Unsinkable: A Young Woman's Courageous Battle on the High Seas

Unsinkable: A Young Woman's Courageous Battle on the High Seas

by Abby Sunderland, Lynn Vincent

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Abby Sutherland grew up sailing. Her father, Laurence, a shipwright, and her mother, Marianne, wanted their kids to develop responsibility, to see other cultures, to experience the world instead of watching it on TV. So they took them sailing down the coast of Mexico... for three years.
When Abby was thirteen, she began helping her father deliver boats and soon was sailing solo. She loved being on the open ocean, the spray in her face, the wind in her hair. She began to dream of sailing the world.  
But fewer people have successfully solo-circumnavigated the globe than have traveled into space. It is a challenge so immense that many have died trying, and all have been pushed beyond every physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual limit.
In Unsinkable, you will follow Abby into the depths through a gripping and evocative firsthand account that starts prior to her departure, travels through her daring (and sometimes near-death) encounters on the open sea, to her dramatic rescue in the remotest part of the Indian Ocean. Today, when the most productive thing a teenager may do is play videogames, Abby's courage and tenacity shows us all what can happen when we choose to challenge our own limits, embrace faith, and aim for what our critics say is impossible.
It was pitch-black out and whitewater was crashing over the boat. The wintry wind screamed across the deck, and I could tell it was now holding up near fifty knots. Imagine standing on the roof of a car that's driving down the freeway.  That's how hard it was blowing.
At that moment, a huge gust hit the mainsail like a train. The boat heeled over to port as if a giant hand had smacked her down, and I tumbled over the top of the mainsail toward the water...
On January 23, 2010, sixteen-year-old Abby Sunderland set sail from Marina del Rey, California, in an attempt to become the youngest person to sail solo, nonstop, and unassisted around the world.  Immediately, her trip sparked controversy. What was a girl her age doing undertaking such a voyage? What were her parents thinking?
Abby's critics predicted she'd make it a few weeks at most. But sailing south, she proved them wrong and became the youngest person to solo around Cape Horn, the "Mt. Everest of sailing." Crossing the Southern and Atlantic oceans, she battled vicious storms and equipment breakdowns?making one critical repair literally with a nail file and some line. Abby bested the wicked waters at the southern tip of Africa and then entered the Indian Ocean?all twenty-seven million square miles of it.
Even less than a hundred years ago, having your boat become disabled in the middle of the Indian's immense rolling reaches was as good as a death sentence. The odds are better now, but not much. It was here that Abby Sutherland encountered the violent storms that would test her mettle and her will to survive, and change her life forever.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400203093
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 04/11/2011
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 440,930
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Abby Sunderland is the second of eight children in a family of sailors and adventurers. In 2007, at age 13, Abby discovered her dream of sailing solo around the world and was inspired by her brother Zac's successful circumnavigation in 2009. Her own journey, in 2010, ended in the Indian Ocean when a rogue wave rolled her sailboat, Wild Eyes . Abby now shares her story of tenacity and courage to audiences everywhere.

Lynn Vincent is the New York Times best-selling writer ofHeaven Is for Real and Same Kind of Different As Me. The author or coauthor of ten books, Lynn has sold 12 million copies since 2006. She worked for eleven years as a writer and editor at the national news biweekly WORLD magazine and is a U.S. Navy veteran.

Read an Excerpt


By Abby Sunderland Lynn Vincent

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2011 Abigail Sunderland a/k/a Abby Sunderland
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4002-0308-6

Chapter One



"Look, Dad! A panga!" Abby called to Laurence as they made their approach to Isla Guadalupe off the western coast of Baja, California, the northernmost state in Mexico. The island was home to fewer than fifteen people, mostly abalone and lobster fishermen. It would be the Sunderlands' first port of call on what had long been a family dream: cruising the Mexican coast in their own boat.

