Abby Sunderland update – magnificent failure

Posted on June 11, 2010

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Some of you may have read my post on Abby Sunderland, the 16 year old girl who set out to be the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe without stopping.  She did stop – but then continued her voyage.

Well – in the last couple of days she encountered stormy weather and high seas in the Indian Ocean, and she lost contact with her parents.  It turns out her mast snapped due to the high seas, and she activated her emergency beacon, triggering an international rescue mission and worldwide worry and prayers.  Abby’s parents have been criticized for letting their daughter undertake this mission at all, given the potential danger.  However, they believe that Abby’s skills and preparation and equipment – as well as her personal passion for sailing – made the risk acceptable.

Abby has been found and is awaiting a rescue ship.  But for anyone who’s appalled or astonished or impressed to learn about this girl, I suggest checking out her blog.  Just reading the most recent week’s worth of entries shows the depth of Abby’s sailing expertise, her passion for sailing, her self-discipline in managing minor and major crises as they occur, and her wealth of equipment (the specs on her boat are pretty impressive).  She repaired a torn sail, worked on a glitchy engine, dried wet equipment, and reported in to her parents and the world wide web – all in high seas with 20+ foot waves.  When she anticipated bad weather, she purposefully went to bed early, knowing she might not get another opportunity to rest for a while.  She worked in the dark to find the source of water pouring into her boat – and ‘helped’ her pump along with some hand bailing.  That young woman was as prepared as anyone could be for this mission, and she shows incredible spirit in pursuing her passion.  There’s a lesson in her adventure for all of us.  I don’t think it’s a lesson about parenting by keeping your children safe from danger.  I think, rather, it’s a lesson about having the courage and the discipline and the passion to follow your heart.

Read Abby’s blog here.

thanks, Ami

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