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Teen sailor Abby Sunderland gets talent agent

July 7, 2010 | 12:59 pm

Abby
Rescued teen sailor Abby Sunderland has hired a talent agent and will use her public profile to "inspire others to follow their dreams,'' her spokesman said.

Sunderland, 16, signed Lyall Mercer, head of an Australian-based public relations and talent management firm, to handle her business affairs. Mercer had been serving in a pro bono capacity as Sunderland's spokesman for the last few weeks.

Public fascination over Sunderland's aborted attempt to sail around the world by herself has raised her profile significantly, Mercer said in a statement released this week.

"Abby is very marketable,'' he said. "She is popular across the world, has followed her dream, overcome challenges and survived. She is an inspiration."

Mercer debunked media reports that Abby is on her way to personally thank her Australian rescuers. The teen is resting at home with her family and a new baby brother after a "huge few weeks,'' Mercer said.

A future trip to Australia is possible, he said. Other than a media conference, Abby's only public appearance since returning to her Thousand Oaks home was at a Fourth of July parade in Duarte, he said.

Sunderland was plucked from the Indian Ocean by a fishing vessel last month after her 40-foot-sloop Wild Eyes  was hit by a giant wave and lost its mast. Supporters hailed the girl's adventurous spirit, but detractors criticized her parents for allowing her to take the trip.

-- Catherine Saillant

Photo: Abby Sunderland with her brother Zac Sunderland answer questions during at a press conference in Marina del Rey last month after she returned home following her attempt to sail around the world. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

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