Friday, June 11, 2010

Boat girl's parents: Negligent or Noble?

Many of you may have read about the 16-year-old teenage girl who was recently found on her boat in the Indian ocean after trying to break the world record for sailing around the world. A number of commenters to the article in the NY Post blame the parents for the girl getting lost as they allowed her to fulfill her dream. Here are some examples:

this 16 year old shouldnt be alone on the sea period. what is wrong with her parents? i guess kids can do what ever they want to do huh?

Her parents ARE negligent. How can you allow your "child" to leave home - alone - and go out into the open sea thousands of miles away from you? Of course there are dangers are land, but at least you can get to your child within a reasonable time if they need you. But to be in Thousand Oaks, CA - on the phone doing guess-work - while your child is at least a 22 hour plane trip away is ridiculous. And everyone defending them must be either bad parents or have no children at all.


This is a tough one. As a parent, you want to protect your child, but if your child has a dream before they are 18, isn't one of your goals as a parent to try and teach them to be autonomous and reach that goal? When I was 14, I wanted to be an airplane pilot more than anything in the world. My parents delivered me to the airport every week to fly Cessna 150s as long as I paid for it through my job. I know my Dad was a bit nervous that I was flying in the mountains but he never said a word.

To this day, I admire my parents for allowing me to fly and fulfill that dream, though because of bad eyesight, I never made it as a pilot. However, my time in the air and my parent's ability to let go taught me to make it on my own. For that, I am forever grateful to them. I bet that one day, this young sailor will be to her parents also. People think these parents are negligent, but perhaps they are simply overcoming their own fear of letting their kid venture forth. I think this is noble, not negligent.

What do you think?

128 Comments:

Blogger Brian Almon said...

Less than two centuries ago, 10 year old boys served on sailing ships that were far more dangerous than this girl's. I think it's a modern afffectation that we believe we must shelter our kids until they turn 18. (Or 26 now, I guess.)

1:26 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

I don't know the family well enough to make a judgment on this specific case. I will make a comment about codependency. I could see a situation where parents might place a child in a questionable predicament so the child might achieve some fame if successful, such as the hope to be an Olympic medalist in gymnastics but under the purvey of an abusive coach, such as the youngest successful bodybuilder though pumped up with dangerous steroids, such as locked away in an attic while telling authorities of an odd balloon ride. All the while keeping their fingers crossed nothing goes wrong for the kid and it might yield some fame and future dollars for the family.

I'm suspicious because in this case the sailing adventure of this teen was heavily publicized prior to its initiation. I can see the young lady wanting to please her parents and be a success, but I can also see the potential here that she might have been a tad over-encouraged to the point that she may have bit off more than she could chew. The ocean is a dangerous place.

1:50 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger wolfboy69 said...

Brian,

While I agree for the most part with you, a couple of centuries ago, the average lifespan was around 40. That kind on necessitated earning a living at an early age. Not so much anymore.

Helen,

Just curious, when you were taking flying lessons, would your parents have let you fly solo around the world?

1:50 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger jimbino said...

Helicopter parents will never understand. My parents let me take a train every Saturday to walk alone throughout the Loop, to Grant Park, the Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium, the Museum of Natural History and the Art Institute.

I am forever grateful to them for the liberty that even my nephews and nieces didn't have until they left for college.

Rearing a closeted kid in Amerika is a form of child abuse.

1:55 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Lord Von Lord said...

Ship's boys weren't solo. They served with officers and a sailing master with decades of experience. They also weren't rescued in most cases either. Her family better have deep pockets for the
rescue costs.

2:05 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Lord Von Lord said...

Ship's boys weren't solo. They served with officers and a sailing master with decades of experience. They also weren't rescued in most cases either. Her family better have deep pockets for the
rescue costs.

2:05 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Doug Wade said...

I think it's wonderful and inspiring that some few people have that kind of warrior spirit and am absolutely disgusted at some of the zero risk crowd who have been yapping on in the blogosphere today.

2:07 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger tomcal said...

I'm with Doug.

2:12 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger liz said...

I agree with Doug and I would way rather have my tax dollars go to rescue the sailor girl than to the welfare mothers that just got arrested at my kids' school that got in a fight when they were called to pick up their children that had been in a fight.

I am amazed at the lack of adventurous spirit that most people have. If my child wanted to do something of this nature and was qualified to do so, I would be behind him/her all the way. This family obviously has the resources, gumption and know-how to send their daughter on this trip so they should have the freedom to do so. My first thought when I heard she was found was "can her boat be fixed and will she continue the trip?".

2:24 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Eleanor said...

I have to admit I kind of admire the parents for having the stomach to let this girl have her adventure, although I'm pretty sure that would be beyond me as a parent.

Richard Branson's mother reportedly dropped him off in the countryside miles from home when he was 7 years old and he found his own way home. And look how he turned out! ;)

Check out this site:
http://freerangekids.wordpress.com/

2:40 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Debbie said...

Abby Sunderland's parents have my deepest admiration. It isn't our job as parents, at least in this household, to hold our kids close to us because WE fear what is out there, especially if the kid is competent to do what they are doing. And who said that someone who is 16 and knows what they are doing can't be treated as an adult.

My hope, which echo's Liz, is that her boat can be fixed and that she can continue on with her sailing.

2:49 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Jack said...

And who said that someone who is 16 and knows what they are doing can't be treated as an adult.

I'll say it, very few 16 year olds are ready to take on the world. There are lots of ways to let a child learn and to have an adventure.

Frankly I'd feel very differently if she had companions on the trip, but she didn't.

The kid who climbed Everest had his folks with him. I applaud what they did. Could care less that it was his parent, could have been other qualified companions.

This was not smart on their part of hers. Sometimes you show your love by saying no. That is not helicopter parenting, that is common sense.

3:41 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger ck said...

I'm with Doug, helicopter parenting is especially harmful to boys. The average 10 year old boy has no brothers,sisters, unsupervised time or close cousins What they have is a 52 year old single mother chasing them around with hand sanitizer.

3:45 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger William said...

Really, it depends on the kid. There is no magic age. There is also no life without risk.

3:51 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Wayne said...

If I judged them ready for it, I would allow a 16-year-old to camp alone in the woods for a couple of weeks. Sailing solo around the world is a whole other ball of wax.

I would consider even an adult to be lacking in judgment to attempt such a thing. If there had been even one competent companion of her age or a little older, I might think differently.

3:57 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Larry J said...

This girl at 16 is already more accomplished at something and has lived more than most adults manage in a lifetime. To those who feel most comfortable hiding under your sheets, knock yourself out. Just don't demand that everyone else be a prisoner to their (or your) fears as well.

3:58 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Edgehopper said...

Noble, dammit. I've seen comments today that kids shouldn't go halfway around the world period at age 16...at age 16, I was doing engineering research at a program at the Technion in Israel where we were pretty much given free rein to travel around Haifa alone. It was fantastic.

I admire 16 year olds that are as adventurous and independent as this girl's, and shudder in horror at the helicopter parents that won't let their kids ride the subway a few stops without supervision.

3:59 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Larry said...

Much respect to the young lady and her parents. It's not exactly like they told her it's okay to do heroin and prostitute herself in a biker bar.

I have more problems with parents who don't check their kid's homework than these people. by far.

She trained diligently, built her skills, and made a credible attempt at an extraordinary adventure. Her plans were in place, and in the end, she suffered no real harm.

We're not magically adults at 18; if we're not working on being independent human beings long before then, we certainly won't be any time soon after that magical 18th birthday.

4:20 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

One of the wonderful things about getting older is knowing stuff that happened before others were born or were old enough to be aware of it. In 1965, Robin Lee Graham, of California, set off to sail around the world alone.

