13 year old might not be able to sail around the world - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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Unschooling > 13 year old might not be able to sail around the world
purslaine's Avatar purslaine 10:26 AM 09-02-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Niamh View Post
If whether they are unschooling or not is irrelevant, maybe it shouldn't be in the unschooling forum?
I think the OP put it here because she thought it may be of interest to USers (and at 3 pages of posts it surely is)

It does raise an intersting question though: should it matter whether they US or not? Is there one set of rules for USer and others fro non USers? Personally, I don't think so.....

ollyoxenfree's Avatar ollyoxenfree 12:34 PM 09-09-2009
Interesting news story from Australia about the latest candidate for "youngest sailor to solo circumnavigate the globe". She's not off to a good start. We'll see if she decides to go through with it.

http://www.theage.com.au/national/te...0909-fg9n.html

I'm curious why these sailors and their parents need to launch their voyages with global news coverage? If they just quietly set off, without all the fanfare, they don't risk criticism from others and intervention from governments. If you really think it's a good idea and want to do it, why not just go ahead? Why the publicity?
NettleTea's Avatar NettleTea 08:31 AM 09-13-2009
I have to wonder if the "issue" here is really her age or her gender. Would the Dutch government being having a crap fit over a 13 yr. old male in the same position? I have doubts...
NettleTea's Avatar NettleTea 08:42 AM 09-13-2009
Quote:
Psychologist De Winter, who is not involved in the case, said children need parents and peers around them as they mature.
Nice "one size fits all" rule there.

It's amazing that people of any age are rarely respected for freethinking and independence. I feel that a 13 yr. old has much capability to know what is best for their own being. It rests on maturity level. That is what makes the difference, imo.

It wouldn't at all be a surprise to me if this 13 yr. old happens to have more maturity and wisdom than a lot of 20 yr. olds.
mamaofthree's Avatar mamaofthree 11:19 AM 09-13-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by possum View Post
Of course it's risky, and any number of terrible things could happen to her. Of course, it is possible for her to wait or never go at all or stay home and crochet doilies like a good little girl.
was that necessary? come one make doilies?

h
cloudswinger's Avatar cloudswinger 05:30 PM 10-04-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by annakiss View Post
I'm starting to really think that the "social needs" angle is quite valid. Given media attention, the possibility of confronting others on the sea and at port, and the onset of puberty, I can see that for most 13 year-olds who grow up in a modern culture, there is a strong chance they may not have the experience or wisdom necessary to confront new experiences in a completely healthy manner. I think that it would be a challenge in more than a physical sense and as a parent, I can't see not feeling compelled to protect my child's emotional future.

We're freaks among freaks in my family, but normalcy for my kids is still really important to me. The tumultuousness of pre-pubescence and pubescence itself seem enough to create some stunted relational abilities from this sort of exercise. As a parent, I just wouldn't be sure it was worth the risk. The very idea of confronting a pirate attack at a young age - even if it were far-fetched - is like sending your child to the wolves.

The earlier comparison to the naval captain is invalid, I feel. It'd be like comparing this child who grew up in a relatively stable, modern home (presumably) with child laborers of the late 19th century or before or even the child soldiers in Liberia. Throw them into that situation to face danger, hunger, and loneliness and you're practically begging them to have difficulty finding normalcy in later life.

As the girl herself, I could see hitting 30 and totally resenting it.
I would resent not having the opportunity. Why is normalcy so important? There are tons of adults who resent the boring life they lead at 30, who've never had the chance to pursue their dreams, because someone told them that wouldn't be able to support a family, or whatever else was the expected ideal for a 30yo.

I wonder how many objectors would also object to the mother who let her 10 yo navigate his way home on the subways of NYC by himself?

The comparison to the 12 yo admiral is just to say that "kids" are completely capable of managing life and death decisions. At the age of 13, many girls were considered completely capable of being married, raising children and running a household. They made all sorts of difficult decisions all the time.

