Abby Sunderland Defends Herself On Morning Television


Teen sailor Abby Sunderland appeared on The Today Show this morning to discuss her failed attempt to sail around the world and defend her decision to keep on sailing.

Abby was accompanied to the interview by her father, Laurence Sunderland, and her brother Zac, who, at 17, became the first person under 18 to sail around the globe. Not to be outdone by her older brother, in January 2010, Abby set out to break the record in her boat “Wild Eyes.” On June 10, the 16-year-old went missing at sea. She had hit bad weather in the southern Indian Ocean, which crippled her vessel, leaving her with a broken mast. Fortunately, she was still able to radio for help, and it was only a few days before Abby was rescued. She had enough food and heat in her yacht, which was “damaged but seaworthy,” to tide her over for several days.

In the clip below, Abby describes her reactions to the storm and the subsequent rescue. Though she kept her head about her, she knew enough to realize that she was in serious danger. She was stranded in a difficult-to-reach part of the Indian Ocean, with only limited supplies. She admits that she “wasn’t sure when anybody would come, if anybody would come… In the back of my mind I knew that there was a possibility that nobody would come.”

Fortunately, someone did come. But the rescue effort cost the Australian government $1.1 million. This fact, along with her father’s potentially fame-whoring ways, sparked a backlash against the brave teen. It has gotten bad enough that Meredit Vieira asks Abby: “How do you handle the criticism that has been leveled against you? Why do you think so many people have been critical of what you did?” Her answer, below.

We have to hand it to Abby for not quitting, and not letting the haters get her down. And as Zac points out, she may not have made it around the globe, but she still has a lot to be proud of.

Related: The Official Abby Sunderland Backlash Begins, 16-Year-Old Girl Goes Missing While Sailing Around The World, Teen Sailor Abby Sunderland Found Alive In Indian Ocean

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