It took him 5 years, he married along the way and inspired many. Life if full or risks. Take the ones you want, better that than being killed or injured in a car crash.

I'm so sick of the over-protective, hovering helicopter parents and others I could puke.

Our most recent save everyone adventure in Ohio is the female state senator (or rep) who wants to put seat belts in all school buses because a boy was killed in an accident, the first in 44 years. More kids die from standing at bus stops.

4:54 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Armed Texan said...

I don't have enough information to determine whether the young woman's parents are negligent or noble. Neither do I have enough information to call the 16 year old a child as your example commenter does. While I do not believe that teenagers in general are mature enough to make life changing decisions on their own, I do believe that some can be. More importantly, I believe that most teens will rise to your level of expectation regarding maturity. Those who are pampered and told they are not adults until they're 18 will take that as a pass to act immaturely. Those who are given responsibility and told that you expect them to act maturely, usually will.

5:02 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

at 16 i left home to live with my aunt and uncle in england to finish high school so that i could go to university in the us and take my soccer scolarship.

my father felt that the structured environment of my uncle`s house would be better than his home as my mother had passed away the winter earlier.

he was wrong, but the experience was invaluable in that i was granted trials at professional clubs in england that wouldn`t have seen me in canada, and those experiences we instructive in showing me how to be self-starting at a young age.

sending your child solo on a boat around the world is another thing entirely.

criminal springs to mind.

5:12 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger TAS said...

I don't see the problem with this. Young boys used to serve on naval ships. She's sixteen years old, not a little kid. Many sixteen year olds are more mature than a lot of twenty-somethings (i.e. frat boys).

5:26 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Jack said...

To those who feel most comfortable hiding under your sheets, knock yourself out. Just don't demand that everyone else be a prisoner to their (or your) fears as well.

It is not a matter of fear that causes someone to question a venture like this. It is common sense.

This isn't just about her or her family. When she got into trouble her parents asked for help. They asked for others to potentially place themselves in harms way. They asked for others to spend significant amounts of time and money to rescue their daughter.

As a parent I understand, you do what you have to do take care of your children.

But this was an unnecessary risk. Foolish, short sighted and stupid. Again, not fear speaking but common sense.

6:12 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Mark Sicignano said...

Anybody commenting here who is passing judgment that the parents are irresponsible is indeed a tad of a helicopter parent.

Your average 16 year old is probably not capable of handing such a challenge, but if this "kid" was brought up around this and the parents properly vetted her before letting her head out on this challenge, then I don't see anything wrong with their actions. They son had previously completed such a challenge. So it would seem that their parents can teach well enough. It's about their skill level, and not just about their age. These 16-year-old sailing "pros" are far more capable than a lot of 40-year-old adults who might dabble with wind surfer.

And don't we let 16-year-old's drive? That's not dangerous? Not only can they kill themselves in a car accident, but they could even kill another driver or a passenger.

And I might note that everybody is ready to press charges on the parents, not because something horrible happened to the girl, but because of the mere thought that something could happen.

Doesn't the fact that she managed control through 35-knot winds, 20-to-25 foot waves, a broken mast and torn sails and... she's still alright... Hmm. Sounds like she's handling herself OK. No?

The parents should be held up as a model for others to try to emulate.

Many parents in today's world have lost their way. They think it's the responsibility to protect their children. I've got first hand experience with parents who haven't disengaged from trying to protect their children even when their children are 45 years old. It's boggling.

It's a parents responsibility to "raise a child to adulthood". Adulthood is typically considered 18 in our society. In some societies it's younger than that. For a parent to let their kid assume some responsibility and risk at age 16 isn't a crime. These parents are ahead of most parents when it comes to teaching their kids self-reliance and the kind of responsibility that it takes to handle a significant undertaking. That's what this is. It's not just a "foolish adventure" as some people are making it out to be. Oh, and please, "dr.alistair", you think this is "criminal"? No... what's criminal is the way that so many parents smother their children and are raising dependent brats that are full of self-esteem, but have so little of their own accomplishment and can barely stand on their own feet when they are in their twenties because they are still suckling at the parental teet.

Kudos to these parents. I wish Abby a safe journey home.

6:13 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger LPF said...

Some people live, some people are content just to breathe.

6:16 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Chris Arsenault said...

Helen - there's a few things that most people don't know about Abby and her family.

Her father is a yacht broker - she grew up sailing. While 30 foot waves are nothing to sneeze at even for very experienced sailors, she wasn't going out to sea in a tinker toy, or unprepared.

Her older brother did a circumnavigation of the world prior to her attempt.

Given what's happened in Knoxville, you know what I'm referring to, it's probably more dangerous to have your child go down into the wrong end of town than it is to attempt a feat of great skill and daring.

She's a born-again believer in Christ. She may have a greater purpose than we understand.

IIRC - recently there was another 16 year old who may have already beaten her (an Australian girl) by a few months.

As a parent, I don't think I would send my child on their way unless I thought they were capable. At a certain point on a voyage, there's guaranteed to be a trial, but that's true for almost everyone.

6:18 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Larry J said...

Every year, thousands of young men and women just a couple years older than this young sailor walk into military recruiters' offices and enlist while we're at war. At 18, I joined the Army and became a paratrooper. It was peacetime then (1975) but the world was a mess.

If some people are mature enough to do that at 18, why is it such a big deal that a well trained 16 year old girl is willing to risk her life for an adventure most of us can only dream about? If she were not properly trained and equipped, that would be a different matter. As for the costs and risks of the rescue, I have no problem sending the parents a bill for services rendered.

6:33 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger highlander said...

I agree with Chris. It's a judgment call. If the girl has done her homework, has the experience, and proven her ability to handle the craft, then she should be allowed to go. Otherwise not.

6:36 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger David said...

I salute her courage. Although this seems to be a pretty dangerous voyage, I suspect that often it is those kids who are most protected from challenge and danger who are most at risk, who will become the heavy drug users, nihilists, and even eventually suicides.

Not for the first time, I'm reminded of a passage from Walter Miller's great novel A Canticle for Leibowitz:

"To minimize suffering and to maximize security were natural and proper ends of society and Caesar. But then they became the only ends, somehow, and the only basis of law—a perversion. Inevitably, then, in seeking only them, we found only their opposites: maximum suffering and minimum security."

6:44 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger M. Report said...

She was on a Mission from God: Ego gratification.
She wants danger at sea, let her join the Coast Guard.

7:09 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger mec2dfw said...

If this child has a dream to sail around the world, that's one thing. To do it alone is an attempt at notoriety, and that is no worthy goal considering the tremendous risk. Being a good parent involves managing choices for your children. Parent FAIL.

7:19 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger The Ghost said...

The difference here is the superlative. Every year now, it seems like someone else is trying to be the "youngest" to do something incredibly dangerous.

That kind of ongoing competition can only end one way.

7:20 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger boinky said...

This was an expensive stunt to get publicity, not a "dangerous" job so their family could eat, or becoming a soldier to protect one's village.

She wants to sail, fine. She wants to "sail around the world" quietly,to satisfy her own sense of adventure (and pay for it herself) fine.

She wants to sail around the world to get publicity, then I see a problem.

7:28 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Bedbug said...

I think I would rather have my mature, experienced sailor-daughter alone in her boat than with her peers at the beach during "senior week." Or in Aruba.

7:30 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger smacklin said...

One thing that seems to be consistently left out by most condemnations of the parents for allowing her to take this journey, is that they were not making an uninformed decision. If she had succeeded she would have broken the record for youngest solo circumnavigation. The current record is 17. Set by her brother.

I hope rather than get on a plane and come home, she gets towed into the nearest port, effects repairs and keeps going.

