Abby Sunderland, 16-year-old 'round-the-world sailor whose boat was totally disabled in a storm in the Indian Ocean, was rescued Saturday, June 12, at about 2:45 pm PDT (11:45 am EDT) by a French fishing vessel, "Ile de la Reunion." Seas were rough and a dingy was used for the transfer.
Abby's boat, "Wild Eyes," will likely be sunk, because it is badly damaged, and not feasible to tow it to port... and it is a navigation hazard if left to float. That's a lot of money and work to simply destroy, but there appears to be no choice.
The "youngest person" solo circumnavigation goal had already been lost, but Abby had continued in hopes of completing the journey. Had she succeeded in her original goal, she would have been the third person to lower the age record her brother Zac had set little more than a year ago.
It is not clear whether the French fishing vessel will seek compensation, but the Australian government will not.
I earlier questioned allowing children to participate in such dangerous undertakings. Abby's parents have been challenged by others:
Veteran sailors questioned the wisdom of sending a teenager off alone in a small boat, knowing it would be tossed about for 30 or more hours at a time by the giant waves that rake the Southern Hemisphereâ€™s oceans this time of year.
Her father, Laurence, defended the voyage.
â€œI never questioned my decision in letting her go,â€ he told reporters
Friday. â€œIn this day and age we get overprotective with our children.
If you want to look at statistics, look at how many teenagers die in
cars every year. Should we let teenagers drive cars? I think itâ€™d be
silly if we didnâ€™t.â€
I think it's a bit facile, even silly, to compare driving a car to sailing solo around the world. The article includes links to additional discussion on the wisdom of sending children on such "adventures' alone.