“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt “Citizenship in a Republic,” Speech – Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

AMSA Coordinating Search and Rescue – Wild Eyes

12 June 2010 – 11:30pm Update

Following the successful rescue of Abby Sunderland by the fishing vessel Ile De La Reunion earlier this evening, arrangements to land Ms Sunderland have been negotiated.

The Ile De La Reunion will proceed to the Kerguelen Islands (a journey of approximately two days), where Ms Sunderland will be transferred to the French Fisheries Patrol Vessel, Osiris.

It is anticipated the Osiris will return to its home port at La Reunion. The distance from Kerguelen Islands to La Reunion is approximately 1800 nautical miles.

12 June 2010 – 8:00pm MEDIA RELEASE

The rescue of 16 year old US solo sailor, Abby Sunderland, from the yacht Wild Eyes to the fishing vessel Ile De La Reunion was successfully conducted at 7:45pm AEST today – approximately 2000 nautical miles off the West Australian coast.

The rescue, coordinated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre – Australia (RCC Australia), was conducted with the support of a Global Express aircraft which provided top cover during the transfer and served as a communications relay between Wild Eyes and the Ile De La Reunion. The crew of the Ile De La Reunion conducted the rescue with a boat launched from the fishing vessel.

RCC Australia has notified Ms Sunderland’s family of the successful rescue. Arrangements to land Ms Sunderland will now be negotiated with the three ships that have responded to the distress situation.

International Maritime Organization guidelines indicate that such arrangements should avoid disruption to commercial shipping as far as possible. Since the fishing vessel would suffer a significant commercial penalty from leaving the fishing grounds, it is possible that Ms Sunderland will be transferred to one of the other two ships. One ship is bound for Australia and the other would likely return to its home port at La Reunion.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority wishes to acknowledge the cooperation of operators and authorities, both national and international, that have worked together to successfully conduct this rescue – these include Maritime RCC La Reunion, Qantas, WA Police, Fire and Emergency Services Authority of Western Australia, Defence and the three ships which are responding.

The Master of the Ile De La Reunion has reported Ms Sunderland is safe and in good health.

12 June 2010 – 10:30am Update

In preparation for the arrival on scene of the fishing vessel Ile De La Reunion anticipated for late this afternoon, RCC Australia has tasked a Global Express aircraft to the scene. This aircraft is planned to arrive at the known position of Wild Eyes at approximately 5.30pm AEST. The aircraft will attempt to regain radio contact with Wild Eyes ahead of the planned rescue.

The position of Wild Eyes continues to be monitored via distress beacon transmission.

Weather in the area has improved slightly with 30-35 knot winds and a 4-5 metre swell.

A further update will be provided this evening.

11 June 2010 – 5:30pm Update

At 12.30pm overall coordination of the search and rescue was transferred to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre (known as “RCC Australia”), as the yacht Wild Eyes had drifted into the Australian search and rescue region.

The vessel was located by the QANTAS Airbus just after at 4.00pm (AEST) and radio contact made with Ms Sunderland. She is in reported to be in good spirits. The vessel’s mast has been broken off.  Ms Sunderland reports the vessel is not taking any water and will remain safe until a rescue can be completed.

It is planned that the rescue will be conducted by a fishing vessel Ile De La Reunion tomorrow with assistance from other long range aircraft.  Another two ships are also proceeding to the scene to arrive on Sunday.

It is possible that Ms Sunderland will be taken to La Reunion, but the precise details will depend on the circumstances facing the rescue vessels later in the weekend.

11 June 2010 – 11:30am Update

Australia is providing air support assistance to a French (La Reunion) coordinated search and rescue in the Indian Ocean for the US yacht Wild Eyes.

US citizen Abby Sunderland (16) sailed from California on 23 January 2010 to circumnavigate the globe in the yacht Wild Eyes.  At approximately 1.00 a.m. (Australian Eastern Standard Time) Friday 11 June the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) detected transmissions from two distress beacons registered to Wild Eyes.  The detections are currently in position 40 48 South 74 58 East, approximately 2033 nautical miles west south west from Perth in the central southern Indian Ocean.  There are currently no communications with Wild Eyes.

The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre at La Reunion, operated by France, is coordinating the search & rescue response overall as Wild Eyes is in La Reunion’s search and rescue region.  Australia offered to assist if required.

La Reunion has requested air search assistance to establish the situation on scene, recognising that the remoteness of the location would delay any ship response.  The most rapid means to get an aircraft on scene is to send a QANTAS A-330 Airbus passenger aircraft from Perth.  The aircraft should be on scene mid-afternoon Friday 11 June.  The aircraft mission will be to attempt to communicate with Ms Sunderland from high level and, if necessary, to descend and make visual contact to assess the circumstances.

La Reunion is coordinating three seaborne responses.  A fishing vessel can be on scene on Saturday afternoon, a French Fisheries Patrol vessel can be on scene on Sunday morning, and an offshore support vessel can be there on Sunday evening.  Each of the three vessels should be capable of conducting a rescue, subject to prevailing weather conditions.

