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SAILING

Zac Sunderland's younger sister to try to break his sailing record

Abby Sunderland, who will turn 16 in October, is hoping to embark on a nonstop, unassisted voyage in November after brother set record at 17.

August 19, 2009|Pete Thomas

A month after Zac Sunderland, at 17, became the youngest person to sail around the world by himself, his younger sister has announced plans to try to break that record.

Abby Sunderland, who will turn 16 in October, is hoping to embark on a nonstop, unassisted voyage in November aboard a 40-foot cruising vessel, and complete the trip in about six months. First, however, she will have to land a sponsor to help cover the $350,000 cost of the odyssey.

"I've been wanting to do this since I was 13, and when I was 13 there was nobody doing this," she told the Associated Press. "So it's kind of like right as I'm about to finally get to do it, all these other kids start popping up doing it."

Zac's journey lasted 13 months and included many stops. England's Mike Perham, who is a few months younger than Zac, is close to completing his around-the-world adventure and if he's successful he will become the youngest to solo-circumnavigate the planet. Australia's Jessica Watson, 16, is preparing for a September launch for what she hopes will be a nonstop, unassisted journey, aboard a 34-foot boat named Pink Lady.

Laurence and Marianne Sunderland were strongly criticized by some for allowing their oldest son to go off on such a potentially dangerous adventure.

But Zac proved to be a capable sailor and Abby is similarly accomplished and says she is confident she can make it safely around the world.

-- Pete Thomas

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