· Learning the HARD way...
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First of all - Welcome to SailNet! Because you are new (1 post), I recommend that you read this post.You really have a lot of following to do before airing your totally unfounded opinion. You don´t want to follow Jessica´s trivials; still your next post goes on about sponsoring etc. - from a cursory check of her website I guess. I am not sure what the value of that particular post is. Again: you have much research to do.
For your information: Jessica is NOT going for any RECORD. Just showing to HERSELF what she can do. So far she has done quite succesfully what she set out to do.
Never mind the records: No doubt she will turn up on various lists of accomplished sailors. On top of that she seems (from her blog) to be a very kind person showing an extreme capacity to overcome physical and psycological hardship.
Second - I have an opinion, and a right to air it. Just like you! That's kind of what this category General Discussion (sailing related) is about.
Third - I hope that Abby and Jessica, and Zack (Zach?) grow up to be fine upstanding members of what ever community that they decide to be a member of. If anyone wants to sail around the world, I would tell them to shut up and do it - but don't ask for coast guard assistance, and please don't promote the attempt before you've done squat - and that includes selling hats, shoes, T shirts, and/or making a reality TV show out of your attempt.
However, her STATED goal "to become the youngest person to sail solo non-stop and unassisted around the World" (spelled out on the side of her boat) does strike me as irresponsible. A 17 year old kid did it, that encouraged a 16 year old to try it, which then encourages a 15 year old, and so on, and so on... Somehow, these kids get the impression that if they can be the youngest to complete a solo circumnav. that they'll be famous. I would argue that the public display of irresponsibility of their parents, and the exploitation of their attempt by sponsors should make them notorious!
I noticed that you claim to be from Copenhagen. Perhaps you remember the Laura Dekker fiasco? I would argue that the Danish courts agree with me, that this "quest to be the youngest" is irresponsible. In case you missed Laura's story, here is a refresher - thanks to NRC in the Netherlands:
However, the need for corporate, and in Zach's case private sponsorship [some readers may remember that there was a link on SailNet that would allow readers to contribute to his adventure] to complete their undertaking is a grab for MONEY...It could be the ultimate reality TV show: 14-year-old girl sails around the world solo, navigates the islands of Indonesia and the Panama canal, braves the pirate-infested waters off the coast of Somalia, faces rough storms, dead calms, loneliness and physical exhaustion. Her reward: the Guinness world record for becoming the youngest sailor ever to circumvent the planet solo.
TV stations have been competing for the rights to Laura Dekker's story ever since it made headlines last August, when a Dutch juvenile court grounded her just as she was about to set sail in her 8-metre boat. Laura was temporarily placed under the supervision of a youth welfare organisation pending a decision by the juvenile court, which is expected by the end of this week.
No so lonely now
After considering several proposals, 'Team Laura Dekker" has agreed to go into business with one, as yet unnamed TV station. In a bizarre twist the TV coverage is being used as an argument before the juvenile court. After all, sailing around the world with a TV crew in tow, hardly qualifies as a solitary experience.
The media attention for Laura's case has gained her offers of support from around the world. An experienced sailor has put himself forward to follow Laura during the entire trip in a faster boat. Laura's website has received offers of free hotel rooms and private accommodation. Someone has proposed to be her spokesperson free of charge, and she will be met and taken care of at every port of call during her trip.
All of this could help sway the three juvenile court judges as they weigh their decision this week. In a hearing behind closed doors on Monday they listened one more time to the arguments presented by Laura, her father, the investigator appointed by child protection services, Laura's lawyer and her mother.
'It's all about the sailing'
The court-appointed psychologist's report on Laura is 35 pages long. The judges have studied it, as well as the report by the child protection services, an IQ test, Laura's proposed route and the security plan she drafted herself. A decision could be reached as early as Friday. [The court decided NOT to let her go, so she ran away - to St Martin How does a 14 year old "run away," all by herself, to a Dutch/French island in the Carribean? ]
According to Laura's lawyer Peter de Lange, in rare interview with NRC Handelsblad, the court has kept an open mind about the trip. "The judges agreed to proceed swiftly, because it is important, given the weather conditions, that Laura leaves as soon as possible." And if she wants to be the youngest sailor to sail around the world she has to leave before she turns 15," de Lange said. A 16-year-old Australian, Jessica Watson, is now under way to break the current record.
De Lange is confident the court will come round to his arguments. "Everyone says she is quite able to make the trip. It is no longer dangerous now that she will be followed and there will be someone to meet her at every port," De Lange said.
Another major objection is the trip's impact on Laura's education. Child services used the fact that Laura would be missing school as the main argument to have her placed under supervision. But De Lange said Laura plans to study on board and interrupt her trips to take exams.
Meanwhile, Laura herself is completely unfazed by the media attention, said De Lange. "For her it's all about the sailing."
I believe that the Guinness people removed this category to dissuade people from attempting to gain their 15 min of fame through solo circumnavigation attempts, but I may be wrong there. However, the most current Guiness record holder is Mike Perham, who completed his solo circumnav on the 18th November 2008 aboard his 50ft yacht TotallyMoney.com at the age of 16 years 247 days. Um, did I mention that this was about MONEY and publicity? Thank you Mike!
It does not take a lot of following or research for anyone to decide that this is about publicity, and money. I believe that I have made both points. If you feel that these attempts are about something else, the burden is on you to present your case and prove it.
"It's all about the sailing"... 'Cha-right