At what age were young men 'drafted' into service on Men-of-War (at least up until the 1900's)? Wanna take a guess? As I said before, go watch Master and Commander which was actually fairly accurate. It was not that they could not find men to hold the officer roles, they were 'kids'. Were the 'kids' of that day more responsible than the kids of today? How many 9 yo's in Africa are holding AK-47's? Ever read any stories of the old west? When did the native Indians consider you coming of age? - CD
Hey CD I get where you're coming from and at the end of the post I see that you actually don't support the concept but just for completeness on my side lets look at the above.
Firstly it is clear that the kids in Master & Commander type situations were not alone. They had others to assist with decision making and only once they were fully conversant with what they were doing did they make decisions of their own. And if the decisions were dodgy, someone experienced would be right there to correct any potentially dangerous situations. And also, mostly these kids got the breaks not because of what they were but who they were. No commoner would be given a position of command.
Secondly there are no events on record of African 9yo's making intelligent decisions with their AK47's. They're doing what their masters tell them to. And they're anything but responsible, mostly they're wired up on dope. It's unfortunately a bad analogy.
Look at the Jessica whats-her-face thread for my opinion on this. These kids are not skilled enough to handle the stuff that open sea sailing will chuck at them. They will have serious difficulty make the correct decisions when the chips are down and they're knackered/disoriented/scared/hungry. Hell, I find that difficult as an adult with many years of sailing at sea.
Yes it's true some kids mature quicker than others but 13 years old?? No, sorry, I don't buy it. The parent who allows this should be put on notice. When things go wrong and the kid dies - you go to jail. End of story.
End of rant
Oh and comparing the Vendee Globe with children single-handing around the world is also a little skewed. Vendee Globe sailors have extensive experience, the best kit money can buy, real-time satellite weather prediction of the best sort and teams of professionals watching their every move with the best telecoms kit available in the world.
I suspect this is not the case with these children. I stand prepared to be corrected.