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Jun 16, 2010

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maccolar

I am glad she is safe.
I do wish this nonsense about being the youngest to do something would end.

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Anyone can attempt to sail the Southern Ocean, but dismissing the warnings from the manufacturer of the boat and local sailors isn't wise.

Office 2007

the good season to sail? Where is too far south or too far north?

Most of the article is fair, but I think the comment about too late the season to sail in the Southern Ocean is bullcrap. Does he know what he is talking about? Has he looked

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Leila

I think Erich Fromm said it best:


"The victory over all kinds of authoritarian systems will be possible only if democracy does not retreat but takes the offensive and proceeds to realize what has been its aim in the minds of those who fought for freedom throughout the centuries. It will triumph over the forces of nihilism only if it can imbue people with a faith that is the strongest the human mind is capable of, the faith in life and in truth, and in freedom as the active and spontaneous realization of the individual self."

Leonie

"When the great maxi French mulithulls attempt around the world records, their window is always November to about March. Why? Because as Adrienne Cahalan, navigator on Playstation's record circumnavigation said, "You don't sail in the Southern Ocean in the winter." You just don't do it. Not the Volvo, not the Vendée, not The Race, not nobody. If the world's greatest sailors will wait a full year just to stay out of the Southern Ocean in winter — when there are gales 30% of the time as opposed to 5% of the time in summer — you'd think the parents of a 16-year-old minor would make their daughter do the same. But then more than a few parents have been blinded by the lure of the possibility of their child becoming famous".
To ignore the voice of experience has consequences.

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Dream what you want to dream; go where you want to go; be what you want to be, because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.

Leonie

Sailing into the Southern Ocean in winter is like a turkey praying for an early Christmas.

Leonie

I've never criticized Abby's age, it's just not relevant. What's important is experience, ability and knowledge that will guide any sailor to make safe decisions especially in the most dangerous oceans of the journey.
Sadly Team Abby made many fatal errors which are documented in her own blog. 
Anyone can attempt to sail the Southern Ocean, but dismissing the warnings from the manufacturer of the boat and local sailors isn't wise.
Abby didn't know how to handle the boat in a Southern Ocean storm, she alone put it in the position where it lost the mast, what was she doing trying to start the engine while in a storm with sail up? She sailed into that storm front, clearly visible on Satellite, when most sailors skirt around them.
Experienced sailors say that not cutting away the fallen mast and sail effectively made it a battering ram below water that could have destroyed the boat and the sail could have also sunk the boat when the swells started.
How could Team Abby's weather router allow her to sail into a Southern Ocean storm front, or did he? Abby did not post the weather on her blog because she said it contained personal information, she could have it posted with those alleged comments deleted.
Abby is only 16 and all those who judged her as ready for a hastily prepared solo circumnavigation in a difficult to handle Ocean Racer and in the most dangerous oceans that her brother avoided, all of them were clearly mistaken. 

Leonie

I found the following on the net;
"For many years now I have always considered
that sailing to a deadline can be a dangerous thing to do.
What about Abby's boat? Is it really the right tool for the job? I don't think so.
Ella's Pink lady, an S&S 34 is the most celebrated and successful of all of the S&S production designs, it was the right choice of boat, a robust, compact, easily managed vessel with a sea kindly motion in a seaway.
Wild Eyes is a race boat, It’s a race boat.
When I owned Ella's Pink Lady, then named "Shanty", when racing, I
would have 6 persons on board. A boat like Wild Eyes would probably
race with a crew of 12 – it’s a race boat. Shanty was 33 foot long with a displacement of 5 tonnes, Wild Eyes is 40 foot long with a displacement of 4 tonnes, water ballasted, big rig, twin rudders, hydraulic lifting keel, all carbon fibre, a down wind flyer – a race boat. It's in no way a boat for a 16YO to be single handing around the world".

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Leonie

From Mike Perham's blog "Cape Town - 01 02 09
Mike reaches Cape Town to be greeted by Dad and Zac Sunderland who is also bidding to become the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe".

Michael Perham, 16, already holds the world record for being the youngest person to sail across the Atlantic single handed, his progression to a 50 foot Open Racer was natural.

 
On the 27th Aug 09 Perham's record surpassed that of Zac Sunderland, an older 17 year old, set only six weeks earlier.

Mike's journey took 9 months and Zac's was 13 months.

Both sailors were in Cape Town and the Open Racer took the record from the slower boat. The hare beats the tortoise!


It seems to me that the Sunderlands didn't want a repeat of a lost record with Abby, so they chose the Open Racer over Jessica's slower boat, their focus seemed to be on taking any record set by Jessica at any price and they compromised Abby's safety.

