There are a number of places on marine charts where even the most weathered sailors point and say, Right there, nothing can go wrong. Everything has to go right. One place is the turbulent passage south of Cape Horn. Another is the dead center of the Indian Ocean.
Just as I was about to grab the rope ladder, a huge swell lifted the dinghy nearly to La Reunion's deck level, and at least a dozen smiling French fishermen pulled me aboard.
When I saw the plane, I was absolutely astonished! Two emotions crashed over me: surging joy and crazy fear.
One day that same year, I told my dad that someday, I would sail around the world alone.
Wild Eyes was built for speed and I was flying down walls of water twenty and thirty feet high.
When a sailor overcomes crushing adversity, there's a massive sense of accomplishment.
On October 19, 2009, my sixteenth birthday, Wild Eyes officially became mine! Now it was really happening.
If a big wave came at the wrong moment, it would sweep me off into forty-eight-degree water, where I might last twenty minutes. Drowning quickly might be better.
But none of that kept me from picturing what a tsunami might look like if it did rise up and roar toward my little boat like some watery blue version of the Great Wall of China.
I saw the loose tiller jolt hard to the side as the boat began to spin.
I'm one-hundred-fifty miles off Cape Horn, both autopilots are broken, and my boat is drifting toward one of the nastiest chunks of ocean on the face of the earth.
The winds were blowing from west to east, pushing Abby's boat toward the rocks as Abby struggled with the autopilots below. If Wild Eyes reached those islands, she wouldn't run aground, keel in the sand. She would be smashed into pieces.