I think if she is well prepared, well trained and has the passion to do it, then she should with full support. In this day and age nobody is ever really alone. Satellites are tracking everything, and can see to the level of your license plate. So what's the point in waiting? The risk really doesn't decrease as she gets older, the ocean doesn't care how old she is. Yes, she's young, so it'd be tragic if she dies, but at least she followed her passion. But is it any less tragic if she were 20? or 30? or 40? Is it really better to live a long life of mediocrity or quiet desperation? Do most adults regret the risks they avoided or the opportunities they never followed? I don't know how many adults I know who say that they rather would be doing something else, but some adult told them that that was too risky or not going to be financially lucrative or some other lame reason to suppress the greatness within that child.
gingerbane's Avatar gingerbane 10:31 AM 10-07-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
2. I find the idea that the state would entertain the idea a little classist or, at least, hypocritical... If I left my 13 year old alone for anything more than 24 hours I am pretty darn sure I could get in trouble with the Childrens Aid society (or CPS in the USA). So....I am not allowed to leave a 13 yr old at home - but we should entertain the idea that a 13 yr old should be able to sail solo around the world? Is it because it is sailing, she is probably from a somewhat wealthy family(it is not a cheap sport), they are trying to break a record and they sought permission that the state should entertain the idea?
I read the entire thread and found this point to be the most valid of any that I have read. Interestingly enough I did not see many people respond to it. I would be interested to see a response to the above point from those who think that she should be allowed to go.
LoMaH's Avatar LoMaH 11:43 PM 06-10-2010
Excuse me for bumping this up ...

As soon as I heard the news, I came on here to search for this old thread to see if this young lady had been a part of the discussion.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37621453/?gt1=43001
choochootrain's Avatar choochootrain 11:53 PM 06-10-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoMaH View Post
Excuse me for bumping this up ...

As soon as I heard the news, I came on here to search for this old thread to see if this young lady had been a part of the discussion.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37621453/?gt1=43001
I thought about htis thread too, the moment I heard the news. I hope she's makes it through.
joy_seeker's Avatar joy_seeker 11:40 AM 06-11-2010
She's been found alive and well.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100611/...t_sailor_found

I do think attempting this at 16 is MUCH different than attempting it at 13- in fact another 16 yo (mentioned in the article I linked) successfully sailed solo around the world proving it can be done.
zeldamomma's Avatar zeldamomma 11:51 AM 06-11-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by joy_seeker View Post
She's been found alive and well.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100611/...t_sailor_found

I do think attempting this at 16 is MUCH different than attempting it at 13- in fact another 16 yo (mentioned in the article I linked) successfully sailed solo around the world proving it can be done.
I'm glad she's ok.

Lots of things that can be done are very risky. If nothing else, her parents should be billed for the rescue. The people of Mauritius/France certainly have better things to do with their money, and her needing this kind of rescue was quite likely, so parents who choose to allow their children to make these attempts should know that they shouldn't expect the governments of the world to indulge their children's expensive hobbies.
joy_seeker's Avatar joy_seeker 12:19 PM 06-11-2010
It is risky for adults to attempt such things and they aren't billed for the rescue. I find it discriminatory to assume her age is the reason for the issues. The fact that she weathered the storms and handled it with expertise is evidence that she is ready for the challenge, IMHO.
zeldamomma's Avatar zeldamomma 12:25 PM 06-11-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by joy_seeker View Post
It is risky for adults to attempt such things and they aren't billed for the rescue. I find it discriminatory to assume her age is the reason for the issues. The fact that she weathered the storms and handled it with expertise is evidence that she is ready for the challenge, IMHO.
I disagree with that too-- if you choose to do something risky just to prove you can, you should bear the financial risk as well. Wealthy people shouldn't be able to force the poor to pay for their hobbies.

