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Abby Sunderland sends her congrats to Jessica Watson

May 18, 2010 |  4:20 pm

Abby Thousand Oaks teen sailor Abby Sunderland remains in Cape Town, South Africa, where some much-needed repairs on her boat, Wild Eyes, are nearing completion.

The autopilot system that failed on the 40-foot-vessel has been replaced and installed in a new location. On her blog, Sunderland says that a few test sails are needed to calibrate it before she can continue on her attempt to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world.

Meanwhile, she takes the time to acknowledge the accomplishments of 16-year-old Australian Jessica Watson, who last week completed her nonstop and unassisted solo-circumnavigation odyssey:

Before I go into everything we've done today, I'd just like to send a BIG congratulations to Jesse Watson! She has done an absolutely amazing job and while to be perfectly honest, I am a little envious, she deserves the record. She sailed around the world, alone, nonstop, and unassisted. I know how difficult that is to achieve. I can understand that you need to be fair to the last person to break the record and respect the fact that they followed certain guide lines. But in my book, Jessica Watson is the youngest person to ever sail around the world, and she should be given the credit she is due.

It is hard to watch someone else accomplish what you have dreamed of for years and to be thinking, if I had only done this or that things may have turned out differently. But things are the way they are. Records, whether they are on paper or not, are made to be broken and it most likely will be one day, but Jesse is amazing, what she did is amazing, and that will never change no matter who holds the record.

With the work almost finished, Sunderland, who is five months younger than Watson, is now looking for a weather window to get out and back on her voyage.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Abby Sunderland in Cape Town, South Africa. Credit: Jeff Ayliffe

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