7:55 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Teki Setsu said...

What would really impress me is if the girl gave a few paid speeches talking about the voyage and then used the money to pay into a rescue fund of the people who rescued her, plus also a visit to Australia to meet with them in some sort of media event.

8:13 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: All
RE: Look Upon It As....

...'Evolution In Action'.

If she live. GREAT!

If not, another candidate for the Darwin Awards.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[We knew the job was dangerous when we took it.]

8:16 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Teki Setsu said...

She handled herself well and seemed to be well-prepared for the voyage. Anyone can get a broken mast in those kinds of conditions.

The world is full of negligent parents, and the US is even more full of over-protective parents.

8:18 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Oz said...

This whole affair is soaked through with negligent indulgence. There's a huge difference between letting your kids go out by themselves and letting them do things that are dangerous enough for adults.

There's a different kind of cowardice at work here: that of the parent afraid to say no, ever, to his child. I hope whoever staged the rescue gets every cent out of them, just as should happen to every other thoughtless thrill-seeker who endangers himself and then pleads for someone else to endanger himself on his behalf.

8:38 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger David Kahn said...

In addition to skill and luck, sailing of this type requires a certain amount of physical strength, and a level of judgment that can only be achieved with time and experience. I don't think her parents are negligent, but I also think it's a profoundly bad idea to be encouraging younger and younger children to undertake this sort of voyage. (It's easier and, in fact, more fun, when you have company.)

8:41 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Joe said...

One thing that irritated me greatly as a teenager and still irritates me in my late forties is how many adults would simply lump all teenagers into one group.

As a parent of three teenagers and one 22-year-old, I have seen first hand how vastly different each of them has been at particular ages. I have known many a 16-year-old who was more mature than many 26-year-olds.

The worship of teenagehood is destroying generations of people. The infantilization of adults only makes it all worse. I'm absolutely convinced we should end high school at age 16 and allow full rights at 18. I believe kids would rise to the challenge as they have for millennia until very recently (I graduated high school in 1980 and had more freedom, responsibilities and respect than kids do in general today in the US, though even then it was getting oppressive--I remember many an argument with overprotective and condescending parents at church who were waiting like vultures to implement their fascist visions.)

8:43 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Celia Hayes said...

I am tending more towards the 'free-range teenagers' side of the scale - although I have no particular knowledge of this girl's parents or her particular fitness for what she wanted to do... Only - that in 1976, I went off on a back-packing summer-vacation trip across Great Britain, armed with a Britrail Pass and membership in the Youth Hostel Association. I was 22, just out of college, and I went with my younger brother, who was 19, and my sister, who was 16. How many parents who think of themselves as responsible would allow that today? It's kind of sad, considering that so very few would do.

8:54 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger pdwalker said...

Noble.

People who speak out against it are really sticking their noses where they don't belong. What right do you have to pass judgement based on your fears and insecurities? Do you think the parents didn't judge the risks and her level of training? Of course they did!

As a parent, I understand and often now have the fear of letting my children do things on their own. On the other hand, I'd do them no favours by trying to protect them from everything that might possibly harm them until that magic day when they instantaneously became an "adult".

I applaud this young lady, and her parents who had the guts to both train her and let her go on her adventure.

I remember as a young man of 15, my father suggested that I could and should take working passage on any vessel that entered our harbour. No that's not the same as travelling around the world solo, but the thing is he was prepared to let me do that because he thought I was both mature enough and old enough to handle that responsibility. I didn't in the end (too busy chasing skirts at the time), but the lesson from it has stuck with me all these years.

I hope my kids grow up mature enough to handle such opportunities at a young age, and that I am mature enough to allow them regardless of my own hidden, parenting fears.

8:54 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Joe said...

And how the hell are so many people here (and at Althouse) experts on Abby Sunderland and her parents? The ability to perfectly understand their abilities, psychology and fitness as parents is simply amazing. It's homeopathic psychology, where the less you know, the more you can diagnose.

8:56 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Andrea said...

"Doesn't the fact that she managed control through 35-knot winds, 20-to-25 foot waves, a broken mast and torn sails and... she's still alright... Hmm. Sounds like she's handling herself OK. No?"

No. Sounds like she was lucky. What was she doing in the middle of the Indian Ocean in winter? Not smart.

The girl is a fantastic sailor -- great. But why the need to sail around the world? There are plenty of races in North America, opportunities to skipper boats for rich folks, or other situations where she can utilize her exceptional skills. All have an element of danger, but not like being a speck in the Indian Ocean at the roughest time of the year.

Had she died (and she is lucky she didn't), would we be expected to feel sorry for her? I couldn't.

8:59 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Ken Mitchell said...

Science fiction author Jerry Pournelle writes, of Abby, "I would myself suspect she was in less danger alone in the Indian Ocean in a typhoon than many girls her age on prom night."

http://www.jerrypournelle.com/view/2010/Q2/view626.html#Friday

Andrea asks: "But why the need to sail around the world? " Why climb mountains? Why do ANYTHING fun and exciting? She was - IS - prepared. Her boat is virtually unsinkable. She has the appropriate protective gear. She's trained to do this. Breaking a mast is bad luck, but it isn't a catastrophe.

I would echo most of the complaints about over-protective "helicopter parents". These people are destroying the spirit of independence and confidence that built America. When that spirit is squashed, as Andrea would like to do, we'll all sink back into the societal sludge and drown ourselves.

9:21 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger John Lynch said...

If she can sail halfway around the world she is an adult. Children can't do that.

9:21 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Kay said...

Put me down as another mom who's sick of the whole idea of "helicopter" parenting. What I really see and hear in many of these comments is not so much that people believe her parents were wrong to let her attempt to circumnavigate the globe, but in reality, they are simply falling victim to "class envy". So many of the comments refer to the cost of the rescue efforts, and "spoiled rich brats". I find that very telling. I really do believe that as this young lady was obviously raised around sailing, it is the right of she and her parents to choose how they wish to live. Frankly, like it or not, folks, they're paying big bucks for all kinds of services and contributing far more to our society - helping to keep people employed - than your average $45K per year schmuck who is living beyond their means and envious of those whose choices in life have made them wealthy!

9:42 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Selina Street said...

Do the parents pay for the rescue operation?

10:00 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Kay said...

I strongly suspect that these parents can and will pay for the rescue operation. Far more foolhardy are those who get themselves into a mess without the financial backing to extricate themselves.

10:09 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

they are simply falling victim to "class envy". So many of the comments refer to the cost of the rescue efforts, and "spoiled rich brats". I find that very telling.

Amen. I bet many of those people have no problem paying for the "rescue" of adults needlessly on welfare and their children and all sorts of other entitlement programs. Why do we pay taxes? Do we pay the police and fire department when they come to our rescue? Even in cases of wanton endangerment such as drunken driving, speeding and other stupid stuff.

10:25 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Conserve Liberty said...

It is neither your business, nor my business nor that of the state what these parents do or do not permit their child to do. How arrogant you all are to think it your right and duty to weigh in with your opinion.

Tend to your own, lest someday one would regulate your choice.

10:40 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger John said...

It amazes me how people are apparently completely unable to make distinctions anymore. Yes, parents are far too controling of their children. Yes, teenagers ought to be allowed to strike out on their own. But, that doesn't make sending your kid out into the Indian Ocean on a publicity stunt is a good idea.

As Andrea pointed out above, if this girl is a fantastic sailor there are tons of races and opportunities that would allow her to excel without this drastic level of risk. All of those "benefits" you guys think she gets out of this would have done her no good dead. And that is what she is lucky she is not.

