FanDuel - WFBC

June 28, 2010

Teen Sailor Defends Round-the-World Attempt: Sixteen-year-old solo sailor Abby Sunderland, back on dry land for the first time since her Indian Ocean rescue, is pushing back at criticism of her parents for allowing her to embark on the record-attempting journey. "Any sailor that goes out to the water knows that being hit by a rogue wave is a risk, no matter where you are," she said on Reunion Island, where she met her brother Zac. "That was a risk that I was willing to take."

posted by rcade to extreme at 08:39 AM - 42 comments

Meanwhile, the parents have bemoaned their financial state through all this, making statements such as "We are not wealthy people".

Now with the daughter's comments, I have yet to see or hear a member of the family demonstrate any sort of rational grasp on the concept of responsibility - logistically, fiscally, or otherwise.

There are goals and dreams, and then there is the consideration for those people and resources you may end up putting in a position of having to respond under strenuous conditions. The captain of the French rescue vessel ended up in the water during the transfer from the sailboat, and could have lost his life in a situation like that.

posted by beaverboard at 10:18 AM on June 28

Now with the daughter's comments, I have yet to see or hear a member of the family demonstrate any sort of rational grasp on the concept of responsibility - logistically, fiscally, or otherwise.

From the quotes in this story, it doesn't appear that Abby Sunderland is concerned that other countries paid in excess of $300,000 to rescue her. She says, "I know that the USA would do the same for a citizen of any other country as these countries did for me." It should not be the responsibility of the world to pay the cost of your adventures, especially when you are undertaking them as a commercial enterprise and helping your family score a reality TV deal. At a minimum, the Sunderlands should be agreeing to help pay the costs with whatever profit they earn from the effort.

posted by rcade at 10:47 AM on June 28

So if a commercial fishing boat (in it for the money!) needed to be rescued you'd suggest that they pay back any rescue fees?

posted by tron7 at 12:24 PM on June 28

Why not? In many places, you (or your insurance) have to pay for an ambulance. [Never mind that earning a living on a fishing boat and sailing solo around the world for your own glory are not even remotely the same thing.]

posted by bender at 12:38 PM on June 28

Should only those wealthy enough to pay for a possible rescue then be allowed to undertake such adventures?

posted by Ricardo at 12:46 PM on June 28

Are rescues free so long as we agree with why you are out there in the first place? We could set up a committee to determine which voyages are legitimate ventures to afford free rescue. Heck, it could actually be the same committee that determines what age is deemed safe enough to circumnavigate.

posted by tron7 at 01:11 PM on June 28

Rescue services and the cost of rescue services is a very difficult thing to compute as in theory if you maintain those services then the cost for rescue is vague. For example - a county or government decides they need a fire department search and rescue team for the protection of their citizens. They purchase helicopters and equipment, the maintain a staff of qualified personel, and those people train regularly to be prepared for the time when they are needed. When a call of a mountaineer in trouble comes in, the equipment and manpower and equipment is waiting and ready, Since the cost is already budgeted into the normal training and operation of that stuff, it really doesn't cost anything extra to use as it is already being used for routine training anyway.

If you have a coast guard in place and they patrolling and conducting training exercises, it seems to me they are already being paid and the expenses are budgeted for, so the occasional real operation is part of the already designated budget and only serves to make the entity better at what they are intended to do.

Maybe some feel we should maintain a coast guard for example but do everything possible to not allow them to do what it is they do. Or only do it for those willing to pay for it. The way I see it is if you have the trained guys on the payroll and the equipment in the garage, when someone needs help regardless of how they come to the situation then use the stuff and guys you have already paid for.

We could of course decide to not maintain search and rescue facilities and save money, lay off all those employees but I am not sure that doesn't create a better situation for anyone. Tax dollars get used to help rich NFL owners build stadiums because it creates jobs, tax revenue and for what so we can watch football? I suppose using tax dollars to save lives is just as valid of a use for public funds.

posted by Atheist at 01:39 PM on June 28

You should be required to have insurance to pay for a possible rescue at the very least. Certainly, if you can't afford to pay for insurance to drive, you are prohibited from driving. Why should this be any different? If a parent had their 16 year on the road without driving, the parents would be liable for any damages caused. That seems reasonable to me.

posted by bperk at 01:40 PM on June 28

Should only those wealthy enough to pay for a possible rescue then be allowed to undertake such adventures?