Edited to add:
Part of the reason this subject makes me angry is that I have a friend who was a "boat person" in Southeast Asia as a teen (his family escaped government persecution by boat). His experience was horrific (the boat was boarded by pirates and people were raped and murdered), and there were no rescue missions. In contrast, the boat he shared with a large number of people was pushed away from shore repeatedly. If governments have money to spend rescuing people from boats, shouldn't people like my friend get first crack at it? It's not like this girl is the only one adrift in a damaged vessel in the region.
rhiandmoi's Avatar rhiandmoi 04:35 PM 06-11-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by joy_seeker View Post
It is risky for adults to attempt such things and they aren't billed for the rescue. I find it discriminatory to assume her age is the reason for the issues. The fact that she weathered the storms and handled it with expertise is evidence that she is ready for the challenge, IMHO.
Adults are billed for their own rescue all the time, especially if the reason they need rescue is foreseeable and avoidable.

http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/ne...ded.6347009.jp

http://www.onthesnow.com/news/a/6413...cue-at-alyeska

http://www.emsresponder.com/article/...siteSection=10
joy_seeker's Avatar joy_seeker 10:30 PM 06-11-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeldamomma View Post
I disagree with that too-- if you choose to do something risky just to prove you can, you should bear the financial risk as well. Wealthy people shouldn't be able to force the poor to pay for their hobbies.

Edited to add:
Part of the reason this subject makes me angry is that I have a friend who was a "boat person" in Southeast Asia as a teen (his family escaped government persecution by boat). His experience was horrific (the boat was boarded by pirates and people were raped and murdered), and there were no rescue missions. In contrast, the boat he shared with a large number of people was pushed away from shore repeatedly. If governments have money to spend rescuing people from boats, shouldn't people like my friend get first crack at it? It's not like this girl is the only one adrift in a damaged vessel in the region.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhiandmoi View Post
Adults are billed for their own rescue all the time, especially if the reason they need rescue is foreseeable and avoidable.

http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/ne...ded.6347009.jp

http://www.onthesnow.com/news/a/6413...cue-at-alyeska

http://www.emsresponder.com/article/...siteSection=10
I think this is a separate issue than the one being discussed. My original sentiment was that her family shouldn't be charged for her rescue simply because she is a minor as that would be discriminatory IMHO.

I understand why people would be opposed to this type of risk taking but I view risk as something to be assessed and taken on with as many precautions as possible. If not for risk takers we would all be living in a much different world. Furtheremore, there are risks in many activities which children participate in on a regular basis. Skateboarding, snowboarding, hiking, hunting, marksmanship, rock climbing and even chemistry just to name a few. All of these have risk and all have safety measures that can be learned to reduce that risk. It is my sincere hope that when my children see risk they ask themselves how to prepare and rise to the challenge, not fear trying.

As for the money issues and who should pay for the rescue I simply don't know enough about the topic or how these situations are normally handled to comment. I do think its a separate issue that doesn't really relate to unschooling. JMHO
karne's Avatar karne 11:42 AM 06-14-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeldamomma View Post
I disagree with that too-- if you choose to do something risky just to prove you can, you should bear the financial risk as well. Wealthy people shouldn't be able to force the poor to pay for their hobbies.

Edited to add:
Part of the reason this subject makes me angry is that I have a friend who was a "boat person" in Southeast Asia as a teen (his family escaped government persecution by boat). His experience was horrific (the boat was boarded by pirates and people were raped and murdered), and there were no rescue missions. In contrast, the boat he shared with a large number of people was pushed away from shore repeatedly. If governments have money to spend rescuing people from boats, shouldn't people like my friend get first crack at it? It's not like this girl is the only one adrift in a damaged vessel in the region.

I think this is both a loaded, and excellent point. I'm pretty sure that this kid's parents didn't see her off without the expectation of rescue at sea if needed. Did they plan ahead for it, determine a potential cost for it? Think about the man/womanpower necessary for a rescue, the risks to others in doing so? And how does something like this get prioritized over other real life human tragedies? I realize that adults taking risks are in this situation as well, but unless this girl wasn't considered a minor, her parents technically chose this for her.