There is a big difference between not being a helicopter parent and allowing your kids to take radical risks so you can get sponsorships and get on the news and live vicariously through your children. Note that the father or mother isn't sailing around the world solo.

Society today just can't stay out of the ditch. Half the country won't let their teenagers go out of the house alone. And the other half thinks it is okay to send them out on sailboats alone in winter on the Indian ocean. No one seems to have any kind of common sense or judgement anymore.

And Kay you have been shopping that class envy crap on two boards now. It is not class envy. It is common sense. Why does everyone who thinks this a good idea, feel the need to question the motives of those who don't?

10:48 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Doug Wade said...

I think the people calling this a publicity stunt are off the mark - just because there have been some stupid publicity hound parents in the news lately doesn't mean this applies in this case.

In regards to rescue costs, it's not like there was a huge traditional search and rescue operation. Quantas was kind enough to overfly the area and briefly talk to her. There are costs associated with that and they haven't decided yet if they're going to pass those onto somebody or just eat it as a PR thing. Some fishermen happened to be closest and are supposed to pick her up - it's basically two days of gas and lost work for them. But that's how it works out there - everybody looks after each other and nobody knows who might be next.

10:56 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Patrick said...

Back in 1980, when I was 17, my mother - with some trepidation - let me get on a flight from Shannon to JFK, to work in the US for the summer.

I ended up falling in with some Greeks in Asbury Park, NJ, had a great time, and went back to work for them the next summer.

The whole experience made me an American. I eventually moved to the US, served in the US military, and now live in Atlanta. I LOVE the US.

Now, my adventures have nothing on this young woman. Though, I did once walk from the Port Authority Bus Terminal on 42nd to the YMCA at 34th and 7th - after dark.

11:13 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Dexter Westbrook said...

The only issue that bothers me is that others now have to put themselves at risk to rescue someone who is off on a publicity stunt. Are the taxpayers of the country that rescues her going to be reimbursed for their expense?

The parents of Abby Sutherland are the best judges of whether their daughter can pull this off. Fine. But make sure you're ready to pony up if things go horribly wrong.

One other thing -- it isn't the best sailing weather in that part of the Indian Ocean right now. I presume the girl knew this and was taking a risk, and apparently expecting others to bail her out if she ran into trouble.

11:20 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Kevin M said...

Ten years ago, I watched a show on Discovery Channel about a 12-year old girl that lives in Alaska. She takes her dogsled out on a trail to check animal traps as far as 40 miles away from home. She is away for up to a week. She takes no firearms, only a team of 8 dogs. This is normal for her.

If she's eaten by a bear, everyone says "Arrest her parents." If she isn't, "Wow, those kids in Alaska aren't the video game-afflicted idiots our kids are."

When a swimmer in Australia is eaten by a shark, we say "what idiots to swim with sharks." If they aren't, no bid deal.

There are kids in rough neighborhoods in L.A., Chicago or NYC that walk to school amidst drug dealers and other scum. You can't prevent everything, and you can't hide for your whole life.

What you think is appropriate for a parent to allow their kids to do is your affair, but the variance in what is appropriate or not is far too wide to claim that Boat Girl has bad parents just because of this incident. To claim such is nothing less than rabidly seeking someone to blame for an unfortunate incident. I know far too many parents who overprotect their kids to the point that the kids grow up to be incompetent, insecure and dysfuntional. And that leads to misery just as surely (if not more so) than allowing a kid to do something most kids would wet themselves at the very suggestion.

11:48 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

There are two ways to elevate yourself; work at improvement or tear down your betters.

Many are perfectly willing to try to appear morally superior by attempting to tear down a teenage girl who is clearly their better.

11:50 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger wellington said...

One of the most important qualities distinguishing America from other places is our natural willingness to let other people do what they want with their lives. It is not absolute and sadly it is eroding together with other liberties but it is still one of our core traits.

Abby Sunderland and her family are certainly outliers on the spectrum of social behavior but I am glad they are there. I hope my own children will grow up and take on the world like Abby. And I pray I will be able to overcome my own fears to let them do it. I know what I am talking about. That little daughter of my friends who loved to climb on me while I was playing a tree for her in the middle of their living room is all grown up and had joined the Marines. She is a little older than Abby but anyone who’d think the extra couple of years make it easier for her parents is a regrettable fool.

Go Abby. And go my little climber. Godspeed.

11:53 PM, June 11, 2010  
Blogger Mark Sicignano said...

John says: "There is a big difference between not being a helicopter parent and allowing your kids to take radical risks so you can get sponsorships and get on the news and live vicariously through your children. Note that the father or mother isn't sailing around the world solo."

John, please define what is a "radical risk". This young woman may have plenty of experience and ability after many years of sailing to mitigate most of the risk. What may be a radical risk for you and me may be a challenge. Consider that she made it this far on her own, as did her brother. This family isn't new to this sort of thing.

Anyway, my daughter will be getting her driving license soon. Talk about radical risks!! The last motor vehicle she operated was her pink "barbie jeep" when she was 5. I'm about to arm her with a 2000 lb chunk of metal capable of doing over 100 mph. Talk about feeling like an irresponsible parent. How is it that I can live with myself!?

Oh, that's right. I raised a mostly responsible kid, I'm going to make sure she gets enough training, and I'm going to make an educated decision on when she's ready to do it on her own.

Q for Dexter: Can you please tell me who is putting themselves at risk? Also from what I read, I thought Quantas and some commercial fishing boat that happened to be in the area were going to help her out. So maybe it's not a "state" that is going to help her out and taxpayers don't need to be reimbursed. Maybe the parents are going to help cover the costs or provide some reward to these people. And maybe the people coming to her aid are happy to do so, and will get her set back up and cheer her on in her quest to make it the rest of the way.

It's sad to see how most of the people who speak against this girls attempt assume that she's not competent, her parents aren't competent, and it's foolish because failure is almost guaranteed.

To do that you have to ignore that her brother accomplished the same thing last year, and other girls have done it in the recent past. Do you people have visions of her paddling in a leaky wooden boat with a broken compass?

Stop projecting your fears and lack of experience onto this girl. She's pretty incredible and I'm sure that her family believes in her for good reason. Stop being so judgmental. It's not your life to live and nobody put you in charge of deciding what this girl can or can't do.

12:09 AM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger bmmg39 said...

Didn't an Australian or New Zealander girl just sail around the world solo?

1:29 AM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Kurt said...

I agree with Lord Van Lord's comment earlier. I think it is admirable that her parents want to encourage her independence and her courage. What I don't admire is the decision to allow her to undertake a very risky journey all by herself--and then to expect society at large to come to her rescue when she runs into difficulty.

I heard Greg Gutfeld the other day talking about his book "The Bible of Unspeakable Truths," and one of the "unspeakable truths" was that "People who live life to the fullest are usually ****s" (p.207). As he said, "I'm talking about the people we have to rescue from mountaintops. It costs money to rescue these people, and we all pay for that bill. I don't care about the person who puts him [or herself] in harm's way and gets injured or stranded. I care about the little old lady who slips and falls in the street or slips in her bathtub. I worry about my mom who's 85 breaking a hip."

1:36 AM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Dee said...

They are noble, smart, and intuitive parents. We need more like them. Anyone who disagrees doesn't understand the great potential that all people, even children and teens, possess.

2:09 AM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Sidney said...

Miss Sunderland is a symbol of what our country has been doing: (1) take on more risk than her capability allows, (2) fail - but (3) get bailed out - literally! - when failure occurs.

She would not have taken this trip if she hadn't been guaranteed of a bailout if she failed. She is a textbook example of moral hazard.

3:29 AM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger huntb said...

閱讀您的BLOG文章,真是件快樂的事!!.........................

