Abby's mother named her newborn after a French sea captain who saved her daughter at sea

By Johnny Dodd
June 30, 2010 05:45 AM
Credit: Laurence Sunderland/AP

Marianne Sunderland, the mother of 16-year-old Southern California sailor Abby Sunderland, is so indebted to French fishing-boat captain Paul Louis Le Moigne – who rescued her daughter after Abby was believed to be lost at sea – that she has named her newborn son after him, PEOPLE has learned.

Paul-Louis Sunderland, who weighed 8 lbs., 9 oz., was born late Tuesday morning, while Abby was holding a press conference in Marina del Rey, Calif. Paul-Louis is the eighth child for Marianne and Laurence Sunderland. In 2009, their eldest, Zac, then 17, was the first person under the age of 18 to sail solo around the world.

Le Moigne, who captains the ship Ile de la Reunion, scrambled to reach Sunderland after the 40-ft. sailboat in which she’d spent five months sailing around the globe (in the hope of becoming the youngest sailor make the trip solo) was crippled by a massive rogue wave on June 12. After Sunderland s 60-ft. mast was torn from her boat, she was stranded in a remote stretch of the Indian Ocean without any way to communicate with the outside world.

A massive search that attracted worldwide attention ensued and, once Sunderland s position could be determined, Le Moigne spent 30 hours racing to find her.

When Le Moigne finally reached Sunderland, he immediately hopped into a dinghy to retrieve the teen from her battered sailboat. But en route, he was knocked into the freezing water by a fierce swell.

“There were many waves, three to four meters [nine to 12 feet] high,” he told reporters afterwards. “I was all the way in the water.”