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Thursday 20 June 2019

Round-the-world sailor welcomes discovery of yacht in Australia

Abby Sunderland was rescued by a French trawler after the Wild Eyes vessel capsized in June 2010.

The upturned sloop Wild Eyes was found drifting off the Australian coast (South Australia Police/AP)
The upturned sloop Wild Eyes was found drifting off the Australian coast (South Australia Police/AP)

By Rod McGuirk

Californian solo sailor Abby Sunderland has said her “heart skipped a beat” after it emerged that the yacht she abandoned in the Indian Ocean in 2010 during an ill-fated round-the-world attempt had been found off the Australian coast.

South Australia Police confirmed that a barnacle-encrusted, upturned 40ft hull found drifting 12 miles south of Kangaroo Island on Monday was Ms Sunderland’s sloop Wild Eyes.

She was just 16 and attempting to become the youngest person to sail around the world alone and unassisted when her yacht capsized and lost its mast in mountainous seas between Africa and Australia on June 10 2010.

Ms Sunderland was rescued two days later by a French trawler 2,000 miles west of Australia.

Police said the boat has disappeared again and may have sunk (South Australia Police/AP)

The now 25-year-old described seeing reports of the boat’s discovery as “very emotional”.

“It brought back memories – good and not so good – but it was neat to see it after so long,” Ms Sunderland said in a statement.

“It looked a little creepy, that’s to be expected after so long.”

She said she wondered whether video equipment which she used to record her voyage was still inside and hoped that the boat would be retrieved.

Asked if the boat – a potential navigational hazard – would be recovered, a police spokesman said the vessel had disappeared by Thursday and might have sunk.

Press Association

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