As my username suggests ... I love sailing.
I was a toddler the first time I got on a sailboat, and I was 11 years old the first time I took the boat out alone. Around a lake ... but still, alone. I was 13 when I spent two weeks anchored off shore on the Pacific - again, alone.
I was 16 when I sailed for 2 months, all alone. I'd have LOVED to sail around the world alone, and will still do this in my lifetime. By age 13, I totally could have done it considering the amount of experience I had - both alone and with an adult. It just never occurred to me to do it.
My family always gave me a lot of freedom. They treated me as an adult pretty much from puberty onwards. My family has the theory that, as a society, we tend to want children to stay children as long as possible, so we make up all kinds of rules/laws to keep them kids. Then, problems begin because we're treating human beings in adult bodies as children. This is my family's parenting theory, at least. And, I can't say I fault it - it certainly worked for me in terms of creating a wonderful childhood and a perfect transition into adulthood (earlier than most other "kids").
I think it's a shame the government is stepping in here. This 13 year old is obviously not the average kid. An average kid would never even think to do something like this. She also must have a lot of sailing experience under her belt to even consider this. I gotta say, I think adults really sometimes treat teens with a total lack of respect for their dreams, their plans, their lives. Raised right, a teen is capable of everything an adult is capable of ... it's just that, more often than not, they're not given the chance to try.
I must admit, I'm so glad to have been raised by my family!