Abby Sunderland, known for being the teenage sailor whose parents questionably let her attempt to break a sailing record only to have her get caught in a storm and need rescued, spoke publicly for the first time since she set foot on dry land during a press conference today.
Her parents were not present since her mother is currently in labor with the family’s eighth child, but Abby’s 17 year old brother Zac, also an adventurer, was present to give her support.
Abby refused to respond to any of the criticism that’s been lobbed at her parents for allowing her to take on a dangerous task. Instead, she focused on herself and why she was capable (minus the intrusion of Mother Nature) of such a feat. “I was prepared,” she said. “I didn’t expect it to happen, but I was prepared in case it did happen and because of that, I felt comfortable out there.I have crossed two oceans, I have sailed around Cape Horn and Cape Agolis the questioning of my age should have been over weeks, if not months, ago.”
Abby admits that she was frightened and expected to be lost for weeks. “I was terrified, but I knew I was going to be testing myself. There were times when I was scared, definitely, but the times you are scared you have to get over it. Being scared doesn’t do anything good, it makes you hesitate and that’s when problems begin,” she said, adding, “I am living proof that things don’t always work out the way you plan, but you can only go so far in an adventure. You can reduce risk, but you can never completely eliminate it.”
She sounds mature and she has proven her skill. When, as a parent, do you encourage the talent your child displays and when do you pull on the reins? Abby could have died. She also could have succeeded. It’s a hard line and one for each parent to decide on their own. What many people have questioned about the Sunderlands choice is the reports that they were intending on making Abby’s journey part of a reality TV show on the family. Abby says that isn’t true.
“[There is] no reality TV show and there will be NO documentary, but I might write a book. I don’t want to forget the great memories I had,” she said. “I’m writing it for me… I hope I inspire people.”