She didn’t blame anyone, you know. She didn’t even complain. In the midst of a violent storm, she was pretty much helpless. And she handled it. Abby Sunderland. Sixteen years old. Alone in the Indian Ocean; mast broken; thirty-foot waves; activated her distress beacons and waited.
Her parents allowed her to sail around the world, unaccompanied, in her forty-foot racing boat. She and her family have sailed for years. Her older brother made that trip last year. My guess is all the possibilities were discussed. They agreed to let her go.
Not surprising, the news media were all over this when the storm came and they lost contact with her. Though they made sounds like they were concerned for her well-being, but it appeared to me it was more about the lousy parents, and “how could they” and child endangerment, etc. I wondered for awhile if they would be disappointed if she made it unscathed.
Some of the news anchors seemed actually angry at her parents’ confidence and faith in Abby’s ability. I thought about the safety and well-being of Abby, I was once the mother of a teenager. And then I thought “what incredible parents to raise a kid, a girl even, to be so strong, so confident, and independent that she says “I think I’ll sail around the world.” There’s something refreshing about a sixteen-year old having a dream and then putting her whole heart and soul into following that dream.
We don’t know if dad really was planning a “reality” show. It doesn’t matter. It was Abby’s idea to sail. Everyone in the family knew the dangers when she decided to go it alone.
I am so impressed with this young woman, and her family. I don’t know a lot of families that are equipping their kids with the tools to be strong, independent, self-assured whether in sailing, or life in general. This is truly Survivor – not the wannabe show on TV. Yes, I’m sure it’s difficult to try and survive the games, and challenges in the places they choose for them…all alone…with camera and technical crews standing there watching you as you struggle…
Abby didn’t have a camera crew. She had the training, the stamina, and the love and support of a family who raised an amazing young woman. Sail on, Abby, sail on.