Californian Sailor Girl in Danger in Indian Ocean

Few things impress us more than fearless young women who go to incredible odds to prove they're tough, smart, and independent — and the recent swath of seafaring youngsters working to circumnavigate the globe solo is no exception.

You may remember the item on page 86 of our June issue about Australian teenager Jessica Watson, who completed her journey in a sailboat called Ella's Pink Lady, in May. (She turned 17 three days after her victorious return.) We mentioned that a slightly younger Californian named Abby Sunderland, 16, had set sail to beat Watson's record in January, but today we were saddened and concerned to learn that Sunderland has run across some serious-sounding trouble.

Sunderland is in the middle of the Indian Ocean, hundreds of miles from both land and the nearest ship, and yesterday she endured some terrible winds and lost satellite phone contact. Early this morning, she set off her emergency locating devices, and a rescue effort was launched.

We're sending our best wishes out to the rescue team and to Sunderland for a safe return.

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