Abby Sunderland says dismasting nothing to do with age

Solo, round-the-world teen Abby Sunderland has been rescued in the Indian Ocean, after she lost her mast in rough weather.

The American 16-year-old was more than 2,000 miles from the coasts of both Africa and Australia when she manually set off her distress beacons on Thursday.

But after she was saved by the French fishing vessel Ile de la Reunion on Saturday, she denied that the dismasting had anything to do with her age.

She wrote on her blog: ‘Since when does age create gigantic waves and storms?

‘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.

‘The long and the short of it is, well, one long wave, and one short mast.’

Abby will now spend a week on board the fishing vessel, travelling to Reunion Island, a French territory east of Madagascar.

But she vowed to complete a circumnavigation some day.

She told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation: ‘I’m definitely going to sail around the world again or really give it another try.

‘I’ve wanted to sail around the world for years and am definitely going to do it sometime.’

The Californian teenager set sail in January from Los Angeles in an attempt to become the youngest person to sail around the world alone without stopping.

Her older brother, Zac, last year became the first person under-18 to complete a circumnavigation with stops.

She was forced to make a stop in South Africa in April after her autopilot failed, but decided to continue with her voyage and had just reached the halfway point when her boat succumbed to the weather.

Her father, Laurence Sunderland, a boat builder and sailing instructor, defended the decision to allow his daughter to attempt the circumnavigation.

He said: ‘This was not a flippant decision. Abigail’s been raised on the ocean all her life.

‘She’s lived over half her life on yachts. This is like second nature to Abigail.’