Dusk was falling softly as Amazing Grace, the Sunderlands' Aleutian 51, slipped quietly past Isla Guadalupe's southern end into majestic Melpomene Cove. Laurence and Marianne, along with Zac, then 10; Abby, 8; Toby, 4; and Jessica, 3, gathered at the bow and peered up in awe. To port, orange-tinted cliffs towered seven hundred feet, sheltering the cove from the sea; to starboard, sheer rock faces soared skyward. Below, even in the gloaming light, Laurence could see fifty feet down through the green water straight to the ocean floor.

Now the panga Abby had spotted motored closer. It was the kind of long, narrow skiff that forms the backbone of the Mexican fishing industry, and Laurence could see a man standing astride the beam, waving both arms like a signalman.

"Hola, senor!" the man called. "Cerveza para langosta? Cerveza para langosta?"

Laurence flashed Marianne a puzzled look. Everybody from Southern California knows that cerveza means beer. But what in the world was langosta? As the panga drew near, the Sunderlands saw the answer: the man was a lobster fisherman and his day's catch was scuttling around in the bottom of his boat. Several dozen Pacific lobsters, rosy brown in color, crawled on top of one another like giant ants in a colony.

"Wow," Zac said. "Look at all those!" Abby, Jessica, and Toby peered down into the panga, fascinated.

"Ah, langosta!" Laurence said. "Lobster! Si, senor!" Mentally searching through his limited Spanish vocabulary, he came up with a number. "We'll take four ... cuarenta!"

The man's weathered brown face cracked into a wide grin. "Cuarenta! Muy bien!"

"No, espera! Espera!" Marianne called to the man, using the Spanish word for wait. Then to Laurence: "Um, I think cuarenta means forty."

"No, wait, wait!" Laurence cried to the fisherman, waving his arms. "Espera! Espera!"

But the fisherman had already begun pitching lobsters up onto Amazing Grace, where they scuttled across the deck like desperados in a prison break. The Sunderland kids broke into fits of giggles, bending over the new passengers to follow their progress and dancing back and forth to keep their toes out of claw reach.

Between the Sunderlands' broken Spanish and the fisherman's scant English, the Sunderlands wound up with a dozen fresh lobsters for the price of a twelve-pack of beer that someone had given them back on Catalina Island before they set sail.

Laurence gathered the lobsters in a bucket and assembled the kids in the cockpit where they watched wide-eyed as he expertly twisted off the crustaceans' heads and chucked them over the side. A pot of boiling water later, along with garlic butter for dipping, the Sunderlands enjoyed the first of three years of seaborne feasts.

In 2001, after three attempts, broken autopilots, and an IRS audit, the Sunderlands set sail on the cruise of a lifetime. Not a cruise where you book passage on a big liner, lounge in deck chairs, and gamble in the ship's casino, but cruising, where you sail your own boat from port to port and linger in the ones you like.

Laurence had just finished two seasons working as harbor patrolman in the Emerald Bay area of Santa Catalina Island. Harbor patrolmen are responsible for watching over the bay in which they are stationed. They take radio calls from boats coming into the bay and assign them moorings and also assist boats in trouble in their area.

Laurence brought to the job a lifetime of experience. Born in England in a town called New Milton, he had grown up in what he calls a "golden triangle" of sailing. New Milton is near the coastal town of Lymington, which is directly across the solent from the Isle of Wight, the original site of the America's Cup race. Directly east of Lymington is Portsmouth, the site of several major yacht races, such as the Fastnet and the Whitbread.

The son of a piano tuner who also ran a commercial fishing business, Laurence had his first boat before his first bicycle. It was a dinghy that he kept shipshape. From the age of about ten, Laurence and his friends would row the dinghy up the channels off the Lymington River near their home, beach it on the sedge banks, and hunt for seagull eggs. Then they'd build a fire and fry up the eggs for breakfast. While sailing with his father, Laurence developed a passion for the sea. At age sixteen, he finished secondary school—the American equivalent of high school—but decided against college. An outdoorsman all his life, he hated sitting in a classroom, so he decided to turn his passion into an occupation and began an apprenticeship as a boat builder. From master tradesmen, he learned every aspect of the field: sheet metal, fiberglassing, electronics, plumbing, welding, and both construction and finish carpentry.

