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.
BOC Challenge 1994-1995