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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Wonder if she herself might have been napping, thank goodness it sounds just the boat with damage and not her. Guessing there will be more to the story shortly. Hope she gets fixed up and still heads on.
 

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Hope she gets fixed up and still heads on.
Once again I'm sorry to be confrontational but by now it should be clear to all that sending children to sea on their own is a bad idea.

This child was very lucky that she collided with a freighter. Maybe a minute or two difference in time and the freighter could have collided with her.

She should be flown to New Zealand to have lunch with Judith Sleavin first before being allowed to go to sea again. When she gets run over by another ship it will be the poeple on the ship who will have to live with her death through no fault of theirs.

If the parents fix the boat and send her on her way again and she loses her concentration like she did the last time and dies, they should go to jail. I think the charge would read something like "depraved indifference".

I wonder if Jessica's parents have ever had a really bad day at sea?
 

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Omatako:

Where in the article does it say that she was at fault? It may very well be the case that she was, but so far I haven't seen any details as to how the incident occurred. While I can't imagine sending my own daughter off at age 16 to try something like this (i.e., I'm probably in your camp on this) I don't think we know any facts at this point in time. Since her press release and press conference seem to very carefully avoid discussing what actually happened, it seems a bit suspicious to me, but in any event I think it worth waiting to hear the circumstances before laying blame.

MD
 

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Omatako:

Where in the article does it say that she was at fault? It may very well be the case that she was, but so far I haven't seen any details as to how the incident occurred. While I can't imagine sending my own daughter off at age 16 to try something like this (i.e., I'm probably in your camp on this) I don't think we know any facts at this point in time. Since her press release and press conference seem to very carefully avoid discussing what actually happened, it seems a bit suspicious to me, but in any event I think it worth waiting to hear the circumstances before laying blame.

MD
Local press here in Oz are quoting JW as saying that she was below deck when the incident occurred and that the ship has acknowledged that they saw her.

So.....she was not keeping a proper watch......and the ship didn't stop to render assistance.......mmmm....the lawyers should have fun with this for a for quite some time....
 

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Omatako:

Where in the article does it say that she was at fault? It may very well be the case that she was, but so far I haven't seen any details as to how the incident occurred. While I can't imagine sending my own daughter off at age 16 to try something like this (i.e., I'm probably in your camp on this) I don't think we know any facts at this point in time. Since her press release and press conference seem to very carefully avoid discussing what actually happened, it seems a bit suspicious to me, but in any event I think it worth waiting to hear the circumstances before laying blame.

MD
Well here's my thinking:
  • If the ship had run into her she'd be dead so clearly she ran into the ship.
  • If she was the stand-on vessel and decided to test the ship's resistance to giving way then she made a bad choice. When it comes to a conflict between a ship and a yacht the only REAL right of way the yacht has is the right to get the hell out of the way.
  • If she wasn't the stand-on vessel and held her course and sailed into a huge ship then she made a bad choice.
  • She was in a shipping area and was apparently down below long enough for a ship to sneak up on her so she made an obviously bad choice. Judith Sleavin will attest to that.
  • If she had the equipment that she should have on a solo non-stop circumnav then she should have at least switched the radar on and kept an eye on it or set an alarm ring while she was down below. If she didn't she made another bad choice.
  • If she didn't know how to then she should never have left the harbour, yet another bad choice.
There appears to be a common thread here. If she can make any one of these bad choices when she's in relatively calm weather (confirmed by the local metservice) imagine the quality of choices she's going to make after being for 3 days in sustained 70 knots of wind and a 30 foot following sea, without much sleep and very little food.

So that's why I think this child shouldn't be allowed to be sailing on her own even from one port to another let alone around the world (as flawed as my thinking may be).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I've been thinking of this situation, and know for a fack that times when I've found myself bearing down on something be it another boat or object in the water, as soon as I would attempt to avoid the situation and bear off in a safe direction the boat would go into irons and dam near heave to. At that point it takes some work to recover the situation, which could be enough time to not permit her to get out of the way. It has been reported that she was trying to raise the ship on VHF, and I'm guessing the radio is in the boat thus suggesting her reason for below deck.

In any event this no doubt has been a lesson for her and only her alone knows the real truth, it may be as she says, it need not matter she has to live with that knowledge.
 

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So that's why I think this child shouldn't be allowed to be sailing on her own even from one port to another let alone around the world (as flawed as my thinking may be).
My wife and I discussed this and noted that the majority of driver deaths in our country are between the ages of 16 and 20...implying that the sort of "attention deficit issues" might be applicable to some youthful sailors in some conditions.

My understanding is that the wind was eight knots, implying a speed for a 10.5 metre boat of no more than four knots, meaning "how many dozen minutes were you below to not see you were about to prang a freighter?"

Accidents happen to the most experienced, but stupid, avoidable accidents point to a lack of attention, experience and diligence. I'd rather crush a dream than crush a sailor.
 

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So far the record for teenagers sailing around the world alone is still better than for people over 30. Of course it is a small sample size.
I would suggest that the reason for your statistic has more to do with the fact that teenagers are always held up to the international sailing fraternity as being somehow special and thus are better remembered.

There are hundreds of people over the age of thirty that are sailing single-handed voyages on any giving day and that's not counting professional sailors engaged in races and record breaking attempts (Vendee Globe, Around-Alone, etc).

I would be interested to see your list of teenagers that have done successful solo circumnavs. I can recall a handful (maybe two handfuls). :rolleyes:
 

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This is a direct quote from a press release on her website.

"Despite the incident, Jessica is still in high spirits and acknowledges the on-going support of her family, friends and sponsors who are all solidly behind her record breaking bid to become the youngest person to circumnavigate the world."