By the time he was nineteen, though, a newly enacted luxury tax had begun to cripple the British boating industry. So, Laurence moved to Australia, where he worked in commercial carpentry and picked up a couple of boat-building gigs. He also became involved in music, with a band called Xyphoid, as manager, songwriter, and lead singer. The band enjoyed moderate success in Australia, so in 1990, they set out to conquer the music capitals of the world, including Los Angeles.

That's where Laurence encountered the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. He had just cut some recordings at an L.A. studio and come away with an awful headache. While in Australia, he had discovered that surfing was great medicine, so he drove over to Venice Beach. Just as he tossed his towel on the beach and parked his surfboard in the sand, Laurence saw a slim, fit young woman in her early twenties sitting near the water's edge. She seemed to be keeping an eye on four teenage boys who were wading in the whitewater.

Wearing shorts and a T-shirt, the woman had long, light brown hair with hints of strawberry. Instantly smitten, Laurence angled for an opening. "You look too young to have such old children," was what he finally came up with.

The woman smiled. "Oh, these aren't my kids. I'm working."

She introduced herself as Marianne. A recent graduate of Cal State Northridge, she had a degree in psychology. The kids were from a group home for teens from troubled families, Marianne explained. She was their counselor.

For her part, Marianne was charmed by the blond, blue-eyed surfer with the Aussie accent. They agreed to meet later for a date, but neither had a pen and paper to exchange contact information. Laurence was so determined to see Marianne again that he used his car key to carve her phone number right into the leather of one of his high-top tennis shoes.

While Xyphoid showed promise in Australia and Los Angeles, the band eventually folded. So Laurence returned to his trade, opening Sunderland Yacht Management in 1990. He married Marianne the following year.

Later, as their family grew, so did Laurence's dream of family cruising. In 1998, when the opportunity arose for Laurence to work as a harbor patrolman at Catalina Island, the Sunderlands felt it would be an ideal way to test both their boat and their family for life at sea.

At Emerald Bay they lived on a mooring with no dock or shore power, no grocery store, and no laundromat. The arrangement gave them the opportunity to test the Aleutian's ability to generate solar, wind, and diesel power—and test the Sunderlands' ability to conserve power. The family learned to provision—or buy supplies—for two and three weeks at a time. They made their own water with an onboard desalinator.

The kids loved Emerald Bay. Most days, Marianne would row to the island and take them to the beach. Sometimes Zac and Abby would swim to shore or row Zac's little sailing dinghy over on their own. All the kids learned to snorkel, fish, and kayak.

But since Laurence's harbor patrol duties lasted year-round, the children also had academic learning to do. A little more than twenty miles off the coast of Los Angeles, Santa Catalina's rich history gave Marianne material for interesting homeschool lessons. Originally, the island was home to a native tribe called the Pimu. Spanish explorer Juan Cabrillo was the first European to walk the island's shores in 1542. He christened it San Salvador. Another explorer, Sebastian Vizcaino, rediscovered the island in 1602 and named it Santa Catalina after the Catholic saint, Catherine.

The next three centuries drew a parade of colorful visitors—from Yankee smugglers to the Aleut tribe of what was then part of Russia but is now Alaska. Pirates also favored Santa Catalina because they could hide out in its secluded coves. Laurence Sunderland preferred to charm his kids with pirate stories, while Marianne created hands-on science lessons about the island's wildlife, like deer mice and island fox, and history lessons about the Aleutians, who had come to the island and hunted the otters to extinction.

Living on the boat during Laurence's harbormaster years was the family's preparation for a real family cruise that they hoped might end with them sailing into Laurence's home port of Lymington. Before undertaking a long voyage, it was important to the Sunderlands to make sure the family could live on the boat and be happy and functional. In Laurence's mind, there would be nothing worse than taking your wife and kids cruising if they were going to suffer the whole time or be unable to adjust to life at sea. He wanted the cruise to be something that was uplifting and exciting, something that would draw his family close together. Both Laurence and Marianne also wanted their kids to develop responsibility, to see other cultures, and to experience the world instead of watching it on TV.

