Here are some new details about Abby's rescue.

Abby Sunderland rescue made possible by EPIRB.

Beacon credited with quick rescue of teen sailor Abby Sunderland.

I wondered how Abby was able to communicate with the Qantas airliner:

"Following the EPIRB and PLB beacon activations, Abby was able to communicate with the Qantas airliner utilizing the handheld VHF-FM radio from the emergency ditch bag."

Which means that even if Wild Eyes had sunk, she would have been able to communicate from the life raft. Remember, all of her other comm devices relied on mast-mounted antennas - no mast no mas.
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Verum audaces non gerunt indusia alba. - Ipsi dixit MCMLXXII