Jessica Watson departed Sydney on the 18th October 2009 and Lawrence Sunderland bought an Open 40 in Portsmouth on the following day, Oct. 19 Oct. It seems the pressure was building in their camp.  

Abby's initial departure was delayed due to weather which was better than what she encountered in the Southern Ocean. She didn't post her weather report on her blog because she said it contained personal comments, why not post it with the personal comments deleted?

I found the following on the net;

"For many years now I have always considered
that sailing to a deadline can be a dangerous thing to do.
What about Abby's boat? Is it really the right tool for the job? I don't think so.
Ella's Pink lady, an S&S 34 is the most celebrated and successful of all of the S&S production designs, it was the right choice of boat, a robust, compact, easily managed vessel with a sea kindly motion in a seaway.
Wild Eyes is a race boat, It’s a race boat.
When I owned Ella's Pink Lady, then named "Shanty", when racing, I
would have 6 persons on board. A boat like Wild Eyes would probably
race with a crew of 12 – it’s a race boat. Shanty was 33 foot long with a displacement of 5 tonnes, Wild Eyes is 40 foot long with a displacement of 4 tonnes, water ballasted, big rig, twin rudders, hydraulic lifting keel, all carbon fibre, a down wind flyer – a race boat. It is in no way a boat for a 16YO to be single handing around the world".

 

 

 

Lazlo

Abby's parents pimped her for a reality TV show. Unconscionable.

David Mann

Thank you for such an honest appraisal and indeed new information not otherwise obtained from other sources. I was unaware of the interview by Child Protective Services prior to Abby's departure. (Perhaps we should enlighten Geraldo Rivera from Fox News?) And I did not know the time-line on the ordering of the boat and it's arrival. Clearly, many, many determinations went into this adventure, and it would be extremely difficult to second guess any of the team member's decisions. I am and will remain amazed by the courage of someone - regardless of her age - who pursued her dream in the face of such challenges. In some cultures, a 16 year old is considered an adult. Abby is clearly not your average American teenager. She has poise, confidence, and ability surpassing many people I have known that are twice her age. No matter what happened on the journey, Abby is and always will remain a winner.

HoveTo

Just due to the fact that she made it half way around the earth, makes it obvious that Abby was trained enough for the task, and probably even had more experience than many successful sailor's who have circumnavigated. She was well equipped and in communication at all times with satellite, radio, and EPIRB. I don't see that age plays a part here in any way. She exhibited better judgment than a lot of people who are far older than she is.
Where she went wrong is that she tried to maintain a schedule. Schedules sink more boats than any thing else. Competition is what killed "Wild Eyes", not seamanship.

Sindy Johnston

I do not feel that the parents should have to pay for the rescue at all. If you have ever sailed then you are grateful that there are others out there that will assist in an emergency. Search and rescue is exactly that, Search and Rescue. If the US had to assist in the same circumstance then we would not expect to be reimbursed either.

I give a big thumbs up to Australia for everything they did for Abby as I am sure they would expect the same from any other country if someone needed help!!!

Sindy Johnston

A couple of questions that I would love to see answered:

1. I would really be interested to see if the reality show was "cancelled" before or after Abby was disqualified as being able to circumnavigation the world unassisted! I do believe that Abby not being able to truly chase Jessica Watson would put a damper in a reality show!

2. Exactly how much experience did Abby have on Wild Eyes? Not just sailing but sailing Wild Eyes alone and unassisted? How many hours/miles did she log on that vessel prior to this trip?

3. How many solo unassisted miles had she logged prior to this trip?

4. What was her farther and longest voyage solo unassisted prior to this trip?

5. Did Abby leave the main up in the weather she was encountering? Did she simply go to bed and not take care of her boat for the weather? If she has the experience her parents say she does then she would know better then to do that and she would have know what could happen.

7. Since she was in contact with her father, did he not tell her to pull her main and to at least install a small storm jib or even deploy a drogue? My god what was he thinking?? He was not thinking of her safety at all!!

6. When she was missing at sea why in the heck did her parents NOT seem upset when they were on camera? I watched a news show where mom, dad and brother were interviewed and there were NO tears or anguish on their faces or anything! They acted like it was just another day in their life!! As a parent I would have NOT been able to do ANY interviews until my child was safe!

Abby just did not seem even 1/2 way as well prepared as Jessica Watson to take on this journey and IMHO, her parents should never have allowed her to leave on this voyage without being fully prepared!! Although it does not seem like her father was prepared to help her via phone either.

