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abby rules?

reader rant

abby rules?

First I’d like to say how great it was that Abby Sunderland was located and was able to be taken off her boat in such a short time.
I know you guys at Sailing Anarchy love to stir things up and that’s cool, however we are talking about a young person here. You complained she was defensive – she is ‘only’ sixteen, with the emphasis on teen.

Not many people have been in the southern ocean and lost a rig on reasonably big day, so it’s hard to judge. Especially a young person and relatively inexperienced – again that’s an age thing – if you haven’t been alive very long you can’t have that much experience no matter how keen you are.
So with that being said – Abby did sail almost half way around the world and there a lot of people who can’t say that! She has rounded Cape Horn under sail and a few less can say that, she has crossed the Atlantic too.

It is pretty hard to make an opinion on someone else’s decision in a crisis unless you were there, and I find it almost ludicrous that your editor suggested she motor her way out of there – where was she going to drive too – she wasn’t off Richmond going home to Alameda for the night.

Another comment was made about her rig laying under the boat and what a poor effort, because she didn’t make a jury rig and sail herself home like the (vastly experienced) guy in the mini who did just that (great effort by the way) Alessandro Di Benedetto.

I would like to see Sailing Anarchy get scientific and have a rig raising competition – make a great article – kind of like an anchor drag test, only different – get a thousand fit people, any gender, any age, and have them go out near the Farrallon Islands on an ordinary day, and drop the rig off a J/24 – don’t make it too hard, just let it hang about a meter under the boat with time to fill with water. Please report back how many actually get the thing out of the water solo, let alone raise it into a suitable jury rig and sail back to the bay. If you get more than one person to do that, then I guess you could sit down with Abby when things cool down and ask her over a milk shake, why she didn’t make a bigger effort.

The alternative to her not being taken off so efficiently by the fishing boat is probably another dead teenager – no note and no real reason why… We have enough of that in society as it is, and that would be a real shame – I say well done to the rescue authorities the French and Aussies and whoever else was involved – I am sure the crew on the fishing boat have all called home to see if their own kids had a safe weekend, and have no problem diverting to assist someone else’s kid in time of need. As a proud dad and a sailor I can relate.
It ‘s one of the first rules of the sea to lend aid when able to – I guess the second rule must be to make your own way home – but sometimes that is not always possible.

Give the kid a break.

Alan Nebauer
BOC Challenge 1994-1995