How in the heck will you ever return to just doing "homework" after this?!?

  89. Virginia-Miami,Fl.May 28, 2010 at 9:15 AM

    What and incredible night for you. You are a true sailor girl! Really happy that all worked out. Now hopefully you can get some much needed rest. God speed Abby.

  90. On the video of the morning of your departure from Cape Town, May 21, watching you up on top of the mast (0:27-0:40/5:16) playing acrobatics, (inspecting the mast, riggings, and spars) just wondered if you had ever needed to climb up there on the open seas, in the heavy winds, with the boat heeling? Didn't want to imagine you up there in those circumstances at all.

    You have been in our thoughts and prayers.

    Thank you for sharing you stories

  91. Abby,

    WOW!!! That was like reading a book! Not the length, but the edge-of-your seat action!!! An adventure on the high seas!! Glad you are fine and Wild Eyes is too!

    Today is the last day of school with kids before summer break...believe me the last two days have been a scary adventure!!! lol

    God speed!

  92. When you write that book, kiddo I am buying it!

  93. Hi Abby,
    Gosh, I am exhausted just reading about that wild ride on Wild Eyes! Your writing is excellent Abby, you acutely portrayed the intensity of the adventure....whew, glad it's over! Thank you Father for watching over Abby.
    Well done young lady, very well done indeed!

    @Fred Mclellen Wow, what a story. I hate small places and your description is bound to give me at least one nightmare! I am sorry that you still are affected by it.

    @Janell from Oklahoma Welcome Home! I saw your interview...looking good there girl.

    God Bless you Abby.


  94. Abby,as I'm reading this I'm saying to myself,Is this supposed to be fun?
    You Damn near lost your life!
    Abby I'll tell you I would'nt do what your doing for all the gold at Fort Knox,and to think that you doing it for fun,but I'm also 79 year old.
    Abby all I can say be carefull.
    I think all our prayers helped you through this siituation.
    God Bless you!

    Libby Di Bernardo
    San pedro,Ca.

  95. glad the auto pilot is working great! glad you're okay after that scare! i think this is the longest blog you've written lol. i'm excited for your book! it will be a great chapter. i felt like i was there while reading it.

  96. What a great update Abby! Sounds like it was really a trying experience, but you weathered it well! Well done! Now for some smooth sailing days!

  97. You go Girl!

    What a night! Way to keep your chin up through the tough times! Please keep and sail safe.

    Denise and family
    South Dakota

  98. Abby-- That just made my blood run cold. What Fred McClellan wrote above is what I feel also. You lucked out. Going up that mast in those conditions could have been a disaster. I only went up the stick one time at sea and in fairly calm weather. I was sore for days after the thrashing I took up there. I swore that I would never do it again unless my life depended on it.
    Hang in there. A quick stop in OZ might not be a bad idea. Maybe get together with Jesse Martin and Jessica Watson??

    Dana Point, California

  99. Ah Ha ... the continued gift of experiencing and puzzling solutions to challenges. Full marks Abby !...and thanks for such a full and descriptive blog entry to keep us all on the very edge of our seats. I shall dream your adventure tonight !
    Can I suggest that if you have to make landfall again before completeing this epic voyage, that someone treats you to a better torch (flashlight) !
    Keep safe little one, we're all here back on dry land thinking of you, rooting for you and in awe of you. Blessings.

  100. Wow - way to go. I can hardly relate. It must be scary and yet enabling to know that you are out there on your own and if you don't do it, it won't get done. Way to keep a clear head and use your team.

    Tim from Seattle.

  101. Hi Abby,
    That was a very scary moment, just thinking of your idea of climbing the mast on a dark night, with over 30 knots. Reading your blog everyday, this one is really an adventure that made me apprehensive for your safety.
    We have a 32 ft.sailboat,but thinking of the wide ocean scares me and the movement just make me seasick. You are amazing, and please think safety first and our prayers for your safe sailing and Wild Eyes will take care of you for your journey and try to outguest the weather and prepare. God Bless You and smooth seas and fair winds always.
    Trina and Marv Ventura, Ca.

