TEENAGE sailor Abby Sunderland, whose derring-do exploits resulted in a rescue operation involving the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, has taken on critics of her failed attempt to circumnavigate the globe.”Since when does age create gigantic waves and storms?” she said. Writing on her blog, aboard a French fishing boat which is ferrying her to safety, the 16-year-old American added: ”The truth is, I was in a storm and you don’t sail through the Indian Ocean without getting in at least one storm … Storms are part of the deal when you set out to sail around the world.”As the federal Transport Minister, Anthony Albanese, confirmed the Australian taxpayer had in part underwritten the search and rescue effort on the Indian Ocean under international maritime obligations, debate continued to rage over the wisdom of the voyage.”It’s too young,” said Joe Tucci, from the Australian Childhood Foundation. ”There is a point at which these ‘youngest-ever’ records should be stopped … young people can’t drive before a certain age, and we should apply it to these … situations as well.”Clive Hamilton, the professor of public ethics at at Charles Sturt University, said he was somewhat conflicted about the issue. ”Rather a lone sailor, than a teen porn star,” he said. ”We all admire adventurous people, but on balance I think it was too risky.”Back home in her native Los Angeles, Abby’s family were also queried about accusations of negligence in allowing their daughter to risk her life.”It wasn’t a flippant decision,” said her father, Laurence Sunderland. He said that Abby had ”spent half her life on the water” and was delivering yachts solo at the age of 13.Mr Sunderland said Abby’s age had no bearing on her accident. She was skilled enough to sail thousands of kilometres alone, negotiating the treacherous seas around Cape Horn and rounding the Cape of Good Hope, he said.with LA Times
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