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smackdaddy 12-15-2009 08:49 PM

The Circumnavigating Newborn Countdown
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Since it's apparently all the rage right now - and since it's getting hard to keep up with all the wee tots clamoring for a circ, I thought we might as well start this thread to keep up with the countdown to the ultimate "young sailor around the world" contestant.


His name is Bucky Blythe. He's in the third trimester. And as you can tell, he's totally stoked for the trip.

Both his parents are avid sailors - so he's obviously well prepared. The moment he's born his parents will put him on a fully outfitted Open 60 and push him southward away from their private dock in the Seychelles. What an adventure!

Glenda, his mom, says that he's been dreaming of this since gestation. Asked how she knew this she replied "Oh, you can always tell by the severity of the morning sickness. I was hurling like a penguin for 4 months straight. So he's definitely ready for the 60. He's not like most fetuses." Well there you have it.

Go the Bucky!

smackdaddy 12-15-2009 08:51 PM

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Seriously, I ran across this LA Times article taking a shot at Abby Sunderland. And I'm sure they'll be others besides Jessica, Laura, et al. So why start another kid-specific thread.

Anyway, here's the story...



Parents should just say no to teen girl's solo-sailing trip

Abby Sunderland's mother and father are abdicating their responsibility to keep their 16-year-old daughter out of harm's way.

T.J. Simers

December 15, 2009

I was scheduled to be off Monday, eating breakfast at the Mini Gourmet in Yorba Linda, relaxed and reading the paper before spitting out my pancakes.

Why am I reading about a 16-year-old girl about to sail around the world all by herself when I should be reading about her parents being hauled off to counseling or jail?

Did you see the story in Monday's sports section?

It was outrageous. Ridiculous. Incomprehensible insanity. And Plaschke didn't write it.

We've got four pictures and this huge ode to Abby Sunderland,the child's preparations to put her life on the line, and so now we celebrate child abuse in the paper?

She has parents, and I wouldn't know it either if it hadn't been mentioned in the story.

These so-called parents are repeat offenders too, their 17-year-old son Zac recently becoming the youngest American sailor to circle the globe, as the newspaper story goes, surviving "merciless gales, a run-in with pirates and a near-collision with a gargantuan freighter near the Panama Canal."

We don't have enough to worry about when it comes to raising our children that we now have to take into account pirates?

I don't let my daughter walk to her car by herself at night, and it's parked in our driveway and she's 33.

But these folks are going to let their 16-year-old become a human bobber day and night on the ocean because it's been the child's dream since she was 13.

My daughter dreamed she would marry Prince Charming one day.

She ended up with a Grocery Store Bagger, and amazingly is both happy and pregnant.

Children are supposed to dream and parents are supposed to be parents. Their primary task, along with loving them, is to keep them safe, if necessary, safe from their own dreams, whims or immature choices early in life.

How mature is a 16-year-old girl, who makes the choice to spend months on the water instead of in the mall with her friends?

Most youngsters would probably like to sail away from home at one time or another, but almost all of them know how stupid that would be.

So why am I reading a story about a 16-year-old girl who will be taking "a direct but dangerous route around the world?"

Why is any 16-year-old allowed to place herself in harm's way? Why would any parent allow such a thing?

Right now I'd try to stop my daughter from crossing the ocean by herself on a cruise ship.

Another 16-year-old child, Australia's Jessica Watson,is 6,000 miles into her solo trip -- her collision with a Chinese freighter just one of those silly mistakes made earlier in practice.

In discussing Watson's trek, The Times' story offers this input from Don McIntyre, a "renowned Australian sailor," who obviously lost his land legs.

"I know Jessica and she has the correct head space," he says. "I don't know Abby, but it is pretty obvious that she has not been playing with Barbie dolls for the past 16 years."

Why not? Barbie and Ken don't bother me nearly as much as Marianne and Laurence Sunderland, who have seven children, one more on the way, and I wonder which one will swim around the world to top brother and sister.

A PR contact for the Sunderlands said he would relay my child endangerment criticism and an offer for their rebuttal, but there was no response.

The Times' story says the father has tons of experience as a sailor, but I don't care.

He won't be on the boat, and for him to tell The Times, "I have no doubt in my mind that this boat is going to get totally knocked around out there," and then let her go -- I think I saw something like this on an episode of "Law & Order."

I don't care if the child has been sailing since she was 3 months old, she's still a child. I don't care if she's packing a gun like her brother did on his trip -- what's a child doing with a gun?

I don't care if this is something she really wants to do. Children want to do a whole lot of things -- sometimes just for fun, sometimes because their friends are doing it and sometimes because they just want attention.

It's our job as parents to say, "No." Simple as that, "No. You want to go sailing -- OK, where are we going?"