3:57 AM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger br549 said...

Nice post, Oligonicella (June 11, 11:50 PM). I see it that way.

Born on the Atlantic coast, around water, sail, and power boats my whole life, and knowing what mother nature is capable of, I admire the young lady.

She did much better than I would have done in such a situation. Well, I also swim like a brick.

Considering the most challenging thing I did was to hitch hike around the U.S. at 18, sleep under bridges, in the woods, and on rooftops of single story buildings at night , I hope she finishes her voyage.

4:58 AM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger br549 said...

I also hope she finds what she is looking for. I'm still not sure I ever did.

5:00 AM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Kay said...

John - touched a nerve, did I? Wow. There is a problem with my posting on more than one board why? Obviously you've frequented more than one board. If you were trying to call me out, FAIL.

6:55 AM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger we're doomed said...

I don't think I would let my children try this adventure. However, having heard a little info about the family I can understand why they allow their children to be all they can be. In closing, I think our country needs more young people like Abby. When you watch the reality shows and the Hollywood trash, trashing around. It's really heartening to see a young lady like Abby and watch her try and accomplish something great.
Our country will flourish with young ladies like Abby. Children like this young lady are molded by their parents. Kudos to the mom and dad.

7:05 AM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger The Social Pathologist said...

I think our country needs more young people like Abby.

No it doesn't.

Her exercise was a solipsistic pursuit of self-aggrandizement at the risk of her life. Her actions neither advanced science,commerce or navigation. The benefits of this voyage were hers and hers alone, except for other solipsistic individuals who will use her example to both justify and pursue their "own dream".

How lacking in common sense is this woman who feels that the only way she can gain a sense of achievement is by exposing her life constantly to peril. She is like one of those idiot kids who has to fight everyone to prove that they are the toughest. She fought the ocean, and the ocean won. Lucky she wasn't killed.

Life is not without its risks. But how many parents here would let their kid play hopscotch in a minefield? Sensible parents would say such an action is stupid. Most of the moronic commentators on this post would probably applaud the "bravery" of such a child. Facepalm.
Yet this is precisely what these parents did.

We are all meant to take some due care with our lives and risk is part of all of our activities, but the grown ups of this world are meant to exercise a moral quality called "prudence". This young lady overestimated her abilities and underestimated the dangers of the sea, even though she was an "experienced" sailor. She clearly placed herself in a high risk environment for an unjustifiable reason. She did not exercise any prudence.

The sad fact of the whole matter is that many of her supporters clearly lack this quality as well. It is also the same quality that is the basis for good government. If you want to know why your country is decaying, look in a mirror.

8:12 AM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Tether said...

Kay condescendingly opines: "... and envious of those whose choices in life have made them wealthy!"

-------

Let me guess, Kay, your choice to make you wealthy was bagging some schmuck with money.

And now, after buying lots of stuff with his money, the material thing isn't really doing it for you anymore, so your new way to keep yourself busy is to push the money in people's faces and constantly emphasize what a high-class dame you are.

Or something like that.

Frankly, I think envy is what drives superficial women like you to gain wealth by being a parasite - you are then projecting that OTHER people are as envious as you of shiny baubles.

8:40 AM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Tether said...

Kay's a haughty, not a hottee.

8:41 AM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Max said...

I'm a 25 year veteran of the seas (retired USN, CDR). As you might guess, I've been through some rough seas! As a parent of three children, now adults, I have enough hindsight to know that every family and every parent will have a circumstance and an intuitive sense/feeling of what's right and wrong, what will or will not work for each sibling. I always worried about how my interactions with each child had the potential to teach 'learned helplessness.' For example, many parents are habitual when they say 'NO' to a child who is climbing a fence. They fear he/she will fall! But falling is also a lesson. Too many NOs in the life of a child leads to that child's failure to test his/her own limits later in life. I think you have to be there when they fall. Surely they will! Go sailing my flower! I'll pray that you won't fall but, never say NO! I will always be the ground beneath your feet should you need support after a fall! Love Dad

9:17 AM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

A word about rescue efforts.

Again, I know nothing about the planning that went into this particular voyage, but as a frequent hiker and climber I do know how I prepare for my own trips.

Before I leave my own region to hike in another, I perform some research into what the rescue plan is for the area I am visiting. Is there a Search and Rescue organization? Who are their members? How long will it take to get help? How does my Personal Locator Beacon communicate with their organization? How much will my rescue cost me? (And this can get very expensive very fast BTW). I have a thorough understanding what my risk is before I leave home. What I won't do ever as much as I can is compromise someone elses' safety to save my sorry butt. I won't do it.

I have been in a couple of situations where I have attempted to rescue other people only to find myself soon in horrible danger. I will never do it again. Do something stupid? You are on your own.

I hope Ms. Sunderlands family understands this POV. A French fishing vessel was the first to reach her, it cost them fuel and time away from earning their livelihood to get to her. I hope for their sake that Sunderland's parents are going to be reaching for their checkbooks and compensating them appropriately.

9:49 AM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Dr.D said...

Why is it necessary that we judge these parents? They and their children are unique individuals, totally unknown to any of us, living in circumstances far removed from our own. We cannot possibly have a proper basis for making a judgment, and yet there is this obscene compulsion to judge; why? Can we not simply observe what they did and say, "wow!"?

It is probably not what you or I would do, it is not what my own children would be capable of attempting. I am very uncomfortable with this idea (is it the Hillary "it takes a village..." influence?) that we must all protect children from the way their parents are raising them, even when the children and their parents are all completely at ease with their own situation.

God has given children into the care of parents, not the state. He will hold parents accountable. Let us leave it at that.

10:29 AM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

I can't entirely decide where I fall on this issue.

OOH, it's great that this family has such passion. Most American kids grow up dreaming about partying every day, playing video games for a living or being an attention whore at their wedding.

OTOH, solo sailing in the open sea is a hell of a lot different than letting your kids play outside without adult supervision. And this is pretty plain thrill-seeking, which is not a socially beneficial pursuit (and has major social costs for the risk).

Has this brought to mind the young girl who was trying to fly around the world? I believe she died in the effort.

10:32 AM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Bedbug said...

First, private boats are rescued all the time....they just aren't covered by the media unless they are 16-year old solo sailors.

Second, the French vessel acted under the universal law of the sea in helping a fellow sailor in trouble. A foundering Somali pirate boat would not be passed by.

Third, while sailing is often considered an endeavor only for the wealthy, Sutherland has a sponsor and a contract with terms that none of us know, It is possible they may assume some of the rescue costs.

10:50 AM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

Let's talk about that universal law of the sea for a moment. That was enacted well before satellite phones, PLBs and radios, and thrill-seekers that insist on pushing the boundaries of what is reasonable only because they know that there is a universal law of the sea where people are obligated to rescue them.

Abigail Sunderland may have chosen to take on this sailing adventure knowing full well there would be fishing boats on the high seas that would be obligated to rescue her if she ran into trouble. If so, I'm not impressed.

11:01 AM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Larry J said...

The lyrics of this song (Pink Flyod's "The Wall", "Mother") reminds me of many of the posters here.

Mother do you think they'll drop the bomb?
Mother do you think they'll like this song?
Mother do you think they'll try to break my balls?
Mother should I build the wall?
Mother should I run for president?
Mother should I trust the government?
Mother will they put me in the firing line?
Mother am I really dying?

Hush now baby, baby, dont you cry.
Mother's gonna make all your nightmares come true.
Mother's gonna put all her fears into you.
Mother's gonna keep you right here under her wing.
She wont let you fly, but she might let you sing.
Mama will keep baby cozy and warm.
Ooooh baby ooooh baby oooooh baby,
Of course mama'll help to build the wall.

