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

( 29 )

Overview

It was pitch-black out and white water 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 23 January 2010, sixteen-year-old Abby Sunderland set ...

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

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Overview

It was pitch-black out and white water 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 23 January 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 “Mount 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 string. Abby bested the wicked waters at the southern tip of Africa 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 Sunderland encountered the violent storms that would test her mettle and her will to survive—and change her life forever.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781598599299
  • Publisher: Oasis Audio
  • Publication date: 4/12/2011
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Abby Sunderland is among the third generation 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 with audiences everywhere. Lynn Vincent is the New York Times best-selling writer of Heaven Is for Real, Same Kind of Different as Me, and Going Rogue: An American Life. The author or coauthor of ten books, Lynn worked for eleven years as a writer and editor at the national news biweekly WORLD Magazine covering politics, culture, and current events. A U.S. Navy veteran, she teaches writing at colleges and conferences around the country. Lynn lives in San Diego, California.

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Read an Excerpt

UNSINKABLE

A YOUNG WOMAN'S COURAGEOUS BATTLE ON THE HIGH SEAS
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

ISLA GUADALUPE

BAJA, CALIFORNIA, MEXICO 2001

"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.

(Continues...)



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.

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Table of Contents

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
NOTES....................201
THE VOYAGE OF WILD EYES MAP....................202
WILD EYES ILLUSTRATION....................204
GLOSSARY: BRIEF GUIDE TO BASIC NAUTICAL TERMS....................207
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS....................213
ABOUT THE AUTHORS....................221
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 29 )
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(13)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    WATERLOGGED!

    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."

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 7, 2011

    Unsinkable

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 10, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2012

    Zane

    Delete delete DELEEETE

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    My feelings regarding this book telling the tale of Abby Sunderl

    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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  • Posted January 23, 2012

    really bad - not worth the paper it's printed on

    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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  • Posted May 13, 2011

    Great book

    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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  • Posted April 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Good Book!

    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.

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  • Posted April 8, 2011

    Unsinkable by Abby Sunderland A story of a courageous young woman!

    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.

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  • Posted April 7, 2011

    Courageously Inspiring

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2011

    Unsinkable

    I remember hearing of Abby Sunderland, a 16 year-old who was attempting to become the youngest individual to sail a solo trip around the world in 2010, as I am sure did many individuals who watched the news during that time. At the time of hearing about her solo-trip and her boat being de-masted in the Indian Ocean, I, like many others, looked at this as a media stunt orchestrated by her father as a way for their family to gain notoriety. I think the book changed my mind a little on the matter, but, as other reviewers have stated, I don't know if her family allowing her to make this trip at such a young age was the wisest thing to do.

    The book was an extremely easy read, and I think, being a teenager, I enjoyed the overall theme of perseverance in the book. I think it will show younger people that hard work is still rewarding, and it will give them motivation to go after their dreams and pursue their goals in life. Also, it gives young people a real role model to look up to...someone who is famous for more than just being famous.

    I received a copy of this book free from the publisher, Thomas Nelson, through the BookSneeze review bloggers program for the purpose of completing this review. BookSneeze does not require positive reviews; all opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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  • Posted April 4, 2011

    Incredibly Inspiring Story

    This is the semi-autobiographical account of Abby Sunderland, the sixteen-year-old American who attempted to sail solo around the world in 2010. The book is written partly in Sunderland's first-person voice, and partly in third person to describe her background, the preparations for her trip, and the trip itself.

    I must start this review by stating that at the time this story hit the news, I absolutely did not agree that a young woman of that age should be allowed by anyone to attempt such a feat. Even after reading this book, I still have my doubts.

    However, after having read this book, I realize that Abby Sunderland is not your average person. This is a story of a young woman who knew exactly what she was getting herself into, who had prepared herself as much as she could, and who had an amazing team behind her. The Abby Sunderland in this book is not the same girl who was presented to the world by the media.

    Honestly, this should be required reading for high school students. Sunderland tells an amazing story of perseverance, of courage, and of sheer gumption. People who aren't sailors (like me) may get lost in some of the details, but the raw human emotion that shines so brightly here will be inspiring to anyone. It is also a story of the power of faith.

    It's an easy read, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to know what the human spirit is capable of. Also, anyone who was even remotely interested in Sunderland's journey will find this book interesting.

    **This review is based on an advanced review copy from the publisher. I was not required in any way to submit a positive review.

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  • Posted April 2, 2011

    Absolutely Inspiring

    One word to describe this book: amazing. I usually hate non fiction books but honestly, this was the best non fiction book I have ever read. The different points of view give so much dimension into the story of this brave young woman. She is open and candid in the book, something I appreciate very much. In case you have never heard of her story, Abby Sunderland is a 16 year old girl who set out to be the youngest person ever to sail solo, nonstop and unassisted around the world. This book is about her journey, told from her point of view, a narrator's point of view, and the rescuers' point of view. Even though I had no idea what she was talking about when she started talking all the technical stuff, I really felt like I could imagine what she was going through at that point. Of course only people that have, or at least have attempted, to sail around the world could really know what she was going through. But I felt like I was right there on Wild Eyes with her. I highly, highly recommend this book.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze 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

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  • Posted March 30, 2011

    Inspiring and Thought Provoking

    I received this book shortly after I finished Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston, and was worried that another survival against the odds book wouldn't hold my attention. Unsinkable did much more than just hold my attention, I felt compelled to finish it and enjoyed every page along the way. The story, told from three points of view (each change marked by a unique icon), flows smoothly through both back-story and the main plot. To me Abby's story is very much a reminder of the fact that some of life's greatest lessons and opportunities flow from what appears to be the greatest failures. Further, the Sunderland's belief in their children and support of their dreams challenges us all to dream bigger, do more, and live; not just sit and watch the world go by on our televisions and computers. **I received a copy of this book free from the publisher, Thomas Nelson, through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program for the purpose of completing this review. BookSneeze®.com does not require positive reviews; all opinions expressed in this review are my own.**

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  • Posted March 29, 2011

    Loved it!

    I really, really, really liked this book. And I've said before how I'm a fiction gal and usually stay away from biographies/autobiographies. I heard about Abby when I read Start Here by the Harris twins and they mentioned her in the book. It got me was interested in her story and I'm really surprised I never heard about it at all last year because it seemed like the media made a big deal about it. But I usually never watch TV and I never ever watch the news...




    Abby's family sounds really awesome. I would have died of excitement if my parents bought a boat and we sailed around for three years. I mean, how cool is that?! My parents never took me and my sibs on a boat (except for that one time in Tallahassee, and that was so much fun), but I felt like I had a lot in common with Abby. She's one of seven kids, I'm one of six kids. She is home schooled, I was home schooled. She's 17, I'm 16. We're both Christians. We both have dreams that sound a little crazy to other people.




    The book really did surprise me that I liked it so much. It was exciting and even though I know nothing about sailing, I made it through with only a couple of "yeah, I have no idea what that sailing term means, I'll just keep reading." There was a glossary in the back, but I hate those things and never use them.




    I thought it was a great book, especially for teens. It gives hope, seeing what she did at such a young age. Or it might give you a kick in the butt to get motivated and chase after your own dream. For me, it was a little of both.




    Way to go, Abby Sunderland!




    I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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