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Abby Sunderland, 15, is seeking sponsors to help fund global sailing voyage

September 22, 2009 |  1:43 pm

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Zac Sunderland, 17, sailed around the world alone on a voyage that was not grandly sponsored and ended up burying his parents in debt.

Now it's Abby Sunderland's turn to test her mettle against the world's oceans, but a different tack is required: Her parents need more sponsors to help fund the 15-year-old's attempt to become the youngest person to sail around the world alone, nonstop and unassisted.

Notably, funding is needed for the purchase of a used Class 40 sailboat that Laurence Sunderland, the shipwright father, has tabbed as an ideal vessel for the daunting task of negotiating the Southern Ocean and especially the treacherous Cape Horn.

With good fortune the funding will be obtained and the Thousand Oaks teen can embark as planned in November, four months after her brother's 13-month odyssey ended. Otherwise Australia's Jessica Watson, 16, could end up in the record book as she, too, is planning a nonstop, unassisted journey, and hopes to depart this month aboard the 34-foot Ella's Pink Lady.

It was simply Pink Lady before Watson landed Ella Bache as a major sponsor.

Abby's Project Global Breeze, which is working with Kauffman Sports Management Group, also is offering vessel naming rights, along with various levels of sponsorship that, if acquired, will plaster her boat and sails with various company logos.

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Landing sponsors apparently is more difficult in the United States than in nations where the sport is taken more seriously. England's Mike Perham, 17, who recently replaced Zac as the youngest person to sail around the world, enjoyed a fully funded journey aboard a 50-foot racing yacht.

Project Global Breeze has Shoe City, but until Abby can obtain a vessel her dream of sailing around the world will remain just that -- a dream.

-- Pete Thomas

Top photo of Abby Sunderland courtesy of Lisa Gizara

Bottom photo: Abby Sunderland and sister Lydia sit aboard a boat awaiting older brother Zac Sunderland's arrival in Marina del Rey in July. Zac took 13 months to sail around the world and held the record as the youngest person to do so until England's Mike Perham completed his journey a few weeks later. Abby hopes to trump them both. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

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