Mother do you think she's good enough -- to me?
Mother do you think she's dangerous -- to me?
Mother will she tear your little boy apart?
Mother will she break my heart?

Hush now baby, baby dont you cry.
Mama's gonna check out all your girlfriends for you.
Mama wont let anyone dirty get through.
Mama's gonna wait up until you get in.
Mama will always find out where you've been.
Mama's gonna keep baby healthy and clean.
Ooooh baby oooh baby oooh baby,
You'll always be baby to me.

Mother, did it need to be so high?


You can call yourself "responsible" while crippling your children with your own fears, or you can teach them to face the perils of the world.

11:11 AM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger David said...

I'm not sure whether it would be possible to do an actuarial analysis of the risk of this voyage, but it it was, it'd be interesting to compare it with the actuarial risk of a teenager, after a couple of drinks, going for a drive with friends at 11PM.

In that case also, there are risks to those who were not party to the decision, and the likelihood that those risks will involve death or crippling injury is probably greater than in the case of the sea voyage.

11:50 AM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Mark Sicignano said...

After reading further comments on here, I also agree with Oligonicella's idea that people need to make themselves feel superior by tearing down others who accomplish something greater.

And to those who seem all bent on the cost to society of some rescue effort, we don't know that society is going to pay for any of this and if the cost is going to be all that significant.

There are individuals in this world -- MANY of them -- who will accomplish far less while costing society so much more.

I'm amazed at how many of the critics in the above comments have managed to figure out exactly what this girl's motives are. How did you manage that?

1:18 PM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Kay said...

Tether -

Actually, I'm a SAHM, raising two teen daughters. Our income level is NOT wealthy, but we're prudent in our choices. We've driven old cars for the last 16 years w/no car payment, and my daughters were homeschooled until two years ago - not to shelter them, but to give them a good foundation. It's just lovely that you find it so easy to generalize and assume that my only reasons for supporting the Sunderlands is that I'm a trophy wife. Hubby will get a GREAT laugh out of that one!

1:20 PM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Mark Sicignano said...

If I can make a book recommendation, The Royal Road to Romance, by Richard Halliburton. Back in the '20s, upon graduating from Princeton and faced with a new life of going to work at a desk dealing with mountains of paperwork, he had an epiphany, and decided to travel the world by closing his eyes, putting a finger on a map and then endeavoring to get there.

You know... some people don't want to live the life of an average person and they could care less about the scorn that a bunch of lame-o critics want to dish you. Some of these people may die young pursuing their dreams, but it's their choice not to die old with a bunch of regrets that they never took that chance to pursue what they always wanted to do.

1:46 PM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Larry J said...

Cham said...
Let's talk about that universal law of the sea for a moment. That was enacted well before satellite phones, PLBs and radios, and thrill-seekers that insist on pushing the boundaries of what is reasonable only because they know that there is a universal law of the sea where people are obligated to rescue them.

Abigail Sunderland may have chosen to take on this sailing adventure knowing full well there would be fishing boats on the high seas that would be obligated to rescue her if she ran into trouble. If so, I'm not impressed.


I'm sure she doesn't care whether you're impressed or not. The fact of the matter is that sailors are obligated to come to the aid of other sailors in distress. That applies to her as much as it does to everyone else. Had she been close to another sailor in distress, she would've been obligated to come to that sailor's aid.

Knowing other sailors will help you if possible is common knowledge. You can still die long before the closest ship can reach you.

2:08 PM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Larry Sheldon said...

I think the world would be a much better place if parents would let their kids be people.

My parents could never afford anything like this, but within their means I was a allowed to breathe and to grow.

Come on people--not very long ago 16 was between a half and a third of a life, wasn't it?

What is the average age, through history, of queens at crowning? (That is a pure question, I don't know the answer.)

2:13 PM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Tether said...

Kay sez: "Actually, I'm a SAHM, raising two teen daughters. Our income level is NOT wealthy, but we're prudent in our choices."

----

So your husband is the working schlub that you cut down in other posts (maybe he makes 65k instead of 45k - big deal). You talk about class envy and you aren't even in the class you are defending.

Strange.

You are all over the board with your posts. In other words, just nonsense.

And I got it right, though, about you leeching off your husband.

2:22 PM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Kay said...

Tether. Nice. You actually made my point there, buddy. Actually my poor "schlub" of a husband and I do not meet those criterion even on the low side, but that IS my point. We're neither one leeching off the government, or anyone else. And yet, we respect those people who are the wealth makers - those who actually have worked for and earned their money. We recognize that they are the kind of folks who do employ others, and without them, our entire society and economy will collapse. But I will not respond to you again. You've shown your colors, and they tend toward the yellow side of beige.

2:36 PM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger God Of Bacon said...

Any parent who complains about allowing a teenager to sail around the world alone is free to explain why millions of teenagers are forced to spend all day, every day locked in a school building with violent sociopaths like Ryan Tucker.

3:57 PM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

I've been reading some of the news reports on this story. This is going to be one heck of a post-mortem.

4:09 PM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Larry Sheldon said...

"post mortem"

Who died?

(I mean besides the human spirit?)

4:16 PM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Steve said...

The accusations of "helicopter" parents to people who are critical of this family's decision making seems extreme. There is an awfully big difference between incessant hovering and forbidding a to travel around the world by herself, don'cha think? The fact of the matter is that, as of this year, in this country (US), parents or assigned legal guardians are responsible for the actions and safety of their children up to the age of 18 years. Yes, I said children; they are legally considered minors.

Was it foolish of the child and irresponsible on the part of her parents? Yes, on both counts. Her biography mentions she trained for this solo, open water venture for less than three years, under the tutelage of experienced sailors. But how many years as has she been skippering or sailing boats in the open sea by herself?

I doubt those flinging accusations of "helicoptering" have been on the open sea, much less in stormy weather, much less while in a 12m sailboat. I doubt they recognize that captains -- be they sea, airline, or military -- do not become so solely through training, but through aptitude shaped by experience and decisions made in the face of adversity... the type of which both she and parents should expect her to encounter on this trip. If she managed to complete her trip (without stopping for forgotten supplies or repairs), it would have due largely to luck -- the good fortune of not having run into a challenge that exceed her limited capability and experience.

I wonder how many of those who accuse critics of "helicoptering" are the type who act surprised when their kid gets pregnant, breaks into a neighbor's house, vandalizes a car, gets involved with drugs, shoplifts, steals from the liquor cabinet, drives recklessly causing an accident, or makes some other mistake that occurs all too commonly at levels of social strata. These are same parents who afterward insist, "I didn't know" or "I had no idea".

Without question you should take steps to make your teen or pre-teen your friend. But make no mistake, he or she is not your peer. Nor are they you. They are not your equal, and they do not carry the same legal and economic burdens you hold for their actions. As such, sometimes a pragmatic and responsible parent will have to say "no", in the best interests of the child and the family. And that parent should have the intestinal fortitude to stand by that statement.

Many parents chose not to do so, simply because it's easier. But the shirking of such personal accountability and practice of parental responsibilities -- like guidance, involvement, pragmatic decision-making and the provision of the reasoning behind them -- is part of the reason much of today's youth (including 20-somethings) remains so misguided and reluctant to take responsibility themselves.

4:44 PM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger br549 said...

You know, Cham, there are those who think what you love to do is quite dangerous at times. And it is.
You, of all people, would seem to understand what Abby is "up to".
The difference, from a line in a Paul Simon song is "One man's ceiling is another man's floor."
I am finding it hard to understand what you are about in this thread.

4:52 PM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Larry Sheldon said...

I didn't say anything about "helicoptering".

I did try to shine a light on "smothering the spirit".

