NPR logo Teen Sailor May End Solo-Sail Dream

Teen Sailor May End Solo-Sail Dream

The latest in the story of Abby Sunderland, the 16-year old sailor found alive and well on her stricken sailboat in the Indian Ocean is that her spokesperson says she may give up her dream to circumnavigate the globe by herself.

To which a chorus of millions around the world will no doubt respond: ya think?

An excerpt from the Associated Press:

Jeff Casher, the spokesman for Abby Sunderland's family, said
Friday the teen's boat is severely damaged and might be sunk at sea instead of being towed ashore and salvaged.

A photo of Sunderland's boat on her blog shows the sailboat lost its mast in the rough and cold waters of Indian Ocean which is only a few weeks from entering the winter season.

NPR.org's Scott Neuman has a very good piece on some of the issues raised by Sunderland's unsuccessful attempt to become the youngest person to solo sail around the Earth.

A snippet:

Among yachtsmen, a mystique and machismo are often associated with single-handed sailing. But there is considerable disagreement as well.

"I've never been a big fan," said Gary Jobson, the president of U.S. Sailing and a veteran of multiple offshore races, including an America's Cup win in 1977. "Simply put, it's dangerous to be crossing oceans by yourself. There's fatigue and the inability to stand a proper watch that are concerns."

Chris Larson, who has won multiple sailing titles and competed in the Volvo Ocean race, the fully crewed version of the Vendee Globe, is more direct about solo circumnavigators: "They're crazy," he said, laughing. "The people who do the single-handed sailing are definitely a different breed of person. They are faced with incredible challenges. You can never predict what you have to go through."

Jobson said it might be time to require rescue insurance for sailors who put themselves in unnecessarily dangerous situations, such as solo circumnavigations. "There needs to be some recourse to make people think about doing this sort of thing," he said. "It makes you think should we have an expensive insurance policy to cover this sort of thing."

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