Yes.

I think the most extreme sports should require insurance or reimbursement for rescue costs, as appropriate. If some skier is helicoptered up to a remote mountain, becomes injured and has to be saved at great expense, he or she should be expected to pay for at least some of the rescue services. If the event was being done for TV or film purposes, the media company filming it should pay too.

Anyone who thinks the Abby Sunderlands of the world should be able to push the envelope can agree, surely, that such a decision requires a great deal of personal responsibility, sound judgment and accountability. Why shouldn't part of that include responsibility for the costs required to save yourself if trouble arises? Is it fair for the next round-the-world sailor to sell the TV rights and expect that the world's rescue resources will be deployed at no cost if needed?

posted by rcade at 02:02 PM on June 28

Someone who has a great deal of responsibility, sound judgement and accountability, but is lacking in finances shouldn't be hindered in life just because they may not be able to afford every possible just-in-case scenario that could arise.

Atheist put it very well above. Most of those rescue resources are already there and in place. It probably isn't even a horrible thing that they get a real life situation to deal with so that they can be better prepared.

And piggy backing off Atheist yet again, I would rather my tax dollars pay for this girls rescue over a new football stadium or any of the other myriad mindless things they get spent on.

posted by Ricardo at 02:32 PM on June 28

I agree that prior to attempting some of these extreme feats it would be a good idea to carry an insurance binder to ensure against any liability that may arise from the endeavor. I think everybody should also have medical insurance. That said, whether or not someone has medical insurance or not should not be a factor in dispatching an ambulance or emergency services. We just send the services and worry about it later if there is a financial recovery to be had.

Do you really want hospitals or emergency services providers in life or death situations, saying to people "before we come what kind of insurance do you have? I think it is just a matter of saving a life and working out the financial details later. If your house catches fire should you get a bill from the fire department or do you expect the taxes you pay to maintain a fire department to be your insurance. I feel the latter is appropriate. We pay taxes to have a coast guard for all citizens if needed. Those taxes are like insurance and should you as a citizen need them, that is what they are there for. Now if you are in another country who knows. Abby Sunderland was fortunate the aid from other countries was there for her. Frankly if a not citizen of the US was in need of USCG services in our waters I would have no problem with lending assistance free of charge. This is the kind of world that I feel is preferable to one in which every matter of human life revolves around money.

Just as I feel Abby had a right to decide to make the voyage, so did countries that lent assistance have the right to refuse aid. I for one am glad that some other countries feel that lending aid to someone in distress is something of a moral obligation. Now I am also sure if she were sailing past Iran or a place where there were no resources,when this happened the outcome would be different and that was a chance she clearly was willing to take.

posted by Atheist at 02:45 PM on June 28

Someone who has a great deal of responsibility, sound judgement and accountability, but is lacking in finances shouldn't be hindered in life just because they may not be able to afford every possible just-in-case scenario that could arise.

Society doesn't owe anybody an adventure. I'd love to own a new car right now but can't afford the car insurance. Is the requirement I buy it hindering my life? Yes. Is that anybody else's problem but my own? Hell no.

Do you really want hospitals or emergency services providers in life or death situations, saying to people "before we come what kind of insurance do you have?

Not at all. That would violate the oaths of their respective professions. But at this point the rescue did happen and she may have profited commercially from the round-the-world effort. If she did, she should cover as much of their costs as possible. She has 29 sponsors. If she's broke, she could hold a fundraiser to let the people who were appreciative of her effort help pay Australia back.

We pay taxes to have a coast guard for all citizens if needed.

She was in international waters thousands of miles west of Australia. No country tasks its coast guard with taking care of anybody so far away.

In Holland, a 14-year-old aspiring round-the-world sailor named Laura Dekker has been blocked by Dutch courts on the grounds that the attempt is too dangerous.

posted by rcade at 03:08 PM on June 28

Someone who has a great deal of responsibility, sound judgement and accountability, but is lacking in finances shouldn't be hindered in life

Nice thought. Now let's enter the real world where thousands of kids can't even finish high school because they need to find work. Or thousands of other kids can't go to college because they can't afford it or find financial aid.

As far as the rescue attempt, I don't think anyone here is seriously suggesting that the boats in question shouldn't have rescued Abby Sunderland, whatever the circumstances.

