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Young sailor settling back on land

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Teen sailor Sunderland has no regrets
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Abby Sunderland answered questions at her first U.S. news conference Tuesday
  • She sailed 12,000 nautical miles and became youngest person to sail around Cape Horn
  • She said she's proved her age shouldn't be a concern
  • Her parents are naming their next child Paul after the captain of the rescue ship

(CNN) -- Abby Sunderland says the next goal awaiting her seems more dangerous and unfamiliar than sailing around the world: getting her driver's license.

Sunderland, 16, answered questions about her rescue and on-land plans Tuesday in Los Angeles, at her first news conference since returning to the United States.

Sunderland's quest to circumnavigate the globe was cut short when a large wave rolled and crippled her boat in the Southern Ocean near Australia. The rogue wave, which she said rolled her boat while she was down below, broke the ship's mast. A fishing vessel from Reunion Island rescued her.

Despite falling short of her goal, she sailed a total of 12,000 nautical miles and became the youngest person to sail around Cape Horn at the tip of South America.

While she wants to get back to sailing, she said she will wait a few years before trying to circumnavigate the world again. For now, she plans to finish high school and get back to normal life.

Sunderland said she is happy to be home, disappointed that she didn't make it all the way around the world, but proud of what she did accomplish.

It's really great to think that I may have inspired some people to go for their dreams" she said. "I mean, I'm living proof that things don't always work out the way you plan, but you can only plan so far on an adventure."

Asked her response to those who said she was too young to have embarked on her journey, she said, "I've crossed two oceans, I've sailed around Cape Horn and Cape Argus -- the question of my age should have been over weeks if not months ago."

iReport: Sunderland speaks out

Sunderland's brother, Zac, family spokesman Lyle Mercer, and Jeff Casher, a technical advisor for her voyage, also spoke at the news conference.

The young sailor's mother and father, Marianne and Laurence Sunderland, missed the news conference because Marianne was in labor, Mercer said. They plan to name the child Paul after the captain of the ship that rescued Abby Sunderland, Mercer said.

I've crossed two oceans, I've sailed around Cape Horn and Cape Argus -- the question of my age should have been over weeks if not months ago.
--Abby Sunderland
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Marianne and Laurence Sunderland have been criticized nationally for letting their child embark on a seemingly dangerous mission alone. In a statement read by Mercer, they said the "intense personal criticism crossed the line of human decency," and that people don't realize how meticulously they planned the trip. "Parenting isn't easy for any of us," they said in the statement.

Abby Sunderland said she and her brother, who set the record as the youngest person to sail around the world alone at 17 last year, have grown closer because of their common experience of being isolated on the ocean. Zac Sunderland said at the news conference that he isn't bitter about his younger sister receiving more media attention for her adventure.

While plans for a reality show fell through, Abby Sunderland wants to write about her trip for herself and will consider turning it into a book, she said.

 
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