A couple of weeks back, 16-year old Abby Sunderland set out to sail solo around the world, and in the process, pursue the record for the youngest person to achieve that record. After waiting out storms along the California coast, the teenager left Marina Del Rey, and was heading heading south on a route that was designed to minimize her time out on the water. It turns out, Abby ran into problems only a few days after starting, and was forced to go into port to address the issues.
Abby and her boat, the Wild Eyes, sailed into Cabo san Lucas, Mexico on February 2nd, electing to go a shore because she was having problems with her solar panels and wind generators, which were not producing enough energy to power all of the things she needed to be working properly for the voyage ahead. As a result, she was running her alternators more than she expected, and which meant she was burning her limited fuel faster than expected. To address these problems, more fuel was loaded on board, and more batteries were added to her array, which should allow her to keep all her gadgets and necessary equipment fully powered.
Additionally, the support crew also fixed a few other minor issues with the boat, namely repairing a faulty GPS antenna, installing a loud alarm to alert Abby of oncoming traffic, and fixed a fault plug that was giving inaccurate wind speed ratings. All told, more than 50 hours was spent making repairs and adjustments while she was in port, hopefully allowing the rest of the trip to go off without a hitch.
On Saturday morning, the Wild Eyes returned to the sea and Abby officially re-started her circumnavigation attempt. She’ll now plan on returning to Cabo in six months time, making that her new official beginning and ending point. So far, it seems that the repairs have done a world of good, as she reports on her blog that she’s making good time, and the ship is performing at her level of expectations. Let’s hope it continues to stay that way, as she estimates that she’ll spend six months at sea completing the voyage.
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