Abby’s Blog

A Note from Abby

Hey everyone,

Sorry I haven’t written in so long as you probably already know I had a pretty rough couple of days. I can’t write much now as I am typing on a french key pad as well as trying to stay seated in a bouncy fishing boat.

The long and the short of it is, well, one long wave, and one short mast (short meaning two inch stub.) I’ll write a more detailed blog later, just wanted to let every one know I am safe and sound on a great big fishing boat headed I am not exactly sure where.

Crazy is the word that really describes everything that has happened best.

Within a few minutes of being on board the fishing boat, I was already getting calls from the press. I don’t know how they got the number but it seems everybody is eager to pounce on my story now that something bad has happened.

There are plenty of things people can think of to blame for my situation; my age, the time of year and many more. The truth is, I was in a storm and you don’t sail through the Indian Ocean without getting in at least one storm. It wasn’t the time of year it was just a Southern Ocean storm. Storms are part of the deal when you set out to sail around the world.

As for age, since when does age create gigantic waves and storms?

I keep hitting the wrong keys and am still trying to get over the fact that I will never see my Wild Eyes again. So Ill write more later.




Designer: Jutson Yacht design, Australia

Builder: A.S.A. Yachts PTY, Australia

Model: Open 40, solo

Built: 2001

LOA: 40′ / 12.19m

Beam: 11.21′ / 3.41m

Displacement: 7407 lbs. / 3360 Kg.

Ballast: 2094 lbs / 950 Kg.

Tonnage: 16 Gross, 15 Net

Engines: Yanmar – 18hp

E Glass with Kevlar reinforcement built to IMOCA standards
5 Watertight Compartments with Stern Escape Hatch and Crash Bulkead
Port and Starboard 750 liter Water Ballast Tanks
Keel Trim Tab for Upwind Optimization
Fixed Keel Strut with T Bulb
Galley to Starboard with Propane Stove with Burner, Stainless Steel Sink, Ice Box

Carbon Spar, Triple Spreader, Stainless Rod Rigging, Jack Mast Stepping System
Anderson Winches
Fredericksen Turning and Fairlead Blocks
Spinlock Clutchs
ProFurl Roller Furling System for Genoas and Staysails
Lazy Jacks

Full Centerline Amidship Navigation Suites with Full Compliment of Electronics for Trans Oceanic Sailing
12 Volt DC and 110 Volt AC Electrical Systems
Battery Parallel Switch
3 Batteries
Solar Panels
Two Wind Generators
Two Coursemaster CM850i Hydraulic Autopilots with remote
Deck Mounted and Below Deck Repeaters and Control Heads (includes remote)
Built in Computer Monitor and CPU in Navigation Suite
Raytheon Radar and Chart Plotter
Thrane & Thrane Sailor 250
Permanent SAT Phone Antenna
2 Below Deck Rudder Mounted Hydraulic Auto Pilots (CourseMaster)
Control Heads (with windvane mode)
Fully Integrated with GPS
ICOM M710 SSB Radion and Antenna
Horizon Intrepid VHF and Handheld VHF
Energy Monitor and Controller
BilgAlarm, BA4R-4W, Four Sensor Bilge Alarm System

2010 UK Halsey Spectra/Carbon Tape Drive with double-sided taffeta Main
2010 UK Halsey Spectra/Carbon Tape Drive with double-sided taffeta Genoa
Code 0
Storm Jib
2010 UK Halsey Spectra/Carbon Tape Drive with double-sided taffeta Stay Sail
All with Individual Custom Socks

Custom Carbon Emergency Rudder and Tiller Cassette
Custom Cradle
Pressure Fresh Water
Hand Held Shower
Diesel Heater
Two Anchors and rode / chain
2 Fresh Water Tanks

As ” BTC Velocity ” she sailed in and completed the Around Alone 2002 finishing 2nd
2005 and 2007 Bermuda 1-2 (2007 Finished 2nd)

Related Previous Posts:

The Sinking Of The SV Concordia: “A Real Life Titanic”

Skidaway Island: The Eye of the Beholder

Entrant to Delegal Creek Marina

Related Links:

Sunderland’s Yacht Management

Maritime Law Association

Cruisers Forum: Duty to Rescue

Ship Guide: Jones Act


PR Inside: Is Abby Sunderland just another reality TV scammer?

Anthony Robert Martin-Trigona (Contrarian Commentary)

VCS: T.O. teen sailor is planning to write a book about her voyage

Abby Sunderland’s solo bid was ‘too risky’ says American Sailing Association


LB Comment:  I’m not sure what to make of the above updated links and Mr Martin‘s commentary.  Even if “factually correct”, marketing a reality based TV show and writing a book does not take away Abby’s courage and adventurous spirit.  For reasons I don’t understand, several media outlets have been attacking this family since day one.