A 16-year-old girl who set sail from Marina del Rey in a failed bid to become the youngest sailor to circumnavigate the world alone has gone missing in the Indian Ocean. Abby Sunderland of Thousand Oaks used her satellite phone this morning to tell her family her boat motor failed in a storm and she would work on fixing it and call back, but she never did. Later, an emergency beacon on her boat began signaling that she was in trouble, and a search was launched.
Sunderland's racing yacht, Wild Eyes, is a 40-foot sailboat with a small bunk, a water-maker and store of freeze-dried food. Her 18-year-old brother said the family last talked to Sunderland about 5 this morning when she said she was in "quite a heavy storm" in the southern Indian Ocean.
Sunderland left Marina del Rey on Jan. 23 and originally planned to be at sea for five or six months. Having turned 16 years old Oct. 19, it was her last chance to beat the record held by 17-year-old Mike Perham. Her quest ended in April when she sailed into Cape Town, South Africa,
for boat repairs.