I didn't let my daughters drive when they were 16, telling them it was my job to keep them alive. You want to tell your friends you have a jerk for a father, they probably already heard that from their parents. But you're alive.

I think gymnastics, figure skating and swimming should be banned from the Olympics so parents don't get the idea of trying to win a medal through their youngsters.

Is there any reason to justify depriving a youngster a chunk of childhood? What's wrong with children just being children -- this year G.P. Santa having already bought Barbie's playhouse?

Maybe Zac and Abby Sunderland are gifted sailors, but is it necessary to put their lives on the line to prove it? Where is the parent in the Sunderland home saying just that?

Whatever is at work here, I lost it at breakfast. I'm showing the story to waiter John Hernandez and he shocks me, while losing his tip. He says, "It's OK with me if that's what the girl wants."

This from a guy who has a daughter who will soon be turning 16, someone who recently took her and friends to something in Long Beach and then waited outside in the rain in his car for 3 1/2 hours so he'd be there when she was ready to leave.

"No way I let my own daughter do something like that," Hernandez says. "But if someone else's daughter wants to do it. . . ."

You would hope she would be told to start texting all her friends to let them know: "My parents never let me have any fun."

tdw 12-15-2009 09:14 PM

I'm sorry but its people like that who make me very supportive of dimwitted sixteen year olds who want to sail around the world.

I mean really. Who would you rather be or have as a daughter? The Sunderland girl or whatshername from Australia Versus that over protective anal retentive wanker with a 33 year old pregnant daughter, married to a bag filler at the local Walmart and unable at age 33 to go out and play in the driveway by herself ?

ps - do you really have professional bag fillers in the US ? Down here the checkout chicks perform both functions.

CharlieCobra 12-15-2009 09:17 PM

I can't say that I disagree with him... and I raised eight kids...

smackdaddy 12-15-2009 10:57 PM

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Originally Posted by tdw (Post 551218)
ps - do you really have professional bag fillers in the US ? Down here the checkout chicks perform both functions.

My uncle makes $216,000 a year baggin' snacks. It's a great gig here in the States.

tdw 12-16-2009 03:41 AM


Originally Posted by CharlieCobra (Post 551219)
I can't say that I disagree with him... and I raised eight kids...

The irony is Charlie that so do I. Previous posts on the subject will show I am one of those who finds this business of a bunch of teenager tromping around the world's oceans to be utterly absurd. Trouble is that this fella's ' keep 'em in bubble wrap' attitude disturbs me.

At 16 I was working in a supermarket stocking shelves and the like. Now that I come to think of it I probably bagged the odd haul myslef when things got really busy. Today I'd rather be able to say I was out sailing round the world even if it was a foolhardy venture.

I've always been concerned that these kids are being pushed by parents with there own selfish agenda but at the same time there is such a thing as too much protection. This guy seems to want to keep his daughter wrapped in cotton wool. Still and all maybe I was being a bit harsh on him.

Dirtboy 12-16-2009 05:13 AM


How mature is a 16-year-old girl, who makes the choice to spend months on the water instead of in the mall with her friends?
I stopped here! 'Nuff said. He's an idiot. I think I'd rather have my 16 yo doing anything but being a mall rat.


CharlieCobra 12-16-2009 11:59 AM

Andrew, it's like football, little league and many other things. The parents have or had a dream and when THEY couldn't do it, they pointed their kids at it and tried to live vicariously through the kids. You see it at any youth league game, only this is infinitely more dangerous. I consider m'self strong, adaptable and self reliant as well as a pretty good sailor and I'm NOT ready for something like this... I hear ya on working at a young age. I was making more $$$ than my Father at age 12, working full time rebuilding mobile homes with a neighbor. Been working ever since.

smackdaddy 12-16-2009 12:13 PM

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To me it's not the individual in question - it's the concept. Like Charlie says, there's a force behind these kids that's doing a lot of the driving. And that's what I think the writer was facetiously hammering on.

When Jessica's committee was making the decision on her departure, instead of her, that behind-the-scenes force showed its face. I'm sorry, but this is a girl that's blogging about making seat belts for her stuffed animals and snapping pics of her cosmetics collection in the cockpit. And now you've got Abby painting shoes, etc.

To me, it's the fame-before-accomplishment thing that's creating the danger. Ginning up PR and sponsorships based on "the record" creates a tremendous amount of pressure on anyone - much less a kid that is still worried about the well-being of stuff animals.

I'm just sayin'.

tdw 12-16-2009 03:27 PM

hmmm...of course someone with half an ounce of wit about them might have realised that Simers is taking the piss..... I missed it......they don't call me fuzzy for nuffink.....but if newspaper journalists cannot use emoticons like the rest of do then I can't be held responsible for my dimness...:p

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