So it it appears as though this venture is about the record book and the rules that must be followed to achieve that record.
They have several sponsors that are highly visible on their web page so it can be assumed that money is a significant factor.

The 16 year old is a minor so her parents are legally responsible for decisions of this type. If I as a parent let my 16 year old drive a car to a job, I am risking her life in the hopes that the experience and money she gets from that job justify the risk. Many parents take that risk. Some wait till the child is 16 1/2 some 17 etc.

In this case the parents are risking their daughters life, according to their own press release, to achieve a record. Along with that record will come a career and no doubt an increase of fortune for the family.

So the question is is this risk worth it? For the vast majority of parents, even parents who understand the sea, I suspect the answer is no.
These parents have made the decision to take the risk.
I wish them well, I hope they don't lose their daughter. Personally I would not do it.

One could argue that the financial incentive is secondary and the motive is the great experience. If that was the real motive the trip could be delayed till the girl was 18. She could have a great experience a couple years later just as well as now. Of course that would not be worth a record title and the money.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with taking a risk for money. We all do it every day. Most parents however are not willing to take a big risk with their minor children for money.

I would really really hate to be them if something goes wrong.
 

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Well,
It sounds like she will head off again as soon as repairs are done.
Omatako has a good point ( more than one actually). There are lots of solo sailors doing their stuff on the quiet. So does David. Publicity wont hurt her.


I know everyone is divided on whether she should go or her parents should let her, but she is going, so good luck, fair winds and a safe trip.

Cheers
 

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The parents
Jessica Watson older and wiser after yacht crash

Two weeks for repair
Repairs start on teen solo sailor's yacht | Herald Sun

Here you go artfull
Jessica Watson - youngest ever to sail around the world

The nice thing about this media and money fueled process is that it can go on in incrementally more and more steps so it never has to end.

The youngest to solo climb Mt. Everest
The youngest to solo cave dive 160 meters deep in the sump "Divjak"
The youngest to row across the Atlantic
The youngest sky diver

So the quest for fame and fortune (Jessica has a media consulting group) will compel an endless stream of younger and younger children to attempt more and more dangerous news worthy stunts with no end in sight.

Of course there is a predictable end. Some of the children will die. Once that happens the media will make its money with breathless reports and endless analysis.

Or of course thoughtful reasonably prudent people could just decide that prudent seamanship requires at least the maturity to enter into a legal contract before ocean crossing's.
The lure of big money and fame however will most likely win out over prudence and we will have to work our way though the inevitable media cycle to its inevitable conclusion.

In contract, almost the opposite extreme is Lin and Larry Pardee's attitude. I can't find the reference, I've looked. They don't carry any means to send a distress signal because I'm paraphrasing. "We have been doing this for over 50 years and are supposed to know what we are doing. We do this because we want to and take every precaution to be prepared to take care of ourselves. If we get into trouble that we can't handle ourselves we don't want to risk the life of some 25 year old coasty to save our wrinkled old butts."
I'm not sure I agree with their attitude either but wow what a contrast in accepting responsibility for ones-self and respecting others even paid professionals.

Laws will eventually have to be passed. It should be pretty simple to discourage if not prevent because if a skipper is too young to legally enter into a contract it should be rather easy to deny the boat access to ports. I'm not advocating laws I'm just saying it seems like the money pressure will require them.
It is not that much different than the need for steroid laws. The money pressure was so great the athletes were willing to ruin their health to the point of death. The only solution was laws.
 

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What I'm really afraid of for this young lady is the pressures that she is under now. Even if she has figured out by herself that she is in way over her head what can she do? The event has propelled her to international fame. Her media handlers and sponsors are super excited that now they can capitalize on this and spin a fantastic story of courage and determination and make potentially millions.

It would take an extraordinary adult to to face those pressures and economic realities and truthfully say, "I'm not ready".

For a 16 year old to face her parents dreams and the sponsors and media people and make a real personal decision would be one in thousands.

It will be way easier for her to continue and die trying. Now that is really sad.

I'm 58 years old and have been running a computer company for 20 years and it took me several weeks to be reasonably comfortable with a garmon Colorado. But even now it surprises me with some details and idiosyncrasies on occasion after using it almost daily for three months.

This young lady has a very sophisticated electronics setup, probably a hundred times more complicated than my handheld, and was down below during the collision. If I had to guess she was messing with the nav equipment that she only superficially understands.
 

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This young lady has a very sophisticated electronics setup, probably a hundred times more complicated than my handheld, and was down below during the collision. If I had to guess she was messing with the nav equipment that she only superficially understands.
It was a sea trial, not the actual trip. Good point on learning the equipment. Its probably part of it, but just speculation.
 

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Thanks davidpm for posting some excellent comments explaining the real issue. I'm not sure how many postings I've read here and elsewhere on this matter. Endless debates about whether she has enough experience, whether the boat is equipped properly, whether she handled the situation correctly. Let me say at the outset that I accept without question that she is a capable sailor who is probably as well prepared as any can be.

To me, none of that is relevant.

You see, to me, this isn't about Jessica, it is about the rest of us. WE create the market by following this stuff. Which brings the media and the sponsors crawling out from under their rocks. And where there's money, there'll be new attempts, as davidpm says. Youngest around the world solo at 16... nah.. already got a 13 year old wants to try. Why stop her? After all she's only a couple years younger. Why not 12? Or 10?

And kids will die.

So to me, there's a line that shouldn't be crossed. I've got absolutely NO objections to Jessica having the experience of her life doing this trip. I'll be out there cheering her on along with the rest of the crowd.

Just as long as she starts on her 18th birthday.
 
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