Too many people here seem to have a wanton careless attitude about child care predicated upon the old argument about government intervention and some perception a parent knows how to bring up their kids. BS!
There's nothing outdated about the notion that government is a miserable substitute for a loving parent. Parents are in a position to know how their child feels and thinks about things, and their maturity, or lack thereof, and they are in a position to know the extent of the child's sailing knowledge and skill. A judge knows absolutely nothing about the child, but relies on the testimony of a social worker or psychologist with minimal credentials who has talked with the child for a grand total of an hour or less. The judge probably has no experience sailing, so must rely on the testimony of a sailor to inform him of the challenges involved in a circumnavigation. Because there are no accepted standards of expertise for sailors, the sailor might or might not be sufficiently experienced to express meaningful opinions. Worse yet, the judge might be one of the many ill-informed people who harbors an unexpressed bias against anyone who goes to sea in a small boat, thinking that they must be either crazy or suicidal. Important decisions that will affect your child's life for many years rely upon such a shallow basis. This judge, upon whom you are so ready to rely for a thoughtful decision, might well be the same person who couldn't figure out what to do with an abused child, and so he returned the child to the custody of his abuser, with a stern admonition to not do that anymore.
I spent a career working with judges, and they are generally nice, well-intentioned folks, but a judge doesn't love your child, or know your child, or understand your child, and often doesn't have a very solid grasp of your familial relationship. A judge is the absolute last
place you should go for an important decision affecting the life of your child, and then only after all other alternatives have failed. In that case, you might or might not get a sound decision, but at least you'll get a decision.