The most important part of the equation was safety. Laurence made sure the kids understood being at sea was anything but a lark. The cruising life can be quite mundane for long periods of time, but when things go wrong, they can go wrong quickly.

"Out there, if you're forgetful or disobedient, you don't get a time-out," he explained without theatrics. "If you don't tie down your surfboard, you lose your surfboard. If you don't tie up your dinghy, you lose your dinghy. If you slip and fall and you're not tethered, and the boat is moving and no one sees you, you could fall overboard and be gone."

On October 21, after a last push to prepare their vessel, the fifty-one-foot Aleutian cutter-rigged sailboat Amazing Grace, the Sunderlands—Captain Laurence, First Mate Marianne, and Able Seamen Zac, Abby, Toby, and Jessie—set sail for Mexico.

Laurence and Marianne were both amazed at how their children handled the passages between ports. They entertained themselves by building forts, reading books, or pretending to be Indians, and never seemed bored. At only two and a half, Jessica was the most sure-footed, having learned to walk while living aboard a boat. (As a comical result, on land Jessica rarely walked in a straight line.) Zac and Abby were both cheerful, eager to help with sails and lines and galley chores. But poor Toby never quite got over his seasickness. The Sunderlands watched him closely, hoping that he would rebound after a day or two at sea like the other kids.

One key element of the cruising life was shared responsibilities. Grocery shopping, for example, was an errand that required all hands on deck. Marianne, Laurence, and the four kids would pile into the dinghy, everyone wearing a backpack. From anchorage in the bay of Tenacatita, for example, Laurence would motor the dinghy to shore and from there the family clambered out and walked to the bus stop where they caught a jalopy bus to town. From Tenacatita, the bus rumbled through the dusty village of La Manzanilla and on to Melaque, a center for local commerce. Las tiendas, the stores, were squat stucco buildings with the proprietors' names hand-painted on the chipped plaster walls. Inside, Marianne and the kids dug scoops into oak barrels filled with arroz, frijoles, and azúcar (rice, beans, and sugar) and filled plastic Hefty bags with staple supplies.

Marianne showed Abby and Zac how to select the best papayas and bananas, and all four kids loved the treat of raw sugar cane, which they could peel and chew until it produced a light sweetness.

Once, in Melaque, a four-year-old Mexican girl, keeping her mama company in one of the tiendas, introduced Abby to the fuzzy yellow chick she was playing with. Abby fell in love and spent that whole night making a list of possible names for the pet chicken she was suddenly bound and determined to get. (Back in America, a couple of years later, she did get one: a free-range chicken hand-raised by a neighbor who had taught the bird to sit next to humans and nibble grain out of their hands.)

After all the shopping, the last stop was the tortilleria, where a chattering klatch of short, round Mexican ladies patted cornmeal mash into flat discs and tossed them onto a griddle where they transformed into soft, warm, chewy delights. Marianne would buy a dozen tortillas for seven pesos, and she and the kids would eat them all on the bus ride back to the dinghy. It was the kind of little ritual that lifelong memories are made of.

While the family could buy enough staples to last awhile, fresh food ran out quickly. Luckily, from Tenacatita they could motor their dinghy up a saltwater stream under a canopy of mangroves to an enchanting bay called the Aquarium because of its abundance of bright tropical fish. There were no hotels or businesses to speak of there, only a couple of palapas sheltering tiny outdoor restaurants. Once a week, a man driving a produce truck would rumble in to supply the restaurants. The cruisers anchored at Tenacatita knew this and would motor through the mangroves to buy his goods.