May be I should have said the people dumping on the girl and her parents suffer from an extreme case of terminal craniorectal insertion.

I'd rather have a daughter do that than take a buss downtown.

Or go to college where her spirit would be broken, instead of her mainmast.

4:56 PM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

br549: Start reading the news. It turns out dad is some sort of public relations expert. The boat was was not thoroughly tested and recently purchased. The trip was started during the bad weather season in the Indian Ocean because if Ms. Sunderland had started any later she would have been at risk of not being the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe in a sailboat. She only had 3 years of sailing experience, which, IMHO, probably wasn't enough.

I'm all for taking risk but I am highly suspect of anyone that knowingly makes poor choices. Proper planning prevents poor performance. This kid's father might have been thinking more about a book deal than safety.

5:02 PM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger JG said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:57 PM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger JG said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:03 PM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger asda said...

每個人生命中都可能遇到貴人,這些貴人不一定真的尊貴,他可能是陌生人,也可能是你的敵人。........................................

6:10 PM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Target said...

Kay, I grew up in a neighborhood that was dominated by one housewife who was married to an attorney, so she bullied everyone in the neighborhood. Really bullied and threatened everyone.

So, since my own mother worked (along with my father), I have a true hatred for housewives. Nevertheless, I'm sure the mythical coupon-clipping, only-wants-the-best-for-her-family, long-suffering, cookie-baking housewife exists somewhere today.

But allow me to doubt it, please.

And really ... if you are not in the real world, please shut your mouth about opinions about the real world.

6:33 PM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Steve said...

"I'd rather have a daughter do that than take a buss downtown."

You cannot possibly be serious.

6:42 PM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Selina Street said...

Kay the question was rhetorical - the parents will not be paying for the rescue operation. Once again the taxpayers will cover the cost - and that would be the taxpayers of Australia. Quantas I imagine also incurred some costs when they diverted an airbus as did the myriad of privately owned ships who became nvolved.

I entirely agree with the Social Pathoiligist it was a 'solipsistic pursuit of self-aggrandizement' - which would be fine if other people didn't have to pay for it.

7:25 PM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Larry Sheldon said...

I am absolutely serious.

Even if I can't spell "bus" correctly.

We never could afford that ind of trip, and none have expressed an interest in solo sailing. But we have seen a variety of adventures that you probably look down your nose at.

8:05 PM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Kay said...

Just wow. Really not feelin' the love. So sorry you fellas have such poor opinions of housewives. May God forgive me for expressing an opinion that you deem less valid than your own. I answer only to my husband, my family, and my maker (not necessarily in that order) and they know what and who I am, so your thoughts make no difference to me whatsoever. Typical liberal tolerance here I can see - the only valid opinions are the ones you yourselves express. C-ya, wouldn't wanna b-ya.

9:01 PM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Steve said...

But we have seen a variety of adventures that you probably look down your nose at.

Considering I've done things like drive cross-country in VW microbus, took a hiatus from a cushy corporate job in the wake of 9/11 to join the Nat'l Guard and go through Army Basic Training at 30 (later reflecting upon it as a fun), and ran the first annual Big Apple 2 Big Easy challenge in a $250 Yugo... there is not much recreation I'd snub.

That said, I'm afraid I'll have to disagree with you on the comparative dangers of downtown bus rides (even in crap holes like midnight DC and Detroit) as compared to circumnavigating the globe on a 40ft sailboat, with only a couple years of experience at the helm.

Some might be inclined to believe the former -- in light of negative news media, anecdotal gossip, and availability heuristics -- is much more dangerous than the latter. But with the bus ride, assistance and deterrence is only minutes (if not seconds) away... whereas, with the latter, help is hundreds of miles and days away. And while I'm skeptical of man and society in this day and age, I'd still predict, read, and trust a stranger on a downtown bus more than I would the forces and inclinations of Mother Nature in the middle of the ocean.

11:48 PM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Larry Sheldon said...

When you have some facts, come back and talk.

For example: What is the average number of rapes and deaths (for any cause) per mile in city buses, compared to the number rapes and deaths (for all causes) per mile in sailboats?

Ask Dr. Helen to start a new thread when you are ready, because I'm out of this one.

11:59 PM, June 12, 2010  
Blogger Steve said...

What is the average number of rapes and deaths (for any cause) per mile in city buses, compared to the number rapes and deaths (for all causes) per mile in sailboats?

If you want to talk probability for the sake of comparison, you'd find more relevant statistics by asking "what is the percentage of casualties, per capita, of all metro bus riders?" as compared to "what is the percentage of casualties, per capita, of all trans-ocean voyagers?"

Facts indeed. When you have some facts to introduce reason in support of an asinine comment like 'I'd let my teenage daughter circumnavigate the globe in small craft before I'd let her on a downtown bus', feel free to share them with us... in this thread or otherwise.

12:31 AM, June 13, 2010  
Blogger Rob said...

Well, if you believe they were so enlightened to do this, then certainly you must feel they are enlightened enough to pay for her rescue.

Tit for tat.

This was ridiculous.

The flying relation is silly. I am a pilot, and I wouldn't send off a 16 year old on a Spirit of St Louis flight to build character.

Absurd.

Learning how to sail? Yes.

Learning how to sail solo? Sure!

Sailing around the world?

Wait until you have 20 years frigging experience, which will teach you to be scared bloody shitless every minute that you are on the open sea.

Obviously, there are people here who think mother nature is somehow fair!

Make Mom and Dad pay, and investigate for criminal negligence. This was insane!

1:57 AM, June 13, 2010  
Blogger bb said...

A couple of points..

This girl entered the Indian Ocean far too late in the season. She departed from CA late, and got held up in SA because of equipment problems. So she was way too late into the season to be attempting this in a 40ft sloop, regardless of being alone. This is why she and her parents are getting hammered by the sailing community, and specifically experienced circumnavigators. It was a move that tells experienced people that neither she nor her parents were competent to undertake this voyage.

Also when your mast breaks it's because your boat has rolled, and it doesn't just break off, it's captured by the rigging. So there's nothing to 'manage', you just sit there and hope that another big wave doesn't come.

Last point, the boat's builder has stated that this boat is not set-up properly for someone of her strength and stature. It has solo rigging, but was not customized for her. Apparently the family purchased it in 2001, but didn't have it modified for her. So she was at a significant deficit as soon as she encountered the storm.

I do think that there was negligence here, both on her part and her father's. Read up on this situation a bit before you jump to the conclusion that the criticism is just a bunch of over-reacting by helicopter parents.

2:11 AM, June 13, 2010  
Blogger Rob said...

As Dr. Helen has made her claim to fame with "going Galt," I wonder how she justifies this girl's rescue should be spread across the taxpayer's pocket, rather than the irresponsible parent's.

"Dr" Helen, is, after all, the famous "going Galt girl," isn't she?

3:24 AM, June 13, 2010  
Blogger Rob said...

Davey Crocket wouldn't have paid for this shit!

3:32 AM, June 13, 2010  
Blogger Rob said...

But really, Going Galt Dr. Helen!

Exacly WHAT did you mean by "Going Galt?"

Only when you and hubby had to pay higher taxes?

Obviously, you think that this girl's rescue should be borne upone taxpayers - to the millions!

What the hell kind of "Going Galt" were you talking about?

Or was that just fancy talk in the moment of the Tea Party, like the rest of them.

"Well shucks, I didn't really mean it."

Btw.

Some of us do mean it! Including the Founding Fathers - and Davey Crocket!

