Teen sailor Abby Sunderland has been a victim of he-said, she-said speculation since her attempt to sail solo around the globe went awry. Critics have lambasted her parents for letting her attempt the trip. Her sailing coaches, however, maintain she was as qualified — or more qualified than — most adults. Today she spoke directly to the Associated Press via satellite phone from her rescue ship, the French Ile de la Reunion. She didn’t mince words.
“I think that a lot of people are judging me by the standards they have for their teens and other teens that they know and [are] thinking, ‘She’s exactly like them,’” she told the AP. “They don’t understand that I’ve sailed my whole life and I do know what I’m doing out there.” As for those who claim that, at 16, was too young for the voyage, and assert her parents were negligent in letting her go, she agrees that the situation, from afar, “can look pretty crazy. But the thing is, those people don’t know. And if they did, they wouldn’t be criticizing my age.”
Abby Sunderland’s parents further address critics on their daughter’s personal blog. There, they let meteorologist Ken Campbell, who helped train Abby, have a say. In addition to stating that he and his team would never have agreed to work with Abby if they didn’t have total confidence in her abilities, he says, to Abby’s mom and dad, Laurence and Marianne Sunderland :
“You are great, loving and caring parents, with a remarkable daughter and most of all, she is safe to try again! She is a fine example of the true human spirit! That is what should be celebrated, not criticized. By the way, she is 16, not 8.”
Ouch! What do you think?
PHOTO: Abby’s Blog