For the Sunderlands, the dinghy ride was always long and a bit wild, as they buzzed slowly under low-hanging mangroves flitting with blue-footed boobies and tiny, bright finches. Every now and then, the kids would spot a crocodile dozing on a bank-side boulder. But the crocs seemed annoyed by the humans and, slipping into the water with a single powerful tail-stroke, were gone.

Emerging from the mangroves was like arriving in paradise. After beaching their dinghy at the end of the river, the Sunderlands hiked across a sandy dune that led to the main attraction: the Aquarium. A shimmering turquoise inlet, the Aquarium's crystal waters were as clear as glass. A ring of sugar-white sand surrounded the inlet, and palm trees encircled the sand.

When the produce man arrived in his rickety truck, Marianne and Laurence gave the children pesos and watched the kind old man patiently teach the kids Spanish words for things like cabbage, carrots, and potatoes. Then, in Spanish, he would tell them the price and they would pay.

"Gracias, señor!" they'd chirp.

The Sunderlands loved watching their kids live life. There was no TV and there were no video games. Instead there were crocodiles and magnificent birds and people from other cultures, like the fruit and vegetable man with his colorful money and exotic names for ordinary things.

And with few stores and luxuries, the Sunderland kids learned a lesson Laurence and Marianne wanted them to learn from the beginning: to appreciate simple pleasures and, when no pleasures were readily apparent, to make do. For example, while cruising there weren't any bakeries with twenty kinds of donuts to choose from on a Saturday morning. Instead, there were dough balls with nutmeg in them. Marianne taught Abby how to puff them in the galley kitchen in a little simmering oil, then dust them with cinnamon and sugar. Not fancy, but a warm, sweet treat to remember.


Excerpted from UNSINKABLE by Abby Sunderland Lynn Vincent Copyright © 2011 by Abigail Sunderland a/k/a Abby Sunderland. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


PROLOGUE: THE INDIAN OCEAN....................IX CHAPTER 1: ISLA GUADALUPE Baja, California, Mexico: 2001....................1
CHAPTER 2: ABBY'S DREAM Marina del Rey and Thousand Oaks, California: 2006....................15
CHAPTER 3: BOAT HUNTING Thousand Oaks, California: 2008–2009....................19
CHAPTER 4: WILD EYES Eastern Seaboard and Ensenada, Mexico: 2009....................31
CHAPTER 5: RACEBOAT REFIT Marina del Rey, California: October–December 2009....................37
CHAPTER 6: CRITICS AND "REALITY" Thousand Oaks, California: November 2009–January 2010....................43
CHAPTER 7: FAIR WINDS AND FOLLOWING SEAS Marina del Rey, California: January 2010....................57
CHAPTER 8: DOLPHINS AND SUNSETS Marina del Rey to Cabo: January 2010....................65
CHAPTER 9: STARTING OVER Cabo San Lucas, Baja California, Mexico: February 2010....................77
CHAPTER 10: ABBY THE SHELLBACK Central and South American Coast: February–March 2010....................87
CHAPTER 11: AROUND THE HORN The Southern Ocean: March 2010....................99
CHAPTER 12: CLOSE CALL Cape Horn and the South Atlantic: March–May 2010....................121
CHAPTER 13: TUNE-UP AND REFIT Cape Town, south Africa: May 2010....................133
CHAPTER 14: GOING UP THE MAST The Indian Ocean: May 2010....................143
CHAPTER 15: NIGHTMARE AT SEA 40.513 South/74.457 East: June 2010....................157
CHAPTER 16: HOMECOMING Thousand Oaks, California: June–July 2010....................193
THE VOYAGE OF WILD EYES MAP....................202
WILD EYES ILLUSTRATION....................204
ABOUT THE AUTHORS....................221