But given the circumstances (her parents are trying to sell this as a reality show), I think it's more than reasonable for the boats/countries involved to seek compensation AFTER the rescue has been completed. As is seeking insurance before the start of such a trip (I can't even begin to imagine the premium for covering a foolhardy voyage like this).

"That was a risk that I was willing to take."

Yes, but luckily most responsible parents would overrule their 16 year old if they wanted to try something as stupid as this instead of pimping them out to cash in on a reality show.

Per NASA, the average age of astronauts is between 26 and 46 with the average age being 34. I don't see any reason why this around the world sailing trip can't wait until then. As discussed here before this whole "youngest to" craze will just lead to more dead children (Jessica Dubroff is one notable fatality).

posted by cjets at 03:18 PM on June 28

You should be required to have insurance to pay for a possible rescue at the very least. Certainly, if you can't afford to pay for insurance to drive, you are prohibited from driving. Why should this be any different? If a parent had their 16 year on the road without driving, the parents would be liable for any damages caused. That seems reasonable to me.

I agree. Though, without prior insurance requirements, I don't think the Sunderlands should be held liable in this case.

posted by tron7 at 04:26 PM on June 28

I am not sure if many people know this but under international maritime law you are obligated to lend assistance to a vessel in distress. So, for example I am sailing or fishing or just traveling on my way and international distress signal is received, if I am the closest vessel to the location of that signal I have no choice but to respond or face prosecution.

If anybody has ever watched the Deadliest Catch or other similar programing you would also notice that even fierce competitors or rivals drop everything they are doing to aid a vessel in distress. It is the law of the sea. Leaving the scene of a vessel in distress or failing to lend whatever aid possible, unless it puts your own vessel in distress is illegal and akin to leaving the scene of an accident on the highway.

There are also strict salvage laws that do enable compensation for towing or rescuing vessels in distress. The right to reasonable compensation for services rendered on the high seas is part of the equation. This is how salvage laws allow someone to become the owner of a disabled vessel by salvaging it. Abby Sunderlands Open 40 was left adrift. That boat cost over $700,000. It is now a potential salvage if someone were to find it and take possession of it. Treasure hunters do this all the time, of course when life and limb are at stake there is no choice under the international law as to whether or not to lend assistance. Even pleasure boaters should they happen across a vessel with some minor problems are not free to leave the vessel adrift. So if someone requests a tow or other assistance you must lend the assistance, as a private vessel you are entitled to demand monetary compensation for services rendered or you can essentially place a salvage lien on the vessel rescued. This is understood for property but not relevant where life is concerned. You can be held liable for leaving a vessel should passengers be killed or injured later as a result of not being offered necessary assistance.

posted by Atheist at 05:13 PM on June 28

Some seem to focus on the girl's age as a reason why she should not have been permitted the attempt or why her parents should have to pay the cost of the rescue. I don't think her age should have anything to do with her rescue. Whether she was old enough to make the attempt is really between her and her parents (others at the same age or younger have attempted and even accomplished the same thing; it is more a measure of maturity and skill than age). As for the rescue, if a ship full of passengers or refugees in international waters began to sink and sent out a distress, maritime law would provide for assistance from whichever nearby vessels could provide assistance. Again age or financial resource has nothing to do with it (or at least should not). There is no AAA on the high seas.

posted by graymatters at 06:29 PM on June 28

There's probably a middle ground here somewhere. Such a venture could have insurance - provided someone was willing to provide it. But the law of the high seas sounds like they've got it under control. Everyone gets help. No exceptions.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 06:56 PM on June 28

This reminds me of the debate over who should bear the cost of expensive mountain rescues - seen recently in the (failed) search for three climbers on Mt. Hood (shameless self-link to a metafilter post of mine).

posted by googly at 07:40 PM on June 28

It's ridiculous, in my opinion, that one should be made to pay for a rescue. If I and my compatriots happen upon a person in peril and successfully extricate them from their situation, I would expect no fiduciary gain. The difference is only in degree. People help people. That's why we call it "society".

posted by bobfoot at 01:01 AM on June 29

It's ridiculous, in my opinion, that one should be made to pay for a rescue.

Do you think it's ridiculous that one should be expected to pay for medical care? How about if, for example, you decide to participate in the running of the bulls in Pamplona, and you get gored -- is it ridiculous for you to expect to pay for your medical care?

