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Sailor Abby Sunderland, 16, heads to Cabo San Lucas for vessel repairs

February 2, 2010 | 12:47 pm


It's been 11 days since Abby Sunderland departed Marina del Rey on her 40-foot sailboat "Wild Eyes" in her attempt to solo circumnavigate the world, nonstop and unassisted.

The 16-year-old, however, already has a bug in her plan, which will force her to make a stop in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, to have some repairs done on her boat.

According to Abby's blog, "Wild Eyes" is having equipment issues. Her wind gauger's have stopped working and the solar panels and wind generators on board are not creating enough power to keep up with energy needs.

Here's a blurb from Abby's post dated Saturday:

"The fact is I am just not able to generate enough power. We didn't budget enough fuel for me to run my two alternators as often as I have been needing to so....A new battery or two and more fuel will be put on board in Cabo. Also, the trouble with the wind speed gauge seems to be in the wiring in the mast. I have tested everything else so that needs to be fixed as well."

She expects to arrive in Cabo on Tuesday afternoon and plans to get back underway as soon as possible. While disappointed with the stop, she said it will not affect her nonstop solo circumnavigation attempt, according to her post on Monday:

"From the comments it looks like there is a bit of confusion as to how this affects my attempt," Abby wrote. "I'm not going to be a non-stop stopper. One of the rules of a circumnavigation is that you have to cross the equator twice and since I'm north of the equator still, I can just re-start from Cabo. This will mean that my voyage will officially end back in Cabo."

This small change in plans will likely get the naysayers commenting about how a 16-year-old girl shouldn't be risking such a journey. The same criticism, however, was directed at her older brother, Zac, who also set off when he was 16 and in July, at 17, became the first sailor to solo-circumnavigate the globe in a sailboat before turning 18.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Abby Sunderland sails her 40-foot sailboat "Wild Eyes" out of Marina del Rey for a sea trial before her Jan. 23 departure on her nonstop, unassisted global circumnavigation voyage. She will be stopping Tuesday afternoon in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, to get some repairs done on the boat, but this will not affect her record attempt. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

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