Yacht abandoned in 2010 record attempt found — Abby Sunderland

She was 16 years old at the time. Image AAP

She was 16 years old at the time. Image AAP

A mystery boat discovered off the coast of South Australia has been identified as a yacht that was abandoned during a round-the-world sailing attempt nine years ago.

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"It brought back many memories - good and not so good - but it was neat to see it after so long". The Californian was picked up by a French fishing vessel between Madagascar and the western coast of Australia.

Zac Sunderland meets his sister Abby Sunderland on a French fisheries patrol boat Saturday, June 26, 2010, at Saint Denis de la Reunion, in the Reunion island, a French oversea territory in the Indian Ocean.

The teen battled six-metre swells and a ripped mainsail, with the final leg of her journey taking several hours longer than predicted.

Ms Sunderland had set sail from California in January 2010, but five months later her mast snapped in 9m (30ft) high waves in the Indian Ocean.

But just two days shy of her 17th birthday, Watson sailed her 10-metre yacht Ella's Pink Lady up Sydney Harbour, the same spot she left from nearly seven months earlier.

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But on June 10, 2010, while struggling in a ferocious storm hundreds of miles from land, Sunderland activated two emergency beacons after a giant wave rolled her vessel, destroying its mast and communications equipment.

Her family had bought the Australian-built Wild Eyes and in October the year before, just months after her elder brother Zach became the first person under the age of 18 to sail solo around the world, with stops and assistance, and kitted it out specifically for her journey.

"She would have to be very lucky to wash up on a beach, and not get smashed on the rocks or something like that". "While I do wish that she would be found and fixed up, its (sic) not all that likely she will be found".

Ms Sunderland was just 16 when she set sail in February 2010, on the voyage of a lifetime - one she'd been planning since she was 13. She continued, "As for age, since when does age create big waves and storms?"

At the time, her family rejected criticism from some over their decision to allow her to make the attempt, saying she was prepared and mentally well-equipped to deal with the challenge.

During the trip from Mexico to South Africa, she became the youngest ever sailor to pass Cape Horn - the southernmost tip of South America.

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