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Stranded teen sailor is 'safe and sound'

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Teen sailor found alive
  • Teen sailor should be back home in weeks
  • Abby says 'storms are part of the deal'
  • 'I will never see my Wild Eyes again'

(CNN) -- The 16-year-old California girl rescued from her stricken boat in the Indian Ocean says she is "safe and sound" and argues that her age shouldn't be blamed for the problems she encountered while at sea.

"Storms are part of the deal when you set out to sail around the world," Abby Sunderland wrote in a blog on her website dated Saturday. "As for age, since when does age create gigantic waves and storms?"

Criticism has emerged that she was too young to embark on such a journey, which apparently has ended. Abby lost satellite contact on Thursday and issued a distress call after what was described as a rogue wave hit the boat, damaging its mast and communications equipment.

A French fishing vessel reached a remote area in the Indian Ocean on Saturday morning to fetch her.

"There are plenty of things people can think of to blame for my situation; my age, the time of year and many more," Abby said in the blog. She added that "it was just a Southern Ocean storm."

"The truth is, I was in a storm and you don't sail through the Indian Ocean without getting in at least one storm."

It will be several weeks before she is home in California, rescuers said.

Her parents praised people from France and Australia for their help in reaching their stranded daughter.

Video: Teen sailor safe, en route home
Video: Contact made with missing teen sailor
  • Sailing
  • Australia

"Their professionalism and the great value that they placed on Abby's life has been a gift to us that we can never repay. Thank you for caring for our daughter as if she were your own, for answering all of our many questions cheerfully and completely and for going above and beyond our wildest expectations to keep Abby safe," Laurence and Marianne Sunderland said in a post on the girl's website.

The parents, who also briefed reporters in Thousand Oaks, California on Saturday said they were overjoyed their daughter was found.

As for her boat, Wild Eyes, it had to be left in the middle of the ocean, and Abby said she's "still trying to get over the fact that I will never see my Wild Eyes again."

Responding to questions from reporters on whether Abby was too young to take such a voyage, her father defended her skill.

"What this is about is a young lady who has a great skill on the ocean and a passion for bluewater sailing. She's a remarkable young lady and has done a remarkable job on 'Wild Eyes; sailing it over half way around the world," he said.