If I and my compatriots happen upon a person in peril and successfully extricate them from their situation, I would expect no fiduciary gain.

"fiduciary gain"? You somehow seem to think that the rescue organizations are going to profit from this. At most, they will recoup their considerable costs.

The difference is only in degree. People help people. That's why we call it "society".

No, the difference is not in degree. The difference is in, among other things, a duty to care or rescue. You and your companions taking a stroll down the trail and voluntarily helping someone out is a very different matter from New Hampshire Fish & Game getting called to the top of Tripyramid in the middle of winter to extricate some flatlander in jeans and sneakers. You may think that rescue should be free...so I guess you also think that rescue organizations should get their boats and planes and sleds and boots and medical kits and fuel for free, too? Doesn't work that way. Rescue costs money.

For all of you who think that rescue should be free, I urge you to get involved in a rescue organization and see what's involved. Or keep it real simple: go out into the woods with a bunch of friends, have one of them play rescue dummy, and the rest of you try to carry him/her out. Make sure you've got at least a couple miles to hike. It'll be an educational experience, I promise you.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:23 PM on June 29

LBB - I think you may have missed a couple of points.

Should you have to pay the Fire Department for saving your home?

The answer is you already do in the form of taxes, because as a society we have determined that this is valid use of tax dollars. The fire, police, coast guard, sheriff, park, fish and game departments also conduct certain rescue operations which are also funded by your tax dollars. I think we need to view tax dollars spent on this type of life saving activity as a public owned non profit insurance policy. These various departments have the equipment, manpower and resources already in place and are paying for them whether or not they are sitting around, training or actually rescuing someone. It only makes sense to utilize the resources when needed.

Think of it this way and I don't want to sound condescending, but if you already have a fire station with a ladder truck, and ten firemen sitting around waiting for a fire all on the payroll, when a call comes in because some yahoo is stuck on a roof 10 blocks away, what is really the cost to rescue him. Since the resources are already in place and being paid for by necessity, it seems to me getting use out of them only validates the expense of having them. If the coast guard is not rescuing boats in trouble, they are training and practicing rescuing boats in trouble, in either case we are picking up the tab for this so why is there a big issue with using them for what they are there for?

posted by Atheist at 01:07 PM on June 29

There's a difference between ordinary circumstances that require a rescue -- such as house fires -- and people who intentionally put themselves into extraordinary circumstances that would require extraordinary rescues at extraordinary expense.

I'm surprised so many people are speaking up for the right of professional adventurers like Abby Sunderland to plan for every possibility except the cost required to save their ass.

People help people. That's why we call it "society".

Part of belonging to a society is knowing when you are abusing a common good. Getting into adventures that require the public to pay enormous costs for your rescue falls under that category.

posted by rcade at 01:27 PM on June 29

Should you have to pay the Fire Department for saving your home?

If you have a penchant for playing with fire, yes.

Creating an unnecessary risk that places people and property in harms way and requires the expensive services of professional rescuers when very predictable consequences occur should create repurcussions. No, Johnny and Suzy pleasure cruiser should not have to pay for a rescue when something goes wrong with their boat; but Jenny daredevil who, motivated by profit, places herself in danger and requires rescue should.

on edit, what rcade said.

posted by tahoemoj at 01:30 PM on June 29

Should you have to pay the Fire Department for saving your home?

The fire department isn't really trying to save your home, it is really trying to keep the fire from spreading to the rest of the neighborhood. If minimizing the damage to your home is a result, that's a benefit to you. You then have to take care of the damage to your own home, and if your insurance company finds out that it was your own negligence that caused the fire (doing your own unapproved household wiring, for example), you might have a very hard time getting them to pay the claim.

To expand on l_b_b's comment, the State of New Hampshire has made those whose rescues were necessitated by their own carelessness pay at least a portion of the costs involved. Every year someone gets caught completely unprepared for the vagaries of New England weather and needs rescuing. New Hampshire's financial situation is such that we Granite Staters don't really like to shell out anything extra because someone, often fueled by alcohol, decides he can survive anything. If someone gets in trouble through accident, that's OK. It's the idiots who go looking for trouble that we have a problem with.

posted by Howard_T at 03:05 PM on June 29

What if the fire department determines your house fire is due to negligence, like failing to turn off an appliance, or forgetting you left a pot on the stove etc.

Many pleasure cruisers sail boats around the world, or from Hawaii to the mainland. Sailboat racing is a sport just like football, should someone who is injured on the football field pay for paramedics if needed, should a sailboat racer in a race from LA to Hawaii have to pay for his rescue if something goes bad?

I just don't get how you want to decide what is "necessary or essential" and what is not. What standard do you want to use to distinguish who is a "daredevil" which frankly a solo sailor is not. Where does hiking end and daredevil mountaineering begin? Does anybody really need to ski, climb, sail, surf, etc? Should my tax dollars pay to track and monitor pleasure aircraft or rescue people flying pleasure aircraft just because they like to? Base jumping, hang gliding? Maybe we should charge idiots who almost drown at the beach. Lifeguards are expensive but if we as a society decide to have them at public beaches then why not charge for every rescue since obviously swimming in the ocean is not an essential activity.

I think this all boils down to quality of life and standard of living. What separates most of the developed and wealthier countries in the world from the quote third world countries is the level of services provided to the citizens, which increases the quality or our lives.

Having rescue services available is not why people fly planes or sail boats, they do that regardless, but having the services does make it possible for the activities to become much safer and thus opens the door for many more to experience these things that would otherwise be considered too dangerous.

posted by Atheist at 03:17 PM on June 29

Many pleasure cruisers sail boats around the world, or from Hawaii to the mainland. Sailboat racing is a sport just like football, should someone who is injured on the football field pay for paramedics if needed, should a sailboat racer in a race from LA to Hawaii have to pay for his rescue if something goes bad?

The paramedics that are attending players on the field ARE paid for by the league. They are paid to sit on the NFL sidelines and wait. The league/teams pay for them to be available at a moments notice.

posted by grum@work at 03:38 PM on June 29

Here are the arguments I have problems with:

lacking in finances shouldn't be hindered in life just because they may not be able to afford every possible just-in-case scenario that could arise ... I don't think folks are saying that such individuals should be held down and absolutely not allowed to live out their dreams/adventures. If you can't cover your own ass on your own, then get an investor, benefactor, insurance or something, which would be there for those what-ifs that you can't personally afford. Similar to rcade's car analogy earlier, if I can't afford something I'd like to do or have, then I either suck it up as "that's life", I work harder so that I can cover my own expenses, or I find someone else who's willing to help cover me (most likely for something in return).

having the services does make it possible for the activities to become much safer and thus opens the door for many more to experience these things that would otherwise be considered too dangerous ... Noone's saying don't offer rescue to this girl. But, again, how about some accountability. I'm not particularly wealthy, but if I decide to risk everything on some crazy-ass investment, I might do so knowing that I can likely get a loan from somewhere. However, if I subsequently lose my shirt and the only way I can keep feeding my family is to take that loan ... yes, thank god for whomever loaned me the money ... but you can bet your life that they are going to expect repayment ... from me.

And as for the fire department and paramedics false analogies ... Fire departments, at least in my part of the country are municipal services, largely funded by tax dollars (ask the police and fire departments who have to cut staff, when tax levies don't pass). So, I AM paying for those services. And, paramedics either fall into the same category or are run like private businesses whereby, if I need their service, you can betcha either I and/or my insurance company are getting a bill after-the-fact.

I'm just surprised at the level of "leave the girl and family alone". I just don't fathom any scenario in which they shouldn't be held somewhat accountable.

posted by littleLebowski at 04:47 PM on June 29

So, then what is the outcome for the perpetrator of these crimes if they don't have the insurance and can't pay? Jail? Like - Debtor's prison?

What enormous costs are we talking about - the $300,000 it cost to rescue young Abby? That's not much at all.

We have no such laws in Canada that I can think of. Drunk snowmobilers get the same care as anyone else. I'm not saying it's perfect, but I do agree with the general principle.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 06:06 PM on June 29

So, then what is the outcome for the perpetrator of these crimes if they don't have the insurance and can't pay?

A civil judgment.

If $300,000 is "not much at all," the Sunderlands should have no trouble at all paying it.

posted by rcade at 07:36 PM on June 29

There's a difference between ordinary circumstances that require a rescue -- such as house fires -- and people who intentionally put themselves into extraordinary circumstances that would require extraordinary rescues at extraordinary expense.

