Californian sailor welcomes discovery of yacht in Australia after failed round-the-world trip

Abby Sunderland was trying to become the youngest person to sail around the world alone and unassisted when her yacht capsized. She was rescued two days later.
Image: The yacht abandoned by solo sailor Abby Sunderland in 2010 was found off the Australian Coast on Jan. 2, 2019.
The yacht abandoned by solo sailor Abby Sunderland in 2010 was found off the Australian Coast on Jan. 2, 2019.South Australia Police via AP

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By Associated Press

CANBERRA, Australia — Californian solo sailor Abby Sunderland said on Thursday her "heart skipped a beat" with news that the yacht she abandoned in the remote Indian Ocean in 2010 during an ill-fated round-the-world attempt had been found off the Australian coast.

South Australia Police confirmed on Wednesday that a barnacle-encrusted, upturned 40-foot hull found drifting 12 miles south of Kangaroo Island on Monday was Sunderland's sloop Wild Eyes.

Abby Sunderland at a press conference after her attempt to sail around the world solo in Marina del Rey, California, in 2010.Mike Nelson / EPA file

Sunderland was 16 and attempting to become the youngest person to sail around the world alone and unassisted when her yacht capsized and lost its mast in mountainous seas between Africa and Australia on June 10, 2010. She was rescued two days later by a French trawler 2,000 miles west of Australia.

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The now 25-year-old described seeing reports of the boat's discovery as "very emotional."

"It brought back memories — good and not so good — but it was neat to see it after so long," Sunderland said in a statement.

"It looked a little creepy, that's to be expected after so long," she added.

She said she wondered whether video equipment which she used to record her voyage was still inside and hoped that the boat would be retrieved.

Asked if the boat, a potential navigational hazard, would be retrieved, a police spokesman, who spoke on the department's customary condition of anonymity, said the boat had disappeared by Thursday and might have sunk.