at what cost

Photography by William Bennett ASC and Ted Caloroso © 2010

it was hard to turn on the news or launch an online media source today without hearing the name abby sunderland.  abby is a 16-year-old female adventurer whose dream it is to become the youngest person to sail non-stop around the world alone.  take that in for a minute.  she is 16 and sailing around the world. alone. without stopping.

this week abby’s family was notified by the united states coast guard that abby had activated two emergency beacons.  this is after having already become aware that abby had lost internet capabilities.  reportedly, the last contact the family had with abby resulted in several dropped satellite phone calls.

as it turns out, abby’s dream had already been dashed when her vessel experienced mechanical problems after initially setting sail in january of this year from california.  she was forced to stop for repairs eliminating the chance of setting this record in april as she had hoped.  yet she continued on her journey. the delays caused by the repairs necessary set forth a potentially more dangerous voyage given the weather conditions she would now likely face given her new timeframe of travel.

thankfully, it would appear that abby is safe for the time being.  contact was made with abby by an australian spotter plane crew, which also confirmed that her boat had been demasted.  a french vessel is expected to make contact and presumably rescue abby later today.

this leaves many wondering if abby’s journey was a smart one from its onset.  seasoned sailors have said that the rough seas and high winds could occur anywhere and could happen to even the best sailors.  abby experienced seas as high as 50 feet. a 16-year-old sailing around the world. alone.

so i am wondering, at what cost do you support the dreams of your loved ones?  my children are still young, the oldest about to turn 7 in a few days, so i have a hard time to putting this into perspective.  right now their dreams are to be a break dancer, thomas the train and a car driver.  i would like to think that i will be the kind of parent that can support the aspirations of my children without interfering.  but at a certain point, part of me cant help but wonder what this family was thinking by letting their 16-year-old daughter take to the seas alone where pirates abound and seas reach 50 feet. i wonder why the decision was made for abby to carry on after it was clear she would not set the record she desired during this journey, especially given the sailing would likely be more treacherous.

what do you think? at what cost do you support the dreams of your loved ones?


7 Responses to “at what cost”
  1. Skinny Sushi says:

    This is something I struggle with, and even something that was touched on here and there in the comments on my religion post. You want your kids to be happy, but you also want them to be safe. I think you have to know yourself and your children very well, arm them with as much experience, knowledge, and planning as you can, and then at some point you have to release them to the world and hope for the best. There comes a point where all of your real parenting is done, you know, and you’re just there to add little touches of guidance.

    In our family, one of my sisters went down a path we would never have wanted for her… drug abuse, teen mom, abusive relationship… but by the time she was making those choices at 17 or 18, my parents had already done everything they could and there came a point where they had to tell her to leave if she was going to continue to live her life in a way they disapproved of. So I guess that’s what it comes down to. You have to set rules, give guidance, and demand the rules be followed?

    I don’t know… it’s such a complicated thing. What would I say if my daughter wanted to do it? I think I’d say do it, but not alone. I’d want me or her father there, at the very least in a boat following her…

  2. Bex says:

    The youngest person thus far to complete the trek was a 16 year old girl. As someone who grew up widely raising herself, I’d say (and this is not in a tone of disapproval or judgement) that a lot of parents are jaded by raising their children and for that reason can’t quite grasp what a 16 year old can do or how old that really means they are. To me, 15/16 is basically adult aged, despite the official recognition of 18 as that age. By the time someone is 15/16 they should be relatively self-reliant so that when they do officially turn 18 they are prepared for the world. I think I would have reservations as a parent, letting my 16 year old sail around the world, but I think I would be inclined to allow it and remain home to worry.

    • Skinny Sushi says:

      I would agree that most parents underestimate their teenager’s abilities. However, just because she CAN do it, does it mean she SHOULD? Yes, she is capable…. but so am I and I wouldn’t want to do it alone. Looking at my daughter now, I have to say that I could never live with myself if I let her go alone and something happened to her.

  3. ahhhh! to make it public too, stupid all over it… hey any strange man, my daughter is sailing alone, alone, absolutely alone… like holding bait over a shark tank. litterally. i agree there is a point, where you put your foot down and that should have been before her first sail alone.

  4. nicole says:

    and of course now its being reported there is a reality show in the works:

Check out what others are saying...
  1. at what cost…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: