Friday, January 29, 2010

Abbey Sunderland race around the world is it your dream?

15 year old Abbey Sunderland to be
youngest to circumnavigate

In the news, of late, is the adventure of 16 year old Abby Sunderlad of Marina del Rey, who plans to be the youngest person to sail around the world alone. She follows her brother, Zac Sunderland who made a similar voyage. As I sit in Port Isabel Texas waiting for my turn to be ‘out there’ it is fun to watch others live their life’s dream.

The mechanic who I thought was doing such a great job at putting La Vida Nueva back onto her feet after suffering damage at the hands of Hurricane Dolly is not faring well. I found items which belonged to me in his possession, including personal medications. I am finding lots of errors in his work. A significant part of our ‘progress’ needs to be redone. Not only is it not progress, it is a step backwards when re-doing a prior bad job. Before, we needed to fix things. Now, we have to un-fix and re-fix. Hence, it is a welcome relief watching others live their dreams. Go Abbey!
"I can clearly see significant differences in Abbey's dream and my own"
What about Abby? I wish her the best of luck, as I am sure we all do. However, I can clearly see significant differences in Abby’s dream and my own. You can read news about Abbey here.

My dream started when I was 12 years old and read about Robin Lee Graham and the Dove. What attracted me to Robin’s story went far beyond the sailing adventure. It was the chance to know other cultures, to meet wonderful people, to see places most of us never get to see. It was the coming of age, of meeting one’s life companion that intrigued me. It was the experiences of a 15 year old in over his head, a kid who did not have a lot of money but did it anyway, a person who obviously fought depression, an experience which was under reported. I admired Robin for finishing the job even though he really did not want to. My hero, Robin Lee Graham.  Most of these factors are missing from the Abbey Sunderland adventure. 

One day I want to be 15. After starting this dream at 12 years of age, I soon gained the requisite 15 years of age, only to find my parents unwilling to put up the $90,000 someone put up for Abbey. Nor were my parents willing to allow a 15 year old to chuck school, college, a job, a career, a future all for a sailboat ride around the world. Looking back I can say they were probably right. Abbey is not willing to do that either. She plans to be back within 5 months.

What is so romantic about 5 months racing around the world? It will make for a great adventure story, maybe a book or movie, and certainly life changing experiences for Abbey. Jessica Watson is ahead of Abbey, another aspiring sailor who will miss allof those people, places and things.  Abbey vs. jessica Watson, what lessons are we teaching?

What is missing from the Abbey and Zac Sunderland and Jessica Watson adventure is…well all of the adventures. All of those people to meet, places to visit, new cultures to learn about. For me, sailing is more than sailing. It is the people.
"What kind of hopes do we inspire in children whose parents are poor"
 What kind of hopes do we inspire in children whose parents are poor and cannot afford a simple $5,000 bay cruiser, much less an expensive racer? When do we teach others about the meeting people part of sailing?  The future of sailing belongs to our youth.
As for Abbey, that is not her thing, at least not right now. As I said, I wish her swift passage and a safe return. As for me, when I finally make age 15, I am 52 right now, I hope I can do it the Robin Lee Graham way.  While the dove is now history, the trip is a legend for generations of young people, and old ones, to follow.
I will keep you posted on the progress of La Vida Nueva, and the lessons and adventures of a stranded dreamer waiting his turn.

Dios te bendiga

Uncle Tim

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