Sixteen-year-old Abby Sunderland set out to sail around the world in 2010. However, while a successful voyage would have made her the youngest person ever to achieve this feat, Mother Nature had other plans. After the teenage sailor’s yacht was irreparably damaged during a storm, she found herself adrift in the ocean. And although the authorities located Sunderland relatively quickly, it would take eight years for them to recover her abandoned boat.
Sunderland had plenty of inspiration for her proposed trip to circumnavigate the world in her yacht. The then-teenager’s older brother, Zac, was the first person under 18 ever to have made the journey – a feat that he completed on July 16, 2009. And the Sunderland family – helmed by parents Marianne and Laurence – spent lots of time sailing together too.
In fact, Abby’s father gave her some tough lessons to prepare her for her own around-the-world journey – a plan that she had come up with when she was just 13. He described one of their training days to ABC News. “It was a particularly rough day,” Laurence recalled. “Her boat was rocking from gunnel to gunnel.”