- The sailboat Wild Eyes was seen floating off Australia on January 1.
- It has been nine years since the sailboat was abandoned.
A sailboat abandoned more than eight years ago by a teenager trying to become the youngest to sail around the world solo has been located thousands of miles from where it was abandoned.
Abby Sunderland was just 16 when she left California aboard her sailboat Wild Eyes with the goal of becoming the youngest person to tour the world solo.
Storms between Africa and Australia broke the mast of the sailboat, forcing the young teenager to abandon the boat and her dream. She spent the next two days on the paralyzed vessel before being rescued by a French commercial fishing vessel on June 12, 2010.
Over eight years later on New Years Eve, Wild Eyes was discovered floating upside down off the coast of Australia.
South Australia Police say the boat has been spotted by a tuna spotting plane about 11 miles south of Kangaroo Island.
Sunderland is now 25 and expecting her fourth child, reports the Smithsonian. She told Australian ABC the news was a shock.
“My heart skipped a beat. It brought back many memories – good and not so good – but it was great to see it after so long,” she said. “It looked a little scary, but that’s to be expected after so long.”
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Oceanographer David Griffin told NPR it’s likely the capsized sailboat has completed its Trip around the world and could very well be on his second trip.
“Eight or nine years is far too slow for a direct trip,” said Griffin, who was part of a team searching for the lost Malaysia Airlines flight 370. “The simulated particles used in our search for MH370, which appears to be in a similar location, I have already taken a tour.”
Sunderland has said she would like to get the Sailboat of Fate back, but acknowledges it may not be feasible.
“I would like to know what’s inside and if any of the video equipment is still there,” she said. “It would be great to try to get the boat back, but given the costs I don’t think that will happen.”