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Friday, June 11, 2010

Not so Smooth Sailing


Mom and I on board © Buesing

It seems that sailor Abby Sunderland is fine (however she is not rescued yet). Her boat Wild Eyes, was spotted by a Quantas Airways jet that was able to also establish radio contact with the teenage girl.
Abby Sunderland has been in the process of sailing the world solo, in an attempt to becoming the youngest person to do so.
Rough weather (60 knot winds and 20-25 feet waves) in past days apparently knocked off the mast of Wild Eyes, communication was lost and a distress signal was picked up from Abby Sunderland's emergency beacon.
I am absolutely absorbed by this story.
I grew up sailing and love the sea, but if you ever have spent extended time on a sailing boat you also developed a very deep respect for Mother Nature. My opinion is that one should always sail with humility.
I am not sure how I feel about this story. On one hand I admire Abby Sunderland's skills and sense of adventure, on the other hand I do not understand what she is doing out there in the middle of the Indian Ocean during the fall season - and what her parents were thinking.
It is fascinating to read about the design of her boat and to think about the preparations and resources that went into this project.
It will never cease to baffle me how different people's lives are. On one hand you have a girl of 16 sailing around the world in her own boat encountering a storm and triggering a search and rescue mission involving boats, aircraft and three nations; while on the other hand many people struggle and perish namelessly every day in situations not of their making and that are much more common.
I am not judging the Sunderland family's actions, I am simply remarking on the maddening paradoxes of our world.
I do hope that one of the commercial vessels can rescue Abby Sunderland soon.
Her journey (including her rescue) is testimony to how preparation and collaboration can let us overcome many things.

2 comments:

labellua said...

I agree with your thoughts and also have been following Abby's story. Her brother did the trip at 17, the Australian girl just finished at 16, but Abby would have been the youngest (maybe still will be? not sure of the implications of the rescue with respect to the record).
I think sailing solo around the world is a magnificent feat at any age. It should be undertaken in the spirit of love for sailing and respect for the unforgiving seas, not just to make the Guiness Book of Records. Considering that the timing of Abby's trip put her in the Indian Ocean during storm season makes me question her intent, i.e. 10 minutes of fame...

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