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Sailor Abby Sunderland, 16, rounds Cape Horn

April 1, 2010 | 10:00 am

Abby Thousand Oaks teen Abby Sunderland achieved a milestone in her quest to become the youngest sailor to solo circumnavigate the globe, nonstop and unassisted, when she rounded Cape Horn on Wednesday.

Times contributor Pete Thomas had an exclusive interview with Sunderland, 16, by satellite phone minutes after she had crossed from the Pacific into the Atlantic.

Here's an excerpt from Thomas' article in Thursday's Times about Sunderland's around-the-world solo sailing attempt:

Rain driven by freezing wind pelted her 40-foot sailboat, but Abby Sunderland was in remarkably good spirits early Wednesday afternoon.

That's because the 16-year-old from Thousand Oaks, while friends back home were coming off a refreshing spring break, had just rounded Cape Horn between South America and the Antarctic Peninsula.

She had safely traversed a passage known as the Mt. Everest of the yachting universe, a mariners' graveyard fraught with unpredictable gales and gargantuan waves.

"It's the milestone I've been waiting for," the budding adventurer said. "It's pretty much the hardest part of my trip, and now it's over so it's really great being here."

That might not be true. Sunderland's controversial bid to become the youngest person to sail around the world alone, nonstop and without material assistance, could become significantly harder.

Read more of Thomas' article by clicking here.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Abby Sunderland Credit: Pete Thomas / petethomasoutdoors.com

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