She may be the most capable sailor you ever met. She might be an adequate but unexemplary sailor. She might be a total amateur. I don't know, and you don't know. That's why it's so mind-numbingly irritating to hear all of this talk of how "idiotic" and how "stupid" it is for her to try. Just because you weren't up to it at 14, or because your kid isn't up to it at 14, that doesn't mean that she isn't up to it at 14.
jc, you may or may not know that I have a bit of history around here arguing roughly the same tack your taking above. Here's an example:
I'm all about going big in sailing. And there's no doubt that a solocirc is as big as it gets.
Furthermore, as you'll see in the thread above, I believe that a large part of whether you make it or not is luck. And that no amount of experience or knowledge can get you through that "window" if luck's not holding it open.
On top of that, it comes down to how much one can take physically and mentally. Boats tend to do pretty well on their own. It's typically the skipper that will give in before the boat...for all kinds of reasons. Read the Skip Allan story.
Now, I still believe just as strongly as I did back then that going big in sailing is where the fun and adventure is. But, I also still believe as I did back then that sailors have to really prepare themselves and methodically work up to it.
The reason I believe that is what CapTim wrote above...that rescue is a contract that should be treated very carefully. And I think it's currently on a track where people are beginning to think of it as a right. And that's not good.
People often compare sailing around the world with climbing Mount Everest. The only difference is, if you screw up in the Dead Zone (above 26K feet) - you stay there and die. You're done. No one is coming to get you - even though you can talk to your wife on a satphone as you're freezing and she'll know precisely where you are. Yes, maybe
a Sherpa can help you down. But there are many, many bodies up there that say otherwise.
On the other hand, if you screw up in the middle of the Indian Ocean, one of the most remote stretches of water on the planet, you can get picked up.
So, in all this debate about "rights" to "adventure" that includes extreme dangers, something doesn't quite add up. Especially when SAR is called in.