Wild Eyes was found covered in barnacles on New Year's Even 11 nautical miles south of Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo Island by South Australia Police
Wild Eyes, the yacht the then 16-year-old American sailor Abby Sunderland was hoping to sail the world singlehandedly in, but had to abandon due to stormy weather, has been found off the coast of Kangaroo Island in Australia.
South Australia Police wrote on their website that an overturned vessel found on New Year’s Eve has been identified as Wild Eyes.
“The vessel was spotted from the air by a tuna spotting plane about 11 nautical miles south of Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo Island about 12.30pm on Monday 31 December. The police helicopter (PolAir) was sent to investigate, along with two commercial fishing vessels operating nearby.
“The boat was subsequently identified as the ‘Wild Eyes‘, which had been abandoned eight years ago in the middle of the Indian Ocean during a round the world voyage.”, says the press release.
Abby Sunderland was attempting to become the youngest sailor to sail around the world solo when Wild Eyes was dismasted in rough seas between Madagascar and Western Australia. Sunderland was rescued on 12 June by a French commercial fishing vessel.
Sunderland never expected to hear news of the Wild Eyes, which was found covered in barnacles. The new 25-year-old told ABC Australia that her “heart skipped a beat” when she heard her yacht had been found.
“It brought back many memories – good and not so good – but it was neat to see it after so long. It looked a little creepy but that’s to be expected after so long.
“I always knew the boat was high quality and very safe, so it doesn’t really surprise me that it’s still floating.” she said.
Abby Sunderland set sail from Marina del Rey in California on 23 January 2010 on the Australian-built 40 foot yellow yacht Wild Eyes. The young sailor ran into difficulties shortly after setting sail and had to restart her record attempt from Cabo San Lucas in Mexico 10 days later.
She encountered further mechanical problems soon after and had to make an unplanned stop in in Cape Town, South Africa.
On June 10 she sent out a distressed signal after her yacht was dismasted. She was rescued two days later by French fishing vessel Ile de la Reunion.