Sixteen-year-old sailor Abby Sunderland is on dry ground today for the first time since she was rescued from her disabled boat in the Indian Ocean, reports CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips.
She arrived at Reunion Island aboard a French patrol boat.
She was hugged by her brother, Zac, also a young solo long-distance sailor, who flew in to meet her. Her father stayed home in California where Abby's mother is expecting her eighth child.
"I'm really disappointed that things didn't go as planned," Sunderland told reporters after coming to shore early Saturday on the remote French island, located off the eastern coast of Africa.
She got halfway in her round-the-world trip when her boat Wild Eyes was disabled by wild seas and their estimated 30-foot waves.
"Any sailor that goes out to the water knows that being hit by a rogue wave is a risk, no matter where you are," said Sunderland. "That was a risk that I was willing to take."
Sunderland said she was as well-prepared as she could have been: "You can't eliminate risk, you can do a lot to minimize it, but it's always there."
Though saddened by the loss of her boat in a southern Indian Ocean storm, Sunderland said she isn't giving up sailing.
The accident June 10 "ended my trip but it didn't end my dream," Abby Sunderland said. She blanched and didn't answer, however, when asked whether she would try another solo circumnavigation of the globe anytime soon.
Sounding composed and lucid, she choked up only once, when thanking Zac - who at 17 briefly held the record for being the youngest person to sail around the world solo - for "inspiring my dreams."
The Sunderlands have endured buffeting for allowing a 16-year-old to not only attempt a circumnavigation on her own but to do it during the winter, when conditions are worse.
"Rogue waves can happen any time, any place, any age," Abby said.
However reckless Abby's adventure has seemed to many, she remains determined:
Of the circumstances that concluded her voyage, she said, "It ended my trip, but it didn't end the dream."
She is expected back in the U.S. this coming week - her dream, and the argument around it, still intact.
Sunderland, whose father is a shipwright and has a yacht management company, set sail from Los Angeles County's Marina del Rey in her 40-foot boat on Jan. 23. In April she had to give up hope of becoming the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe solo, when she was forced to stop for repairs.
Then on June 10, three-story-high waves snapped her boat's mast. She was rescued two days later by a French fishing boat 2,000 miles west of Australia.
She described the drama of her accident and her surprise when an Australian airplane spotted her and some 40 hours later when she first caught sight of the French boat.
"The past few months have been the best of my life," she said. "I was on an adventure. You can only plan so far."
Sunderland thanked everyone who helped in the rescue, particularly the French and Australian authorities, and acknowledged "the public debate about the cost of rescues."
"I know that the USA would do the same for a citizen of any other country as these countries did for me," she said. "Everybody made a big effort to make sure I was safe and, you know, helped me out there, and I'll always remember that."
She said criticism of her family for letting her undertake the expedition "is ungrounded."
"They have put up with a ton of stuff to help me follow my dream," she said.
Her father Laurence, reached by phone late Friday at his home in Thousand Oaks, California, told The Associated Press that the family is thrilled that Abby has arrived safely on Reunion Island.
"I am absolutely totally over the moon with how quickly the plane and boat reached Abigail. I think the guys did a fantastic job with the rescue and we are so grateful to them," he said.
Abby said she wants to write a book eventually and she definitely wants to keep sailing, but for now. she's most looking forward to getting home.
"I hope to have a new brother soon," she said. "And I look forward to seeing my dog."
Sunderland had spent the past 10 days on the French patrol boat Osiris as it returned from the Kerguelen Islands, a remote and barren patch of rocks in the ocean north of Antarctica, where she was taken briefly after the rescue.
She and her brother were flying out of Reunion for home on Sunday.
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