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Sunderland Feared Lost At Sea

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May 27, 2004
Oday 35 Bayfield, Wi
There are so many sides and perspectives one can take in regards to whether or not she should be doing this and I can understand all of them. However, I lean toward letting her go. I have kids and would love it if they took an interest in sailing (they're a bit young but getting there). But, does anyone out there question the choice of boat like I do? It seems that when her brother Zac chose to try this, he picked a tried and true boat to take him where he wanted to go and with a tool he could handle responsibly. He was bested by a kid with a tricked out race boat. Then Jessica Watson circumnavigates with a tried and true vessel, gets knocked down a number of times, rides out some horrific weather and the boat took good care of her. Then Abby chooses a retired racer that might have been a bit too much (speculation) to try and catch Jessica. I just wonder if she might have been better suited to a different boat.
Jan 22, 2009
Hunter 31 '83_'87 Blue Water Marina
I'm of course very happy that the young lady is safe.

I'm also glad I missed most of the fireworks in this thread ;)

I will say that considering she's sponsored and considering there are accolades, career opportunities, etc to be received for completing, or even attempting such a feat, then I don't think it's unreasonable to expect them to have their own chase boat ( eg a following cruiser) within a few hours' range of her boat, to be the first responder, so that search & rescue facilities are not unduly burdened by the additional risks of what is, after all, a stunt. (or a family business, since her brother also did a solo circumnavigation)
I'm very glad she's ok.
I have a daughter and I am a worry wart anyway.
As a parent, I would NOT have been able to "Ok" my daughter at 16 going off by herself for 6 months even just folllowing the band Phish. Or going to live in Greenwich Village for 6 months. Or driving around the country by herself for 6 months. And with plans to be gone longer. When she was 16, I wouldn't have let her go to Ocean City for the weekend by herself.
Ross makes the point of the jockey who won the Preakness rode at 16; that race and the race day were of a short time duration. He was only seconds from help. His parents may even have been within feet of him.
If my daughter had approached with a request to sail around the world, I would have only approved if a support vessel, team vessel was going to be following.
Seems like the thoughtful approach.


Apr 18, 2010
macgregor 26x lake martin
She was picked up by a French Fishing vessel.

I have two daughters and a son, and have tossed this around a lot. I think they would be safer out there than touring around the country for six months on thier own. I can understand all sides of this, but would be hesitant about letting them go, but I guess if you weigh all considerations it depends on the individual.


Dec 20, 2003
Pearson 323 . St. Mary's Georgia
Fastnet 1979, even seasoned sailors can get in over their heads and they had full crews. Anytime someone leaves solo around the world, there is always a chance they are not coming back. I do not think I would send my child out for a media event that is not even a recognized record. To each their own.


Jun 15, 2004
Islander/Wayfairer 30 sail number 25 Perryville,Md.
When Donna lange sailed around she did it in three stops. She sailed from the caribean to Rhode Island and there prepared the boat for her atlantic crossing. She lost her self steering on that leg and hand steered for three days before reaching Ireland.
But Donna Lange was no stranger to endurance sports and that experience showed in her survivability. Other than having years of sailing experience on the family boats we don't know if Abby had tested herself alone on a big boat for any significantly long period.
Other young people who have made such attempts have sailed to a distant point and back before getting the blessing of the parents to go with the longer venture.
Jul 18, 2009
marine clipper 21 ft santa ana Southern Lakes,Yukon
on a french fishing vessal for two days..!!!!...that is a courageous adventure for anyone....now that she will be writing about as it will have more twists and turns then the sailing...


Jun 15, 2004
Islander/Wayfairer 30 sail number 25 Perryville,Md.
On tonight's news there was an interview with her parents. Her father said that she had served as solo delivery skipper on several long distance passages and her mother said that she was no stranger to long periods alone and genuinely enjoyed being alone on the ocean.
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