I think about this a lot because I live in an area where people think they can beat the elements and risks of certain sports and often require expensive and dangerous rescues.
ollyoxenfree's Avatar ollyoxenfree 12:09 PM 06-14-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by joy_seeker View Post
It is risky for adults to attempt such things and they aren't billed for the rescue. I find it discriminatory to assume her age is the reason for the issues. The fact that she weathered the storms and handled it with expertise is evidence that she is ready for the challenge, IMHO.
This conclusion fascinates me. No harm, no foul? The outcome determines whether the risk is acceptable? That means that unless there is a complete tragedy (serious personal injury or death), it's a good idea. Lots of foolish people do dangerous things and escape without injury, but that doesn't mean that they were ready for the challenge.

I've read a lot of criticism that she tried to sail those waters during the southern hemisphere winter. If true, then I'm not sure how much expertise is in evidence and how much is luck. Real expertise also means avoiding unnecessary risk in the first place.
Dr.Worm's Avatar Dr.Worm 12:35 PM 06-14-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
What are our responsibilities as parents?

For many people safety is the biggest concern (myself included).

I do not think a 13 year old is mature enough to fully understand the risks - I may be wrong, but can live with it if I am. I could not live with letting a 13 year old do something incrediably dangerous when a few more years of maturity and experience may make all the difference.

I agree we tend to infantise teens way longer than need be - but there are so many degrees between infantises and sailing around the world by themselves!

FWIW I have a 13 year old, and know many 13 year olds. I don't know of any 13 year olds who are mature enough in all the ways necessary to sail around the world.

I suppose it is possible that there are cultural differences between the Dutch culture and mine - but neurolgy and life experience are still issues that transcend culture.
There is no way I would let my thirteen-year-old do that. I don't even think it's safe for an adult to sail alone. A 16-year-old girl was just doing this same thing and was missing...I think she was found but why take the risk? Why not sail WITH your kid? They can do the work, you're just there in case.
joy_seeker's Avatar joy_seeker 01:07 PM 06-14-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post
This conclusion fascinates me. No harm, no foul? The outcome determines whether the risk is acceptable? That means that unless there is a complete tragedy (serious personal injury or death), it's a good idea. Lots of foolish people do dangerous things and escape without injury, but that doesn't mean that they were ready for the challenge.

I've read a lot of criticism that she tried to sail those waters during the southern hemisphere winter. If true, then I'm not sure how much expertise is in evidence and how much is luck. Real expertise also means avoiding unnecessary risk in the first place.
I suppose we have to agree to disagree. I've heard those critisisms about when she was sailing as well. I've also heard other experts say that its done often. IMO the risks involved in the activity were not increased due to the girls age which is the source of controversy. 16 year olds partake in much riskier activities on a regular basis but because we are accustomed to those risks we don't question them. I have sadly known far too many teenagers who have died in car accidents, in fact car accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers. But that doesn't stop us from letting them drive alone because as a society we see it as an acceptable, normal risk. Sailing isn't seen as such and even though several teenagers have sailed alone without tragic outcomes it is still seen as too dangerous. I don't think risk is an acceptable deterrent from living life to the fullest.

I also think it is very telling that up until last year these 'youngest ever' records for sailing solo were held by boys and we didn't hear a peep about them. Abby Suderland's brother held that record and I still can't remember his first name.

ETA: I also want to state that my responses have been to later posts in the discussion regarding the 16 year old sailors. I do believe that there's a big difference between 13 and 16. JMHO
ollyoxenfree's Avatar ollyoxenfree 02:53 PM 06-14-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by joy_seeker View Post
I suppose we have to agree to disagree. I've heard those critisisms about when she was sailing as well. I've also heard other experts say that its done often. IMO the risks involved in the activity were not increased due to the girls age which is the source of controversy. 16 year olds partake in much riskier activities on a regular basis but because we are accustomed to those risks we don't question them. I have sadly known far too many teenagers who have died in car accidents, in fact car accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers. But that doesn't stop us from letting them drive alone because as a society we see it as an acceptable, normal risk. Sailing isn't seen as such and even though several teenagers have sailed alone without tragic outcomes it is still seen as too dangerous. I don't think risk is an acceptable deterrent from living life to the fullest.

