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Sunderland's plans: school, driver's license

June 29, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
After returning home from her failed attempt to sail the world solo, Abby Sunderland says she's not ready to quit just yet.The 16-year-old flew in to Los Angeles International Airport Monday night to a crowd of well-wishers. She spoke at a press conference Tuesday at 10 a.m. in Marina del Rey, which is where her journey began on Jan. 23.

Sunderland said she plans to continue sailing, but as for attempting to sail around the world again, she is holding off on that for a few years.

About halfway through her journey, a storm in the Indian Ocean snapped her ship's mast and ended her trip.

She was rescued by a French fishing boat 2,000 miles west of Australia.

After being rescued, she was taken to Reunion Island to reunite with her 18-year-old brother, Zac, who successfully sailed around the world at age 17.

Since the voyage went awry, Sunderland's parents have come under relentless criticism for allowing her to set sail alone.

"To be honest, it's extremely hurtful," Sunderland said. "It's sad to see some of it. Some of it I just can't believe that people would say something like that to anybody."

Her parents weren't at the press conference because they were at the hospital waiting for the birth of a newborn son.

The family spokesman, Lyall Mercer, said the baby will be named Paul in honor of the captain of the boat that rescued Abby.

In a statement read by Mercer, Sunderland's parents said they're ready to move on and forgive harsh critics. They said that the media does not understand their family and that Abby was thoroughly trained for her voyage.

The teen also spoke about her experiences at sea, particularly when that rogue wave hit her 40-foot boat, Wild Eyes.

"There's definitely been times where I was terrified," said Sunderland. "I knew when I headed out for this trip that I was going to be testing myself and I was going to push myself to my limits."

"You get scared, but you have to get over it, because being scared, it doesn't do anything good," Sunderland said. "It just makes you hesitate and makes more problems start coming."

What's next for the precocious teenager? She says she's planning to go back to school and also to get her driver's license.

Sunderland said there will be no reality TV shows or documentaries about her travels, but she did express interest in writing a book about her journey halfway around the world.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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