Now that Abby Sunderland is back, and the professional sailing world has had a chance to evaluate the complete set of facts, the verdict is the same. Her parents should have never allowed her to sail the Indian Ocean in the winter. She was warned not to, but went ahead anyway.
Some jerk-off wrote me and said what did I know? Well I had just completed a 700-mile open ocean voyage with my 22 year old son in some pretty nasty weather the week before. It wasn't 30 foot waves (but we had 15 foot waves and very rough seas), but what sailor would ever want to be caught in that situation? As for my 21 year old daughter, today she just completed a grueling, cross-country equistrian course on her 17 hand high horse. What is cross-country? It is flat-out, high speed racing and jumping over fixed obstacles. Christopher Reeves broke his neck on stadium jumping, not cross-country. Cross-country is far more dangerous. So when I heard some b.s. about me not allowing my kids to do the sports they desire (my son also went to the Nationals on Skier Cross this year), I have to laugh at the fat, couch potato giving me this advice. My family takes risks, just not reckless risks that end up costing some Government body $5-10,000 in rescue expenses, if not more.
Other than uninformed internet crap, I have not seen one knowledgeable person in the sailing world commend Abby Sunderland's reckless move, a stunt that was supported by her parents. Fortunately she was rescued alive. Of course, the thousands of dollars it cost to rescue her (which I seriously doubt her parents will reimburse) is another story altogether.
I love having a disagreement with a couch potato or someone who has never sailed the open ocean or done what my family does. We take risks. Just not reckless risks.