I sure hope not, but this report is not good news:
Abby Sunderland, 16, who is attempting to become the youngest sailor ever to circumnavigate the globe, was feared lost at sea today after her crew lost contact with her boat….Casher told ABC News that he last spoke with the 16-year-old sailor around 6 a.m. PDT after she had been knocked down twice during the night because of strong winds.
One of those knock-downs, Casher said, ripped the radar off the boat. She had been speaking with Casher on a satellite telephone earlier because of engine problems and was in the process of fixing those problems when she told Casher she’d call right back.
She has not been heard from since, except for the distress signals.
Abby is approximately 500 miles north of the Antarctic Islands on her bid to become the youngest to circumnavigate the globe in a sailboat, solo.
People have a way of disappearing at sea, only to turn up eventually. But the Indian Ocean is a cold, remote place. Abby’s last blog post said she was preparing for some nasty weather:
The last few days have pretty busy out here. I’ve been in some rough weather for awhile with winds steady at 40-45 knots with higher gusts. With that front passing, the conditions were lighter today. It was a nice day today with some lighter winds which gave me a chance to patch everything up. Wild Eyes was great through everything but after a day with over 50 knots at times, I had quite a bit of work to do…
The wind is beginning to pick up. It is back up to 20 knots and I am expecting that by midnight tonight I could have 35-50 knots with gusts to 60 so I am off to sleep before it really picks up.
Update: Blogger Pete Thomas is reporting that both Abby’s EPIRBs went off, and one is either attached to her life raft or survival suit. Sure hope it is the former, if she is in the water. he also spoke with Laurence Sunderland, who had been on the phone with Abby earlier to see how she was coping in the rough conditions. “Everything seemed to be under control,” Laurence Sunderland told Thomas. “But then our call dropped and a hour later the Coast Guard called.”
Here’s Abby, talking about the trip. Her father’s comments, starting at 2:23, are painful to hear.