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Unsinkable: A Young Woman's Courageous Battle on the High Seas 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
BaronBookReview More than 1 year ago
Unsinkable is the autobiography of Abby Sunderland-a 16-year-old young woman whose dream of sailing around the world by herself finally comes true. Normally, I don't read autobiographies---they just don't keep my interest. But when I read the overview of Unsinkable, I was surprised at how interested I was to read this book. I love to read about mature, courageous young people who have a clear goal and purpose in life. Many teenagers don't have these traits and expect the people around them to hand them everything they need without truly working for it. I enjoyed how the book was laid out-from three different points of view. The narrator helped by filling in the technical information and also giving background on media involvement, family history, and technical sailing information. Abby's point of view is more detail oriented about how she felt during the preparation of the trip and the day-by-day experiences she endured. After the grueling premature conclusion of her trip, there is also the point of view of view of those who helped save her. This is a unique way of putting the book together and it was just right for telling Abby's story. Abby is a lucky girl to have such a supportive family for her lifelong dream. There aren't many parents who would let their child go into a feat such as this. Can you imagine sending your teenager out-alone-to navigate one of the most powerful elements on earth? The sea is unpredictable and volatile and there's no control over its erratic behavior. I'm sure Abby was completely prepared for most contingencies, but let's face it, you don't know if you are until the situation arises. On the flip side, I'm sure her father was very protective and concerned about her trip. However, I got the impression that he subconsciously pushed her decision for the fame and notoriety that comes with such an attempt. He'd felt it before when his son made the same trip and it's almost like an aphrodisiac-he wanted that feeling again. You could feel his ego creeping in to almost every decision. I found the book mostly interesting but it was a very difficult read for me. I have no knowledge of sailing and even though the authors spell out many terms and technical points, parts of the book were like reading a manual. I'd start getting into a section of the book when the authors would throw in paragraphs to pages of detail and I would just zone out. You could tell Abby's point of view was told by a typical teenager with the jargon & lingo inherent in a 16-year-old. I would have liked to have seen more in-depth, maybe spiritual (since they professed to have much faith) insights during her journey. Yes, the experience made her see she was strong and courageous, but what made that happen? I'm going to give this book 3 out of 5 stars. The overall story was pretty good if you could get through the technical portions and the father's desire for recognition. However, if you enjoy sailing or more technical reading, I think your rating might be higher. I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Steve_Dom More than 1 year ago
Unskinkable tells the true story of sixteen-year-old Abby Sunderland and her remarkable attempt at becoming the youngest person ever to sail solo around the world. Abby Sunderland comes from a family of sailors and adventurers and at the age of 13 discovered her dream of sailing solo around the world and went out to accomplish her dream in 2010. You will join in on her story prior to her departure and through her account travel with her through her journey and adventures at sea and her dramatic rescue in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The book is fun and entertaining. And while it's not exactly my type of book, I can say that I enjoyed reading it, appreciating the challenges it takes to set and accomplish a goal and ride the up and down waves of faith, faith and desperation and come through to tell the take. I admire her courage and ambition in this true, real life story that tells not only what was happening to her along the way, but also goes back and forth to what was going on with her family, in the media and the world overall as the different events unfolded.
Kim_from_Canada More than 1 year ago
I just finished this tale of adventure, excitement and perseverance. I loved it! Unsinkable, written by Abby Sunderland (with Lynn Vincent) is the story of how this remarkable young woman made an attempt to be the youngest person to ever solo circumnavigate the globe, non-stop and unassisted. She was in the news for several months during the early part of 2010 for her travels...so the ending should have been rather anti-climatic when it is a real life story - she didn't make it. However, the entire story had me reading each page with delight and feeling some of the excitement, frustration and fear that Abby describes from her travels. Cheering her on a year after her adventure was done. Not only did I enjoy this book, I had to compete with my husband to have time to read it. He loved it, too! Next, my 11 yo daughter is looking forward to it. Admittedly, the technical terms tend to drag some of the material down, but I can highly recommend the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it.