I also think it is very telling that up until last year these 'youngest ever' records for sailing solo were held by boys and we didn't hear a peep about them. Abby Suderland's brother held that record and I still can't remember his first name.

ETA: I also want to state that my responses have been to later posts in the discussion regarding the 16 year old sailors. I do believe that there's a big difference between 13 and 16. JMHO
Okay, my point is that we shouldn't use outcome to judge whether an activity is a good idea or not and whether someone had the experience and knowledge to undertake it. Let's use the driving example. There are plenty of news stories about young children who take the family car for a joy ride, and manage without harming themselves or anyone else. I don't think anyone would suggest we should lower the driving limit to age 6 or 8 though. Just because this girl survived without injury doesn't mean it was a good idea to sail those water at this time of year, or that she was well-prepared and experienced enough for the excursion. The fact that she survived really is meaningless. I can play chicken on the highway and come out unscathed, but it's still not a good idea.

I agree that the criticisms about whether it was a good idea to be in the Indian Ocean in June apply regardless of age, except to the extent that she was initially fueled by a desire to be the youngest solo sailor. The fact that her parents were shopping a reality show for television at the same time makes me pretty skeptical about the whole thing too. All in all, I question the judgement of everyone involved, including the 16 y.o.

I also agree that there is a difference between a 16 y.o. solo sailor and a 13 y.o. I continue to be concerned about the publicity-seeking nature of these ventures though, regardless of age of the participants.
joy_seeker's Avatar joy_seeker 06:14 PM 06-14-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post
Okay, my point is that we shouldn't use outcome to judge whether an activity is a good idea or not and whether someone had the experience and knowledge to undertake it. Let's use the driving example. There are plenty of news stories about young children who take the family car for a joy ride, and manage without harming themselves or anyone else. I don't think anyone would suggest we should lower the driving limit to age 6 or 8 though. Just because this girl survived without injury doesn't mean it was a good idea to sail those water at this time of year, or that she was well-prepared and experienced enough for the excursion. The fact that she survived really is meaningless. I can play chicken on the highway and come out unscathed, but it's still not a good idea.

I agree that the criticisms about whether it was a good idea to be in the Indian Ocean in June apply regardless of age, except to the extent that she was initially fueled by a desire to be the youngest solo sailor. The fact that her parents were shopping a reality show for television at the same time makes me pretty skeptical about the whole thing too. All in all, I question the judgement of everyone involved, including the 16 y.o.

I also agree that there is a difference between a 16 y.o. solo sailor and a 13 y.o. I continue to be concerned about the publicity-seeking nature of these ventures though, regardless of age of the participants.
Thanks for clarifying, I see your point about the outcomes but I wasn't just basing my opinion on the fact that the girl survived. I was basing it on the articles I'd read about how she reacted and responded when the storms arrived. Everything that I've read indicated that the outcome could have been tragically different if she'd been a less experienced sailor or unable to keep her cool. It wasn't merely 'She survived so it's okay,' but more that she survived BECAUSE she's a good sailor.

As for motivations, etc. I don't trust that the media gives us the full story so I try not to judge.
ollyoxenfree's Avatar ollyoxenfree 02:32 PM 06-15-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by joy_seeker View Post
Thanks for clarifying, I see your point about the outcomes but I wasn't just basing my opinion on the fact that the girl survived. I was basing it on the articles I'd read about how she reacted and responded when the storms arrived. Everything that I've read indicated that the outcome could have been tragically different if she'd been a less experienced sailor or unable to keep her cool. It wasn't merely 'She survived so it's okay,' but more that she survived BECAUSE she's a good sailor.

As for motivations, etc. I don't trust that the media gives us the full story so I try not to judge.
Yes, we can't judge fairly either way - whether this was a bad idea or a good idea.

