girls gettin’ gone
Abby Sunderland’s rushed attempt to squeak in under Watson’s gun for the ‘youngest ’round’ record finally failed for good this weekend, the teenager reporting she’s headed for port in Cape Town after the failure of her final autopilot made her continued trip impossible. Sunderland wrote of the expected criticism (the most vociferous of which has been here in the SA forums and monitored by Abby’s family): "I know that some people will look on my trip as a failure because of this, and there really isn’t anything that I can do about that. When you’re surrounded by critics it can be hard to remember your own goals and expectations, you start to judge yourself by what other people are saying." Her disappointment is palpable, but her comment to critics of her trip nonsensical, especially when her stated goal was a non-stop circumnavigation.
Anarchist ‘svgrace’ summarized our feeling on Sunderland’s attempt well: "I don’t think we have given her a lot of grief. Abby has done great. The fact that Abby sounds bitter I think is transference from the parents to her. But her parents should have a "come to Jesus" moment and admit that in the face of pretty much every convention regarding Southern Ocean sailing, and against the opinion of virtually every experienced Southern Ocean sailor, they hurriedly put together a journey that had virtually no chance of success and an inordinate level of risk for her safety, and for what? Financial gain and exposure? And, in light of the beatings Jessica has been taking just trying to finish her trip, I’m just glad she’s safe, and hope the parents realize continuing this attempt is foolish. Though I’m all for Abby having an adventure like her brother- it just doesn’t have to include foolish record attempts. Sail the world and take your time – there is so much to see."
We are quite sure this isn’t the last we’ll here from little Abby. Her trip may have come to an end, but for a yong girl with no Southern Ocean experience on an ill-prepared boat to last as long as she has, past Cape Horn and through plenty of shit that would turn many of our readers green with sickness or white with fear, good things are sure to be ahead. Keep tabs on the marathon Abby thread.
Meanwhile, loveable little Ozzie-chick Jess Watson is facing the worst conditions of her trip as she hits the thousand-mile-to-go mark down at the bottom of her home country, with a low-pressure system throwing up 10m waves as she hits the home stretch. Few doubt her ability to make it in one piece, and she’s banking on it – an exclusive media deal awaits her signature and that’s just the start. And she’s earned it – her resourcefulness, ongoing communication with her tens of thousands of fans, and her general cuteness have all guaranteed her a place in the sailing history books – and even her own book, slated for a July launch and yawningly titled "Jessica Watson – True Spirit." Sydney Anarchists, warm your cameras up, and keep tabs on the extensive Jessica thread, an interesting look at the way people followed Jess’s progress in the SA forums.