  102. All I can say is "Yikes!" You are an amazing young lady.

  103. Thanks for the update., all the Photos and Videos.

    Thank you for all the updates long or short!!

  104. Hey captain Abbey, Geeeeees you needed a monkey to climb the mast . Feeling the pressure from my own experience caught in storm with the main up and our boat is not rigged to single hand ,40 ft morgan could not pull down the mast becuase lines where tangled with the jib lines stalled the boat thought that was it.Well learning lesson reef early. Glad you pulled through. Sandi on the bay.

  105. Wow! As I was reading, I kept reassuring myself that everything must have turned out all right or you wouldn't have been making the blog entry. It'll be an exciting chapter in the book for sure.

    I'm SO glad you didn't have to go up the mast!


    Lori in MN

  106. OH MY GOD, ABBY! I thank God you made it OK. I held my breath reading your blog. What an experience. I am in total awe of you. And, what a writer you are. Thank you and may God bless you every moment!!!
    Pam & Hank, Augusta, GA

  107. Wow... You amaze me! I just thought of another name for the book... "True Grit"! Yes, I know, it's already taken but girl, you've definitely got it!

  108. Hi Abby,
    well that was a really difficult thing to have happened.
    I wonder why that line on the main was like that .
    Was it its condition the pre-sail checklist at all?
    Going up the mast in 30kts = bad idea :) even in a dire situation, the dangers of it , but I am glad you are ok and you managed to get everything sorted.
    It must have really frustrated you having to have spent so much time and effort over it, but you handled it very well.congrats.
    You are in a great boat.Out of the Open class , I trust the 40's more than their bigger sisters.
    keep going !
    Good to see the blog so positive as usual :)

  109. Hey all; Anyone who does not think Abby's a superb sailor with solid intelligence and decision making skills has to have rocks in his/her skull. Abby, you surely demonstrated how to deal with the most grave situation in her life, and come out not a mess but much better for it. You are stronger and wiser for it. You WILL continue to handle anything King Neptune throws at you. Abby, both of us are so soo proud of you. Just keep on rockin on the way you have. Much love n hugs -John and Louise in Redding

  110. Hey Abby,

    We understand you're busy, but try to blog more, huh? It's not easy wondering what you're up to!


    Keep up the good work!

    San Diego

  111. Michael from New JerseyMay 28, 2010 at 3:29 PM

    Hi Abby.

    Good to know you're okay after that incident. Knowing me, I probably would be scared as well going up that mast in strong winds, so I have to give you credit for at least trying it.

    I like your attitude that you had, as I agree that worrying and getting scared wasn't going to help the situation.

    Glad to hear that it seems to be straightened out and that you're enjoying yourself. Have a pleasant rest of your voyage!

    New Jersey

  112. Hi Abby:
    Does Wild Eyes have spreader flood lights?
    I thought that might help if they were installed.
    Prayers for a gutsy sailor!
    Frank from Georgia, USA.

  113. Abby, be careful out there!
    I got really worried by reading your blog. Don't take unneeded risks. Get advice from your support people. It is my impression that you have done all this. But still, be careful!

    Ben, Sweden

  114. ...and that's why YOU'RE sailing around the world by yourself, and I'M reading about it! Whew! As always, I'm so impressed with your bravery and your ability to think things through and come up with Plan B (C, D...).

  115. Life is full of challenges and you are proving worthy. Your confidence will grow.
    Stay safe and have enjoy your adventure.
    Deb - Fl

  116. Wow, what an incredible tale! You are such a trouper! Take care and stay safe.

  117. You are an AMAZING young woman! We continue to pray for your safe travels and anticipate each new tale. I cannot wait to purchase your book for my daughter who is in awe of your accomplishments. Thanks for being such a wonderful role model! Be safe!
    Robyn Stack
    Western New York

  118. Abby, you're a brave lassie for even contemplating going up the mast in the dark with a good stiff breeze. We're glad you didn't have to, and that it all turned out well in the end. Of course, you were clipped on the whole time, weren't you?