TammyPhillips on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! Unsinkable, by Abby Sunderland and Lynn Vincent, is full of aspirations, adventure, action, challenge, vibrant descriptions, hope, adversity, success, growth, and so much more. Sixteen year old, Abby, shares the journey of her attempt to sail solo around the world. She reveals her experience with her supporters and with those who offered great criticism. She describes her longing for the sea, the satisfaction she feels as she conquors it and the frustrations she encountered when it was overpowering. Abby's descriptions of the weather conditions while on her sail were vivid and so engaging, that although I knew she survived, I was on the edge of my seat while reading. I find great admiration for the Sunderland parents. They have found a way to raise not just a couple, but eight children to be intelligent, level-headed problem solvers. They have provided opportunities for their children that enable them to use their gifts and mature at their own rate. And the opportunities for Abby only became greater as her sail ended. She has since spoken at NASA, universities, yacht clubs, and more. And last but not least, she is now a published author! I recommend this book to all who yearn to be inspired by real people who face real challenges and who overcome with the blessings of a real God.I would like to thank booksneeze.com for providing me with this complimentary copy of Unsinkable by Abby Sunderland and Lynn Vincent. The opinions I have expressed are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.
billsearth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Many adventure stories do not come across as exciting when retold. This one does. Abby's thinking process, detrmination, and the danger are clear to the reader, as if you were right there with her.The book is very worth reading not just from its excitement but from the mental attitude planning, organization, and perseverance Abby needed to attempt accomplishing such an intimidating and difficult goal. I hope other young people read this story and decide to try to follow their personal goals.
careburpee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My feelings regarding this book telling the tale of Abby Sunderland¿s quest to become the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe were rather mixed. Despite being interested in Abby¿s experience, I had trouble staying engaged and ended up not finishing the book, largely because I had other pressing review commitments that were more in line with my interests. In alternating chapters, the book is narrated from shifting viewpoints, including those of Abby herself, her parents, and others involved with her endeavor, giving the reader the story from a number of different perspectives. I liked the idea, but at times it felt a bit redundant, and I felt that while they were the most relevant, those chapters told in Abby¿s voice seemed a bit juvenile. While I did not particularly connect with this is a book, I think that it would definitely be better appreciated by a junior high school audience. Also, those with a strong background in sailing would likely have an easier time with the book-I struggled a bit, as many of the terms and experiences were simply outside my realm of experience.Despite not finishing the book I still give it three stars, as I think there is a particular audience out there for it, and it was not poorly written; I was simply not the right reader. It is also a very fast read, so even if you would simply like a first person account of Abby¿s fascinating journey, you might consider this one.
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lit-in-the-last-frontier More than 1 year ago
My feelings regarding this book telling the tale of Abby Sunderland’s quest to become the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe were rather mixed. Despite being interested in Abby’s experience, I had trouble staying engaged and ended up not finishing the book, largely because I had other pressing review commitments that were more in line with my interests. In alternating chapters, the book is narrated from shifting viewpoints, including those of Abby herself, her parents, and others involved with her endeavor, giving the reader the story from a number of different perspectives. I liked the idea, but at times it felt a bit redundant, and I felt that while they were the most relevant, those chapters told in Abby’s voice seemed a bit juvenile. While I did not particularly connect with this is a book, I think that it would definitely be better appreciated by a junior high school audience. Also, those with a strong background in sailing would likely have an easier time with the book-I struggled a bit, as many of the terms and experiences were simply outside my realm of experience. Despite not finishing the book I still give it three stars, as I think there is a particular audience out there for it, and it was not poorly written; I was simply not the right reader. It is also a very fast read, so even if you would simply like a first person account of Abby’s fascinating journey, you might consider this one.
hobie18rich More than 1 year ago
A complete twisting of the facts that almost killed a young unprepared girl. It should be about the drive of a father using his kids to gain fame and fortune at the risk of their life. One star is too many for this one.