I've also read a fair amount from seasoned sailors who question the type of boat she was trying to sail, in those waters at that time of year. She was 2 days from any assistance and it doesn't sound like the rescue was easy, since one of her rescuers ran into trouble himself. If I was going to judge based on outcome, the fact that her boat DIDN'T survive would be pretty persuasive that poor judgement was used in planning the venture.

I'm trying to keep an open mind. There's a lot written about allowing children to follow their passions, and I believe that's important. When the parents are shopping reality television shows, though, I can't help but question whose passions and whose motivations are taking priority - especially with timing the adventure. So in this case, and others where there's a lot of publicity, I'm finding it difficult to remain open-minded.

On the issue of costs of these adventures, Jessica Watson, the successful Australian 16 y.o., collided with a tanker on her first night out. Her boat needed something like $50,000 in repairs. Private Australian citizens donated money, labour, equipment etc. so she could continue her journey. There are a lot of people who are willing to support these kinds of adventures.

If Abby is truly passionate about solo sailing, it will be interesting to see if she tries again - with the solo record (and the publicity) firmly out of reach.
joy_seeker's Avatar joy_seeker 03:02 PM 06-15-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post
Yes, we can't judge fairly either way - whether this was a bad idea or a good idea.

I've also read a fair amount from seasoned sailors who question the type of boat she was trying to sail, in those waters at that time of year. She was 2 days from any assistance and it doesn't sound like the rescue was easy, since one of her rescuers ran into trouble himself. If I was going to judge based on outcome, the fact that her boat DIDN'T survive would be pretty persuasive that poor judgement was used in planning the venture.

I'm trying to keep an open mind. There's a lot written about allowing children to follow their passions, and I believe that's important. When the parents are shopping reality television shows, though, I can't help but question whose passions and whose motivations are taking priority - especially with timing the adventure. So in this case, and others where there's a lot of publicity, I'm finding it difficult to remain open-minded.

On the issue of costs of these adventures, Jessica Watson, the successful Australian 16 y.o., collided with a tanker on her first night out. Her boat needed something like $50,000 in repairs. Private Australian citizens donated money, labour, equipment etc. so she could continue her journey. There are a lot of people who are willing to support these kinds of adventures.

If Abby is truly passionate about solo sailing, it will be interesting to see if she tries again - with the solo record (and the publicity) firmly out of reach.
The people who were producing the reality show have come foward and stated that they approached the family, not the other way around so I'm not sure they were shopping reality TV. I do think a lot of poor judgement was exercised but I don't think it has anything to do with the girls age which is the angle the media is choosing to pursue (and the family set themselves up for by going for the 'youngest' record).

I've read so many conflicting opinions from seasoned sailors about the decisions that I wouldn't even attempt to form an opinion on something I know so little about. What I do know about, as a RUing parent, is trusting children and allowing them to follow their passions. Whatever decisions were made that may have been poor I don't think allowing her to pursue her dreams is one of them.

Oh, and I've read that they can't afford to replace the boat so another attempt is out of the question, at least for now.
ollyoxenfree's Avatar ollyoxenfree 03:40 PM 06-15-2010
Hmmm, I thought they were taking donations for the boat, if people want to help out, and had raised over $2000. Perhaps they've decided not to, given the debate that's raging right now. Abby herself seems to be saying that she intends to try again.

As for the reality tv and the influence on the participants, I think it's going to be a "he said" vs. "they said" thing, and no one will know the truth except those involved:

