Abby Sunderland – a good heave

I always had question marks hanging over Abby Sunderland’s attempt. No over her, but the boat was late in the programme, and so was she.

The type of boat was also questionable. An Open 40 is more a team-of-gorillas boat, and more a racing that a tracking machine. Jessica Watson’s boat was much more conservative, longer keeled, and well shaken-down.

She did well. That effort is noteworthy, half the planet circled in the wrong piece of machinery is no mean feat. It was obvious (when she pulled out for battery/panel repairs in the Caribbean) that the boat was using up energy keeping herself tracking/steering, and that’s not a good form to use single-handed long distance.

Perhaps more time spent learning to balance sail area might have helped, but I’m only going on her departure photo, and I’m sure she got it together, and that her ‘brains trust’ would have been working on it. We must remember that her brother held the ‘youngest ever around’ record for about 2 months. There should be no lack of knowledge in the camp….

She was too late in calendar terms too – Jessica did the southern ocean in summer, as you should. Abby was stuck down there in winter, and she was a long way from the Horn, which would have seen her round it (presuming she was still going that way) in late July. Not a good time – short daylight, coldest time, and worst weather.

She should still be saluted, though. That’s a fair effort, while others of her age are fartarsing around with facebook and lipstick. All power to her.

And to the denigraters – get a life. She was living, with a capital L, a Jonathan Livingston Seagull to your Breakfast Flock.


One Response

  1. I agree with you, mostly. I believe it is extremely irisponsible to go sail the oceans with satilite phone ready to call up help when the going gets really tough and then not pay a dime towards the huge expenditure of tax payer dollars for the rescue. Like you mentioned her timing for the southern ocean was terrible, irisponsible to unnecessarily expose oneself to much higher risks compared to summer. But making and breaking records involves DEAD lines.
    Having done a lot of ocean miles myself I can’t help but wonder if it would have been very possible to jury rig her yacht and get to land, in most of these cases it is. So often people get of yachts at sea when the yacht is very capable of being nurtured along slowely to land.
    Like you said good on her for getting out and giving dreams a shot.

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