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Jessica Proepper More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved reading about abbys journey. Once i started reading i didnt want to stop. I hope she gets the chance to sail around the world again.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Libbi_Heart More than 1 year ago
Did you know that the Indian Ocean is 27,000,000 square MILES wide? Imagine being stuck on a boat, in the middle of that vast aura. Imagine Being 16, with a broken mast, and a dead phone. Now you know what it's like to be Abby Sunderland. Abby Sunderland set out on an attempt to be the youngest person to sail solo, unassisted, and nonstop around the world. She baffled her critics, becoming the youngest person to sail solo around Cape Horn, the scariest sailing ground of all. It is no surprise, considering she has been around sailboats her whole life. On January 23rd, 2010, Abby sailed off from Marina Del Ray, determined to achieve her goal. This book had some high and low points, one of the highs being the time when her family to a 3 year family cruise. Just them,the Amazing Grace ( their boat) and the long rolling waves of ocean. They sailed around Mexico for three years, lingering at the ports they liked the most. One of the low points of the books was when Abby asked God how long He had been planning her mast breakdown. Not cool. I also did not enjoy the pride laced throughout the book. Granted, she deserves to have a little pride in what she accomplished, but in this sort of a book, it is hard not to sound prideful even if you're not. I think the book was interesting, but I believe it would've been better had it come out 10 years from now. Overall, I think this book was an interesting book about a courageous 16 year old, and I believe it is a good read for anyone who has sailed before.
WhiteheadsZoo More than 1 year ago
Recently, I received the book Unsinkable written by Abby Sunderland and Lynn Vincent. The book is based on Abby's true life adventure at sea. Unsinkable is about an amazing young lady who sets the goal to sail around the world when she is 13 years old. At 16 she heads out to do just that. Abby Sunderland tells her courageous story and wins your heart. Many judged her parents for allowing her to do this journey. I must say I recall hearing this story on the news and saying to my husband why would a parent allow this? Crazy! After reading the book you obtain a clearer picture of the family, Abby's dreams and see that she is a very capable young lady and her parents did everything other than keeping her home to keep her safe. Her boat was geared with state of the art of the equipment. The stories from Abby's sea adventure are amazing. You wonder how a person so young could live through such horrendous conditions at sea. How someone so young could keep their head in the game. You see that Abby is truly touched by the Grace of God. I actually, had the book at the ball field tonight reading pregame and it made me tear up seriously. This little girl went through a lot as she was out there and it made her grow up well beyond her years I am sure. Just being alone for that many days and staying sane is remarkable. Keeping her head on in terrifying conditions is outstanding and exemplifies her wonderful training from home and her strength. Unsinkable renews your faith , as it talks about the power of prayer. Someone upstairs was definitely looking out for Abby on this trip. I usually do not pick up nonfiction, but I really did enjoy this one.
victoriasvoice More than 1 year ago
I am the mother of two young men 21 years old and 16 (almost 17). Would I have been trusting enough of the world to let either one of them at the age of 16 to travel or even set sail on the high seas on their own? With no support but a radio? Ummm Heck no! Do I think they were mature enough at age 16 to try such a task? Ummm again I have to answer - Heck no! Abby Sunderland comes from a large family and they have supported Abby and her older brother in their dream to sail around the world. Both at what I think very young ages. But Abby and her siblings come from a strong sailing family and she went through the normal training to get her ready for the trip. Maybe I am just too over protective or maybe I missed something in raising my kids. Whichever the reason, I have to give props to her parents for being able to stand strong while she was away on her excursion and for giving all of their kids the freedom to explore their dreams. Whether you and I agree or not about letting someone so young go on such a daring trip is not what really matters, because Abby did and survived. Abby is a a really strong young lady not only physically (because it takes a lot of physical labor in order to maintain and keep control of a sail boat) but emotionally and spiritually. When Abby first set sail, many kept up with her through her blog. For months she lived her dream and would let everyone know how she spent her days through blog journals. The day came though that her updates stopped and the family received no radio transmissions.......Abby had encountered a huge storm and now was lost at sea. Miles away from land and no radio communication Abby tells of what she endured until the day came and she was rescued. Abby is an amazing young woman and because of her strong convictions and huge support of her family will be able to achieve any goal she has in life. I was really surprised how much I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to any young woman or man searching to fulfill their dream.