http://www.smh.com.au/world/teenage-...0615-ydbx.html

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/376860...-today_people/

I don't doubt that Abby is a skilled sailor and passionate about sailing, btw. Skill and passion aren't enough without proper preparation, good judgement and wisdom, and that does seem to have been lacking. Making mistakes, recovering from them and withstanding criticism is tough. Jessica Watson was found partly responsible for her collision with a tanker. Perhaps she should have given up, yet, she finished her round-the-world trip and is the current "youngest" record holder. There are now a few 16 and 17 y.o.'s who have managed this journey, and I'm sure more will follow. Some will succeed and some won't. It's going to be interesting to watch how many try next year - and how young they are.
JERENAUD's Avatar JERENAUD 05:24 PM 06-15-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeldamomma View Post
Should the government ever interfere if a child is doing something known to be dangerous/harmful with the approval of a parent?
I find it interesting that this argument has come up a couple of times, on the mdc boards of all places. This is a place where many parents rail against the government's interference in their decisions for their children. Not vaccinating is 'known' to be dangerous to children, but many of us want the right to make that choice for our minor children. UC is 'known' to be dangerous, but many want that right too. It's not like those babies are making an informed decision about the (perceived) risks to their lives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeldamomma View Post
I'm not sure exactly at what point I would think a child might be old enough to make this trip, but 13 is too young. Maybe a very mature 15 year old?
And in the discussions about Abby Sunderland, many people stated that 16 was far too young and why couldn't she just wait until 18?

I think that as a society we want to avoid any possible risk. We want everything to be safe, at all times, and many of our laws back us up in this. We're expected to set strong boundaries to protect ourselves from caring too much about the most vulnerable in our society. We want safe playgrounds, where our children *can't* hurt themselves. We want children to be constantly supervised, preferably until they're married and living on their own, 'just in case'.

Erica
zeldamomma's Avatar zeldamomma 08:54 PM 06-15-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by JERENAUD View Post
I think that as a society we want to avoid any possible risk. We want everything to be safe, at all times, and many of our laws back us up in this. We're expected to set strong boundaries to protect ourselves from caring too much about the most vulnerable in our society. We want safe playgrounds, where our children *can't* hurt themselves. We want children to be constantly supervised, preferably until they're married and living on their own, 'just in case'.

Erica
There's a long way between saying a 13 year old ought not spend months alone sailing across treacherous waters, and allowing no risk at all.

Some activities are more dangerous than others, allowing any risk is just as ridiculous as allowing no risk.
Lillian J's Avatar Lillian J 09:15 PM 06-15-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by JERENAUD View Post
And in the discussions about Abby Sunderland, many people stated that 16 was far too young and why couldn't she just wait until 18?
By the way, I saw this today in a Huffington Post article:
Quote:
On Tuesday, Sunderland posted a statement on her blog from one of the meteorologists who had been tracking the weather for her during her journey. Ken Campbell of New Hampshire-based Commander's Weather defended both Sunderland's capabilities as a sailor and her decision to cross the Indian Ocean as winter was approaching.

"We were late crossing the Indian Ocean, but I felt Abby was fully capable," Campbell wrote.

"We have over 6,000 clients, but we will not work with somebody that is not capable or does something we consider too dangerous," he added.
Lillian
ollyoxenfree's Avatar ollyoxenfree 04:19 AM 06-16-2010
And yet the American Sailing Association refused to sponsor Abby because of concerns about the timing of her journey and the pressures on her to take risks because of her commercial endorsements .

"We chose not to be sponsors of Abigail because we did have concerns about the timing of her departure," said executive director Charlie Nobles.

Abby's departure was delayed by a couple of months and she was further delayed due to mechanical problems that needed repairs. There are valid concerns whether she continued an ill-advised journey in order to satisfy commercial sponsors as well as the reality television deal. That alone makes this kind of "youngest solo sailor" record bid questionable - regardless of her sailing skill.

Most of these bids run into trouble at some point. Problems that require physical strength, technical knowledge, mature judgement and level-headedness. It's a lot to ask, even without the added pressure of making an arbitrary deadline for a world record and satisfying commercial sponsors.

Mike Perham, previously the youngest solo sailor at age 17, had to scale a 60 ft. mast during 30 knot winds to repair a mainsail problem, among other technical difficulties.

Jessica Watson's boat collided with a tanker.

Abby Sunderland's travails are well-known now.

There is no doubt that these bids will continue and younger and younger children will try. It's inevitable that there will be serious hazards encountered on these voyages. If critical probing of youthful sailors and their record-breaking dreams helps them plan and prepare, then that's a lot more helpful than unthinking enthusiastic support.
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