Abby Sunderland is sitting barefoot aboard her brother's boat in Marina del Rey. The only physical evidence of the five months she traveled by herself at sea before a wave rolled her sailboat, ripping off the mast and soaking everything on board, is a simple rope bracelet.
The knotted white band on her left wrist was a gift from one of the French fishermen who found her last summer, officially ending her attempt to become the world's youngest sailor to circumnavigate the globe nonstop.
Sunderland's father believed she could do it, but much of the world did not, even though her brother Zac had done so successfully. Critics questioned her route, her boat, her experience, her age, her gender - and her parents' motivations. Many said the trip was merely a reckless publicity stunt that jeopardized their daughter's life in exchange for fame and fortune.
"People had a hard time criticizing a 16-year-old girl, so they took it out on my parents," Sunderland told the Los Angeles Times. "If anybody should be getting criticized, it was me because I was the one who said I want to try this."