Californian Sailor Girl in Danger in Indian Ocean

A 16-year-old competing to be the youngest to sail around the world solo is seeking rescue hundreds of miles from land.

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 (opens in new tab).

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.

Anna Maltby is an award-winning journalist and editor and was most recently the executive editor of Elemental, Medium’s in-house health and wellness publication. She was previously the deputy editor at Real Simple magazine and a deputy editor at Refinery29, and also held staff positions at Men’s Health, Marie Claire, SELF, Fit Pregnancy, Natural Health and Condé Nast Traveler. Her writing has appeared in such outlets as The Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, O, Family Circle, Fitness, Redbook, Vogue.com, TeenVogue.com, MensJournal.com, CondeNastTraveler.com, FastCompany.com_ _and Brides.com. She received her BSJ and MSJ from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Anna is also an American Council on Exercise–certified personal trainer and functional training specialist, a certified prenatal and postnatal exercise specialist, and a certified mat Pilates teacher. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, two children, and two tuxedo cats.