Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Spirit of adventure

The hullabaloo over the rescue of 16-year-old Abby Sunderland during her failed attempt to sail solo around the world tells a lot about our current culture.

I’m amazed at the number of people who have condemned this family for allowing the girl to make the attempt. Personally, I salute them for inculcating the spirit of adventure in their children.

Abby and her circumnavigating brother obviously grew up sailors and as teenagers are more capable than the vast majority of adult sailors. Yes, they don’t have a lot of experience. Or, they didn’t. They do now.

Teenagers have been embarking on arduous adventures since time immemorial. Why shut that off now, when technology and equipment actually make such endeavors safer than ever?

Of course she was at risk; she could have died. The ocean is an uncaring and sometimes cruel mistress. But youth is made for adventure. Sometimes it goes awry and a young person dies. Of course that’s terribly sad. But it’s not irresponsible in the way it might be for a family man who has responsibilities to a wife and child to risk his life for thrills.

We need more can-do spirit, not more hand-wringing, risk-averse ninnies, more people pursuing their passions and fewer sitting on the couch. Hats of to the Sunderlands. Long may they sail!

Jim Cornelius, Editor


  1. Okay, I am all for adventure and growth. With that said, a couple of points I think may be relevant.

    1. The Father appears to be broke, his words, not mine.
    2. With in the last week he has signed a contract to do a reality TV program. "Adventures in Sunderland".
    3. They have seven kids and one on the way ? Not that, that is bad !! Don't paint me as anti-kids.
    4. All seven kids are home schooled and according to a neighbor, the children hardly ever leave the home and rarely talk to anyone outside the Family.

    Okay, does this have any bearing at all when looking at the situation ? It may, it may not. My opinion, which doesn't mean much is that this has always been about the Parents !! Follow the money.

  2. Hey Jim,

    I grew up sailing and still sail the open ocean whenever I can. We, humans, have been doing it for over 4,000 years. So long as you exercise a modicum of prudence, it's safe and very, very fun! 6, 16 or 60, she was fine. Her only mistake was to sail in the southern ocean during their winter. That was just plain dumb.