Rescued Teen Sailor: 'Since When Does Age Create Gigantic Waves and Storms?'

'Lost' teen: 'Since when does age create gigantic waves and storms?'

June 12, 2010 — -- For the first time since she was rescued from the middle of the Indian Ocean early Saturday, a California teenager is describing her ordeal at sea.

"It's been a little bit crazy the past few days, everything's happened pretty fast, but I'm really lucky that there was a boat that could come and get me where I was," Abby Sunderland, 16, told a reporter from Australia radio.

Sunderland was rescued by the crew aboard a French fishing vessel just before 3 a.m. Pacific time Saturday, some 2,000 miles off the coast of Australia. The teen called her parents back home in Thousand Oaks, Calif., a short time later.

"We are obviously greatly relieved Abigail is aboard the recue vessel. We were all so sleepy eyed and tired until her call came in this morning," Laurence Sunderland, Abby's father, told reporters Saturday outside the family's home.

"Our eyeballs were hanging out of our head just bumping into the walls and then some sort of little zeal came into us once we got speaking to Abigail and we are all very relieved," he said. "It's been a long couple of days. And we'll be glad to get her back here."

Sunderland will spend the next week or so traveling to Reunion Island, a French territory east of Madagascar. Aside from a few bumps and bruises, her family says she is fine.

On Thursday, rough seas tore the mast from her sailboat and disabled her satellite communications, leaving her out of touch with her family. She set off emergency beacons, and rescuers in a chartered jet spotted Sunderland's boat later that day. She says she was never frightened.

Teen Attempted to Sail Solo, Non-Stop Around the World

"When stuff's going on out there, you can't really get too scared about it, I mean it doesn't do any good. You do what you need to do," she said. "Keep the boat afloat, do all that, and there's really not a whole lot more you can do. Getting all worried and scared about it really doesn't help anything."

The teenager was attempting to become the youngest person to sail solo, non-stop, around the world. It's a record once held by her brother Zac Sunderland, who sailed around the world at age 17.

"We are relieved and thankful that Abigail is safe and in good hands. And yet at the same time a little bit of disappointment. But what really matters here is Abigail's safety," Laurence Sunderland said.

The teenager wasted no time blasting critics who say she was too young to be sailing around the world alone in the first place.

On her blog, she wrote, "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.

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

As for her future sailing plans, Sunderland is undeterred.

"I'm definitely going to sail around the world again, give it another try," she said. "I don't know when I'll get another chance to do it but I've wanted to sail around the world for years and I'm definitely going to do it at some time."

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