    Thanx for sharing that heart-stopping, white knuckle blog. We were tempted for the whole time we were reading it to scroll on down to the end (like reading the last page of a suspense novel) to make sure that the saga of the stuck sail had a happy ending...and it did. Well done, Abby. You're one cool lady.

    Clear skies,
    Brian & Phillippa
    Vancouver, Canada

  119. way to go abby glad u didn t have to go up mast but im sure u would ve if needed very resourseful young lady and experience way beyound your years thank you for the very descriptive blog
    may u have a little break before your next adventure which im shure uu will have
    sail safe as you can and stayed clipped on
    paul outta maine

  120. Well done Abby.. Way to keep your head! Keep safe out there, we're all rooting for you..

  121. What an adventure Abby! You are one brave, resourceful, level-headed and mature girl and I greatly admire you. I am thankful you are safe! Thanks for sharing your incredible adventure with us!

  122. way to go Abby!!! once again you have shown grit, determination, focus, brains and brawn.......and added yet another chapter to an already amazing book--

    you rock girl!!!! keep on sailing safe xoxo

  123. Another lesson in "expecting the unexpected" and staying cool under pressure, alone. Readers here might also like to read Jamie Dunross's account of how a swing of the boat caught him at the wrong moment when trying to retrieve parts fallen in the toilet - how do you sail a boat, when your arm's stuck !! .. or call for help?
    You guys sure don't do it too easy, do you?

    Also, am hoping your route doesn't go too far south into those cold wild winter waters around Antarctica. It's getting chilly enough here in Sydney now (and gale warnings along the south coast of Australia this weekend), can't be too good in the deep deep south these days.

  124. Hi Abby,

    You've got more guts than a platoon of Marines. Toolafa Lee.

  125. Hi Abby,

    Im glad you are doing fine and that you didnt go to the mast with those conditions. It is good to get advice from shore as probably their experience is useful for deciding what to do when things get really dangerous.

    Thanks for keeping us updated.

    Best wishes, Marina

  126. @GlobeMasterOne Hi, no that's no my feet up the mast and I also did not see any of the objects you mentioned earlier below on "Wild Eyes". I am also not a rigger like Alan, just crazy about boats, sailing and the sea.
    Some history:I first met Alan when I was sailing and racing around the world on the Canadian maxi "Graybeard" in the early 70's. Alan joined us in Sydney for the 72 Sydney Hobart and only fairly recently we contacted each other again. I was also "involved" with Robin Lee Graham and "Dove" here in Cape Town and it was such a surprise to learn that both Zac and Abby have been so inspired by his adventures.. I recently wrote a short article for "Yachting World", November 2009 about these incredibly brave young kids.
    To observe Abby and Dad Laurence together is such an inspiration, their faith in each other, "Wild Eyes" and our Lord is very precious.

  127. Abby,
    I am continually inspired by your free spirit, strong will, and unbelievable determination.

    I'm always sending good, positive thoughts your way.

    Please stay safe and enjoy this incredible adventure you are on.

    You rock!
    peace to you girl.

  128. Everyday is a new adventure with you huh? Keep up the great work!

  129. Wow Abby!! What a harrowing ride! I'm so impressed that you kept it all together. I would have been in tears with frustration. I can't wait to read this chapter in your book. So much excitement! It's a good thing the autopilot was working! Take care (I know you will) and Godspeed!

    Amy from Missouri

  130. I like the happy ending but the part leading up to it got me so worried and scared! You've got amazing courage and a strong character. - Vipaj from Thailand

  131. This will be a great addition to your book. I look forward to reading it. Be safe out there. Wear your safety harness and lifeline. And have fun. Nancy M.

  132. Hi Abby:

    Egad !! That was a very dramatic story to read indeed. Way to go in staying with it and getting the glich solved.

    You are doing great. Go Abby!!