I am a weekend sailor and not an expert. I sailed from San Diego to Belize and made sure that I knew every single inch of my vessel and how everything worked, how to make repairs, etc and I did not even sail alone!! Why did the mom and dad not make sure she was more prepared?

In Abby's defense, I do think she seems to be a good sailor and that she did the best job she knew how to do. I feel her parents are the ones who should be help responsible for everything that has happened!!

sailingdog

I'd point out that an OPEN 40 is not really a suitable boat for a solo circumnavigation, especially by a 16 year old. A CLASS 40 would have been far more appropriate, but IMHO, the S&S 34 that was chosen by Jessica Watson made far more sense. The S&S 34 is a far more seakindly boat and far more forgiving than the OPEN 40. It also could use a windvane, a purely mechanical self-steering device that is far more durable and reliable than the finicky electronic autopilots REQUIRED by Wild Eyes.

Also, in terms of preparation, Wild Eyes was only purchased in October. If Abby had been leaving on schedule in November as pointed out in the article above, she would have had almost NO EXPERIENCE with the boat. As it was, IMHO, her lack of experience with the boat showed and was in great part an issue for her first attempt, which was aborted. Her second attempt probably was still affected by her relative unfamiliarity with Wild Eyes. She certainly didn't know the systems aboard the boat as well as she should have. AFAIK, Abby had little to do with the outfitting of Wild Eyes for her circumnavigation, as that was handled by her father and his company.

Contrast this with Jessica Watson, who was intimately with Ella's Pink Lady, having chosen most, if not all, of the equipment that was selected for her circumnavigation attempt. Jessica also had the boat for the better part of a year, rather than the less than three months that Abby had Wild Eyes—some of which time the boat was in transport between Florida and California and not available to Abby.

I'd point out that Jessica Watson's previous sailing experience has been pretty well documented and there is little question that she is a very, very accomplished sailor, especially given her age. Abby Sunderland's sailing resume seems to be a bit more vague and opaque.

Combine the unfamiliarity with the boat and the leaving so late for whatever reason, Abby is certainly lucky she survived. I find it rather sad that Abby didn't thank all the people involved in her rescue immediately, especially considering that the captain of the ship that rescued her could have easily been hurt or killed in the attempt.

Leonie

All the Australian solo sailors had 34 foot boats, Zac had a 36 foot boat and Abby was expected to sail a 40 foot ocean racer that's more difficult to handle.
Abby's failure to succeed was from far too much pressure and expectation placed on her, she was in the wrong boat at the wrong time.
Abby is too young to be held fully accountable.
Completing half the journey was impressive.

jimc

The boat Jessica Watson sailed was better prepared and suited for the storms she encountered than the boat Abby sailed.

Jessica was not afraid to bring down the mail and install a small storm jib when the weather became too strong and even deployed a drogue to slow and control her direction during a storm. On the other hand Abby left the main up and went to bed.

Abby continued to look for speed and the results demasted the boat.

Just compare the length of time each girl took in preparing their boat and the trials they went through. Jessica took over a year and Abby just over a month.

Eddy

very well reported and nice job re-butting the nay-sayers issues...obvious people don.t understand that search and rescue is a humanitarian act...that is done to rescue any soul need of help at sea regardless of the situation that got them there or the country they are from...no one goes to sea with the intent of having to be rescued..even if the Australian search and rescue wanted compensation..i'm sure the sunderlands would make the means to pay for whatever the amount for the life of their daughter..as any parent would.
I have followed abby's journey through her blogs and read the bashing in the media...I will continue my support for her through these comments and her page..she is a very brave and head-strong girl.
This Girl does Not deserve The Stone Of Criticism Thrown Out Her Just For Doing Something She Loves

roxi

Maybe the documentary and reality production was halted because typically, very little in Hollywood is done with principals, which the Sunderlands clearly have. I can imagine if I were interested in doing a show, I would have serious disagreements with the producers. If they were trying to make parts of it scripted (common) or other things that weren't "reality" then the family probably fought it and now there is an issue.

Dana Rasmussen

My issue here is not the sailing around the world aspect. It's the youngest aspect, and how that affected the voyage. She needed sponsors to do the trip, and the youngest tag is what got them. The problem was Jess Watson was already on the water. If Abby waits till next year she is not youngest, = no money.
Frankly I am also troubled by the decision to continue after South Africa. It appears from a post on her site that was quickly taken down, members of her team may not have been comfortable with how late it was getting.
I am glad she is safe.
I do wish this nonsense about being the youngest to do something would end.
Next year a even younger woman is going to make the attempt. How young do we go? 14? 12?

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