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NEWS - Abby Sunderland arrived in Cape Town

Abby Sunderland arrived in Cape TownDaily News - Posted: 05/11/2011 05:34:07 PM PDT Updated: 05/11/2011 06:16:56 PM PDTBy Susan Abram, Staff Writer
Abby Sunderland arrived in Cape Town with her Open 40 Sailboat "Wild Eyes", after sailing 3 months and 10,000 miles from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, on a route that took her around Cape Horn.
A film that documents Abby Sunderland's solo quest to circumnavigate the globe is being screened around Los Angeles.
"Wild Eyes: The Abby Sunderland Story," includes footage of the extensive preparations months before the Thousand Oaks teen set sail last year, the long days and nights alone on her sailboat, and her eventual rescue from the middle of the Indian Ocean.
Abby's father, Laurence Sunderland, produced and directed the 85 minute film, saying he documented her quest because he found her story unique. He also had documented his son Zac Sunderland's nonstop solo sail around the globe in 2009.
"What I'd like audiences to see is that dreams are achievable," Laurence Sunderland said. "The film also shows the magnitude of the teamwork that went on."
Inspired by her brother's solo sail, Abby, then 16, set out to become the youngest person to do the same.
The film shows Abby selecting the would-be Wild Eyes in Rhode Island and how a team of experts refitted the 40-foot sloop with electrical, communication and navigation systems. Abby also is shown setting sail from Marina del Rey amid a media frenzy on Jan. 23, 2010 on Wild Eyes. Excerpt from her video blog are spliced into the documentary, showing a gaunt Abby describing her lack of sleep because of an erratic autopilot. She also shares her disappointment at docking in Cabo San Lucas, for repairs, which changes her goal of circling the world nonstop. The autopilot would prove to be troublesome throughout her journey.
While she successfully rounded South America's Cape Horn, fierce storms and rogue waves rolled her sailboat in the middle of the Indian Ocean between Africa and Australia. She activated two emergency beacons.
"I just got hit by a rogue wave," a worried Abby says into a video blog in the documentary. "My mast is gone. Oh my God. I'm in the middle of the ocean."
The film includes scenes of Laurence and Marianne Sunderland waiting for some response from their daughter, who at that point, was feared lost. A search plane from Australia spotted her and a French fishing vessel pulled her out of the sea a few days later.
Wild Eyes was left in the ocean battered and mast-less.
Although her quest went unrealized, Abby has said other opportunities arose, and in a sense, new dreams emerged. She has said she would like to fly planes.
The film, which can be purchased on, accompanies a book Abby co-wrote and released last month called "Unsinkable: A Young Woman's Courageous Battle on the High Seas." She has been on tour promoting the book.
In the meantime, her father hinted that a new challenge isn't far off. "I think she'll continue to inspire the adventurous spirit," he said.
"Wild Eyes: The Abby Sunderland Story" will next be screened at 7:30 p.m. May 19, at the Krikorian Premiere Theatres, 410 South Myrtle Ave., Monrovia.

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