    Hugs, seattlesid

  133. Praise God the tangle worked out!

  134. So..The best thing was not doping anything? How often does that happen? I'm certain you had angels working overtime untangling that mess too..not to discredit your bravery or your desire to get it done.. I'm impressed with your thinking..and your cautious sense of making certain that it needs to be done. I know what you mean about not being able to sleep knowing you had a challenge to resolve.
    Its' been threatening to rain and now it is. I went out and installed a wardrobe mirror in my little 18' travel trailer that had gotten too hot during the day and the velcro tape gave way-fortunately not allowing the mirror to break so I put it on with screws this time. And thinking about you gripping the lines and planning to clip on to the mast and pull yourself up to unjam the pulley..Wow your adventure keeps me enthralled. I just told my barber-whose been curious about Jesica sailing first and now about your voyage I gave her you data so she could see for herself. Do keep safe. I know its a Grande Adventure and you're our hero..but we want you to be healthy and strong..and as pretty as you are!! Sounds like you handled it perfect. No surprises there. Just our nerves are shot just reading your very descriptive well revealed tale. And no wonder we had to pray extra prayers while we weren't hearing from you.. :O) Be Careful Young Lady!!!!

    Congrats on everything working out and keeping such a cool head! You're in our hearts and prayers for safe journey..Be Blessed Abby Keep The Clean side of WE Up!!!

    Safe and Don't forget to take care of the Captain er Admiral..uh..shes the only one you've got!!

    Gary & Jan

  135. I'm glad I read this after you made it through. Praise God you're ok. You are very brave! We're praying for you.

  136. very few people like you in this planet . I have been admiring you a little girl of the sea. I bless to you cone home safe
    Orlando FL

  137. What an amazing Thursday! Good job and patients, and yes this will be a great chapter. Peace! Ed in Vermont-USA

  138. Geez, Abby, I would have just jumped overboard from sheer terror. Cool head, girl.

  139. Hi Abby, I thought I would check on you and see if everything is well with you. I hope this day is as beautiful for you as it is here in Ventura, the weather has been nice for this memorial holiday weekend. My thoughts are with you. Gail/Ventura

  140. Woww!! thank God u'r okay...
    So proud of your cool-headed... you sure will have a remarkable story to tell your grand kids someday...

    Semangat!! (its Indonesian that means 'keep the spirit!!')
    God Bless you...

    Shesilia-Jakarta, Indonesia

  141. HE that wishes over you neither sleeps or slumbers

  142. Jeremiah 16:15 "I will restore them to their own land". Abby, I have a 16 year old grandaughter. She's courageous too, but I've never seen anything like what the Lord has led you into". Just heard about you today. On board the rest of the trip as an intercessor. Bless you dear, Susan

  143. Abby, I stayed up half the night reading your blogs and the comments from others like me... sitting in front on my computer on dry land with my heart in my throat and my mind trying to get around all you went through those last few days. I am so grateful that you have been rescued and are safe aboard that rescue/fishing boat. Your family can finally breathe again.
    Glad for your safety, sad for how this chapter ended. I cannot imagine all you have been through with Wild Eyes and now you have to leave her. It must feel like leaving part of yourself behind.
    I am thanking God that the little "speck" in the sea was you and you're safe now. Looking forward to the next chapter.
    Landlubber Tricia from Ventura

  144. Hi Abby,

    Have been following along with the rest of the group... Sounds like Wild Eyes was to you like a pet is to most others. You put heart and soul as well as your life into your it. Always remember that you created your boat and that you have that knowledge and know-how within you forever. You can (and probably will) create another one sometime down the road. Your courage to venture out is really remarkable. Only a handful of people can do it. Even though people don't understand, that's okay, everyone's entitled to their own thoughts. One suggestion, come home and be a sixteen year old. It's an amazing part of life and one should not miss it! You have the rest of your life to take journey's as such. Safe travels to you. I'm hoping there will be a local homecoming so we can see you. My kids look forward to knowing you got home safe. Be well. Julie (Ventura County)