4:24 AM, June 13, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

Abby Sunderland is extremely interested in getting her sail boat back. She is heartbroken that she will never see her boat again, as the fishing boat that rescued her could not also tow the boat safely. Her father wants her to do this again. So if you want to encourage Abby to take another try at circumventing the globe solo, you can visit her blog here and click on the "Save Wild Eyes" icon and donate for the boat rescue. I won't be donating but you can.

6:38 AM, June 13, 2010  
Blogger Larry J said...

The flying relation is silly. I am a pilot, and I wouldn't send off a 16 year old on a Spirit of St Louis flight to build character.

It depends on the 16 year old's abilities. Back in the late 1970s, I read an article in the EAA's Sport Aviation magazine about a 16 year old boy making his first solo flight. No big deal, right? Well, he made it in a P-51 Mustang. He had been flying planes since he was old enough to reach the controls and had the required ability. His dad's final instructions were to "keep it below 300" (MPH). I'll have to see if I still have that magazine issue to find out the boy's name.

The point is, not all 16 year olds are created equal. Some of them have the training and ability to do things that many adults can't do.

7:28 AM, June 13, 2010  
Blogger br549 said...

Just think if she had not failed. Just like others who have circumnavigated the globe solo. She'd be the darling of the world, as were others before her.

Alas, she failed. And everyone is climbing all over her and her parents.

6:25 AM, June 14, 2010  
Blogger The Social Pathologist said...

This post has been bugging me for the past few days because I'm simply flabbergasted by the appalling lack of judgment by the poster and nearly all of the commentators.

The American Sailing Association-that's right people, the people who have a good understanding of the risks of sea travel--REFUSED TO SPONSOR THIS GIRL BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT HER JOURNEY WAS TOO DANGEROUS.

Here parents were negligent and her apologists fools.

7:25 AM, June 14, 2010  
Blogger The Social Pathologist said...

This post has been bugging me for the past few days because I'm simply flabbergasted by the appalling lack of judgment by the poster and nearly all of the commentators.

The American Sailing Association-that's right people, the people who have a good understanding of the risks of sea travel--REFUSED TO SPONSOR THIS GIRL BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT HER JOURNEY WAS TOO DANGEROUS.

Here parents were negligent and her apologists fools.

7:25 AM, June 14, 2010  
Blogger Jeff Y said...

What Brian Almon said.

8:28 AM, June 14, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

From the article linked about:

Abby Sunderland states:
"I'm definitely going to sail around the world again, or at least give it another try."

Though her mother mentions:

Mrs Sunderland, who is pregnant with the family's eighth child, said the family did not have the money to compensate Australian rescue officials, with the rescue costing $300,000, the Courier Mail reported.

I'll give you that Abby Sunderland is autonomous and intent on fulfilling her dream. I might even say that she has self-discipline. Personal responsibility, not so much.

She should stick with sailing, because if she starts climbing mountains she will learn that she has to pay her bills.

8:31 AM, June 14, 2010  
Blogger Professor Hale said...

These are problems rich people have. As such, they are of little importance to real people. My kids are not going around the world in a yacht, alone or in groups, because I don't have a yacht and if I did, I would not want to lose it so my daughter could feel adventurous.

If my kids buy their own yacht, they are welcome to sail it anywhere they wish. Old enough to buy a yacht, old enough to sail it. Also old enough to be boarded by Pirates.

10:01 AM, June 14, 2010  
Blogger dweeb said...

I think the parents were negligent, but NOT for letting her do this. The negligence lies in not making sure she was properly equipped.
In the year 2010, there's absolutely no excuse for her being lost, out of contact, and missing for that long. An Ohio girl set out this year to row solo across the Atlantic, and she's blogged the experience the entire way by satellite. A personal locator/distress beacon costs less than $1000

11:57 AM, June 14, 2010  
Blogger fred said...

Uodate: now that the young lady is resuced, her family reports that thwey have not enough money to pay the bill, presented by Australia...ah, taxpayers: you pay for her trip! thank you in advance.

12:40 PM, June 14, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

Dweeb:

Abby Sunderland had a locator beacon, that is how she sent out a signal that she was in distress. She also had a satellite phone, the satellite phone failed to work after her mast broke. It was found she had been on the phone with her sponsors and her parents a great deal during the trip, to instruct her on what to do. If you read her blog, you will find that she was blogging during the trip as well.

To learn more about the Sunderland adventuresome kids you will have to wait for the reality show the father is negotiating with a media organization. All 7 of their kids like to take risks, so we will have lots of high jinx to witness in the near future.

12:56 PM, June 14, 2010  
Blogger Professor Hale said...

Any balloon rides?

1:09 PM, June 14, 2010  
Blogger Quasimodo said...

too many comments to read so if this duplicates ... sorry

I have far more problems with parents that send their 16, 17, or 18 year olds off to drunken spring break extravaganzas. There is no value in alcohol fueled rites of passage.
I would not send my kids off around the world alone via any means of conveyance, but I won't speak against the kids and their parents who try such things ... this is what leaders are made of.

Of course she is lucky the pirates were busy elsewhere.

1:41 PM, June 14, 2010  
Blogger Jack said...

These parents are not good people.

"The father of Abby Sunderland, the teenage sailor who was trying to break the record for the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe, has signed a deal to do a reality show about his family called Adventures in Sunderland.

According to Magnetic Entertainment’s website the “family oriented adventure show” is based on the lives of the Sunderland family. The website says the show will “follow the family in their day-to-day lives as shipbuilder Laurence Sunderland and mother/teacher Marianne try to balance work and family.”

The deal was cut after his daughter Abby set off on her journey on Wild Eyes and the reality television crews were in their home four months ago, according to the New York Post’s website."
http://ht.ly/1YucL

8:23 PM, June 14, 2010  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

not all 16 year olds are created equal.

right. at 16 i was ready to play professional soccer and would have but for my acl ligament`s nasty habit of not sticking to the program.

and my father was ready to do what it took, including allowing me to travel unaccompanied back to england by plane and then train to the north-east of england where my aunt and uncle lived.

i had to make it from heathrow to king`s cross station via charing cross station as i got confused as to which cross i needed to get to, and i was aided by two kindly older women who saw that i was slightly lost...and i finally got my train and off to durham and a cup tea and biscuits.

but my father knew that i wouldn`t encounter much worse than that and as i was a confident young man of some ability he felt that i could do what it took...and he was right, though the forced march from charing cross to king`s cross still sticks out in my mind. those bags were bloody heavy.

but my mast didn`t snap.....

7:15 AM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger Professor Hale said...

To put this in perspective, in a few months, she will be old enough to join the Army. Her peers were having babies years ago (no legal minimum age there). In many states she is already old enough to get married.

While the world is not perfectly safe for a young girl out on her own, it is a lot safer thatn it used to be. It is a very little boat in a very big ocean. I do question the wisdom of broadcasting her position and progress ona blog. If the pirates had even known she was out there, she would have easily disappeared.

8:19 AM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger dweeb said...

Cham, I have one word in response:
REDUNDANCY.
For instance, a backup, self contained satellite phone, at a minimum.

I used to teach scuba diving. Proper equipment for a hostile environment is all about redundancy.

There is nowhere between the two arctic circles that is should take more than a few hours to find a properly equipped person in distress.

People have sailed around the world solo successfully before, and there's nothing about the task that should be beyond the capabilities of a PROPERLY PREPARED 16 year old. The outcome demonstrates that she wasn't properly prepared. Her parents job was to make sure she was

1:46 PM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger Joey said...

Abby Sunderland should be applauded for such an attempt, not become the poster child for parental neglect. Her parents gave her the tools to achieve a dream and supported her through her attempt and recent unfortunate failure. As for the failure, it's better for parents to let their kids fail so they can learn to recover and make a better and hopefully more triumphant attempt.

3:35 AM, June 18, 2010  

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