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Abby Sunderland Speaks Out After Rescue: ‘I Was Terrified, But I Never Thought I’d Die'!

Tue, June 29, 2010 3:40pm EDT by 1 Comment

She’s home back in California, her mother’s in labor and she’s not planning any adventure trips or reality shows any time soon!

Teenage sailor Abby Sunderland is finally home and seemed cool, calm and collected at her first press conference June 29, since her ship, Wild Eyes, was damaged in the Indian Ocean on June 10.

The 16-year-old sat next to her 17-year-old brother, Zac, who brought her home to California from tiny Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean, where she was dropped off by her rescue ship. Her parents couldn’t be with her at the press event because mom Marianne is currently in labor with the Sunderland family’s eighth child, who will be named Paul, in honor of the French captain who saved her, Paul Louis Le Moigne.

Although Abby refused to respond to criticism that her parents shouldn’t have allowed her to embark on such a dangerous solo global journey, she did insist that she had the proper training to do so.  “I was prepared [for an accident],” she said. “I didn’t expect it to happen, but I was prepared in case it did happen and because of that, I felt comfortable out there.” In fact, she’s proud to have become the youngest person to sail solo around Cape Horn – AKA the sailor’s graveyard. “I have crossed two oceans, I have sailed around Cape Horn and Cape Agolis – the questioning of my age should have been over weeks, if not months, ago.”

Abby didn’t expect to be rescued so quickly after the mast on her sailboat broke and thought she’d be adrift for a few weeks. Although she was scared at times, she said she focused on saving herself and her boat. “I was terrified, but I knew I was going to be testing myself. There were times when I was scared, definitely, but the times you are scared you have to get over it. Being scared doesn’t do anything good, it makes you hesitate and that’s when problems begin,” she said, adding, “I am living proof that things don’t always work out the way you plan, but you can only go so far in an adventure. You can reduce risk, but you can never completely eliminate it.”

All in all, her experience WAS the adventure. She said she was raised to “chase a dream” that normal kids wouldn’t have accomplished, and contrary to popular opinion, she wanted to sail around the world even before her brother Zac (who actually accomplished his goal).  Being stuck out in the ocean on her own even gave her confidence!

But don’t expect to see that newfound confidence on your TV screen. “[There is] no reality TV show,” she claims – even though has seen TV deal documents for Adventures in Sunderland. “There will be NO documentary”, she said, “but I might write a book. I don’t want to forget the great memories I had. I’m writing it for me… I hope I inspire people.”

As for her parents, Marianne and Lawrence, they issued a joint statement, which their publicist read out during the press conference, as follows:

“The past five months have brought many highs and lows for our family. We’ve watch our daughter achieve something great. While she didn’t quite complete what she set out to do she traveled more than 12,000 nautical miles solo and became the youngest person to sail solo around Cape Horn. Abby followed her dream and followed in the footsteps of so many other great Americans who loved life and adventure. We are immensely proud of her. We have also been exposed to intense personal criticism by people who don’t know us. Most have not even met us. To hear the intensity of the personal hatred spewed by some in the media and on blogs was shocking to us. It crossed the line of human decency. Abby should not be subjected to these hurtful attacks against members of her family especially as what was being said was based at best on twisting facts out of context and at worse on total fabricated lies. That said, we are forgiving people and are content to leave this criticism behind us and look to what the future holds. We also accept that some people simply don’t understand. They don’t know Abby and the years she has spent on sailing boats. They don’t understand her love for sailing and her to dream to sail around the globe. They were not there when we planned every detail meticulously under the guidance of experts. They did not hear the advice we accepted by those who have done this before. This advice is all about minimizing risks. They don’t know our family and the love we have for our children. A love that prevents us from ever endanging them. We say this while recognizing that with any adventure – and Abby is an adventurous spirit – there are risks. After Abby traveled over 12,000 nautical miles – more than most sailors would ever dream of sailing solo – they rode waves, stopped her mast and stopped her journey. Abby’s experience and understand coupled with the expert team guiding her from home meant she knew what to do and she responded with great. Professionalism. We are proud of her and we are thankful to all those who assisted her and helped bring her home safely. We are thankful to God for his protection. We don’t expect or even ask for everyone to agree with our decision to allow Abby to follow her dream but we do ask for others to respect our decision as parents just as we respect other parents when they make decisions for their children that we may not for ours. We support Abby and as parents we will guide her as best we can. Recognizing that parenting isn’t always easy for any of us. We stand by her in whatever she decides for her life in the future. – publicist Lyle Mercer read out family statement.

Laura Schreffler

  1. BREAKING! Abby Sunderland’s Mom Is In Labor & Missed Her Daughter’s Big Press Conference!
  2. BREAKING NEWS: 16-Year-Old Abby Sunderland Safe On Land And Defending Her Parents!
  3. EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Sailor Abby Sunderland’s Trip Was Even More Dangerous Than Has Been Revealed, HollywoodLife Has Learned.
  4. EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW! Abby’s Dad, Laurence Sunderland, Swears ‘I Would Never Even Begin To Harm Any Of My Kids!’
  5. EXCLUSIVE: Abby Sunderland’s Dad Was ‘Cutting Corners’ So Major TV Production Studio Reveille Backed Out Of Reality Show, Says Source!
  6. Bonnie Asks! Was Abby Sunderland Brainwashed By Her Parents Into Doing Her Dangerous Stunt?


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