Like the crabbers on The Deadliest Catch. The whole show is predicated on how dangerous a situation it is. It's not a perfect analogy but it's similar and I can't imagine anyone saying that they should be paying for their rescues.

posted by tron7 at 07:37 PM on June 29

The commercial crab fishing operations in Alaska contribute $86 million a year to the local economy. The funding of the Coast Guard's rescue operations are likely justifiable on those grounds.

posted by rcade at 07:46 PM on June 29

A civil judgment.

In what court?

In 1997, Australia spent $6 million to rescue British sailor Tony Bullimore and Frenchman Thierry Dubois, who both went missing while competing in a solo yacht race known as the Vendee Globe.

A few years earlier, Frenchwoman Isabelle Autissier was rescued - twice in two years - at a cost of $5.8 million, causing outrage among Australians who saw their taxes paying for frivolous, selfish pursuits.

If $300,000 is "not much at all," the Sunderlands should have no trouble at all paying it.

Do you just have an issue with this particular individual (family), and not the accepted rules of maritime law?

As the linked article states the uproar in this case isn't over the price tag of the rescue but rather her age. Yet you keep acting like this $300,000 just cost you your retirement.

posted by tselson at 09:03 PM on June 29

Do you just have an issue with this particular individual (family), and not the accepted rules of maritime law?

That's a stupid question given the comments I've already posted in this discussion. The Sunderlands are just one example of adventurers who expect the world to bear the costs of their rescue if they get into trouble. Isabelle Autissier is a much better example. Rescued twice at a cost of $5.8 million!

Do you really think existing maritime custom for no-cost rescues will survive many Isabelle Autissiers?

A story on extreme sailing adventurers characterizes the reaction to her this way: "There has been a public and media backlash aimed at foreign racers or adventurers who willfully put themselves in danger and then expect to be saved by Australian rescue services -- among the best in the world, incidentally."

As the linked article states the uproar in this case isn't over the price tag of the rescue but rather her age. Yet you keep acting like this $300,000 just cost you your retirement.

You didn't read the linked article carefully enough. It states that Australia and France "have brushed off questions about the price tag for the American teenager's solo adventure." The money is an issue too.

posted by rcade at 09:21 PM on June 29

Do you really think existing maritime custom for no-cost rescues will survive many Isabelle Autissiers?

That was about 15 years ago. You tell me.

You didn't read the linked article carefully enough.

I read this:

"These rescues are not at all an efficient use of our military and civilian resources," James said. "But the problem is, what happens if you don't do it? There's some real moral dilemmas involved in this. You can't just say, 'Well, you're a stupid idiot,' and let them drown. It would be pretty hard to justify that."

I read this:

Readers in online forums and on news sites have questioned the enormous costs of rescuing one teenager who chose to set off alone in winter into a dangerous ocean.

But the countries involved in the rescue effort have brushed off questions about the cost of the rescue and have no plans to seek recompense. Rescues at sea are a no-cost agreement under international conventions regarding maritime search and rescue operations.

They don't want to change the existing law/ You do. Which court should enforce your civil suits? Why pick the Sunderlands to make such an example out of?

She's a sailor. Her ship was damaged by a storm. Australia and France did what they are obligated to do and helped her. It wasn't an extremely difficult rescue because her emergency signal was operating properly, (also from the link, which I didn't closely read.)

She was in international waters thousands of miles west of Australia. No country tasks its coast guard with taking care of anybody so far away.

Yes they do. From the link, if you run into trouble in the Southern Hemisphere, you're essentially a problem that belongs to South Africa, France, Australia, Chile and Argentina, and there are enormous distances involved."

That's just the way it is. You want it changed, fine. I just don't get your extreme contempt for this particular individual versus the many that have been helped before her. That was my question, stupid as it may seem, when yes, you've made it pretty clear that $300,000 is a number that really pisses you off.

posted by tselson at 11:57 PM on June 29

should someone who is injured on the football field pay for paramedics if needed

If you're having a kickabout in the park and get whacked in the ankle by a mate, then you're paying the bill and hoping the mate will chip in. If you're part of an organised tournament, then there are structures in place to offset the risk from kids' matches up to the top professional level.

The mutual obligations for search and rescue on the high seas, mandated by conventions and guided by long-standing traditions, rely upon mutual responsibility among those who sail. As discussed in the earlier thread, the fact that Abby Sunderland and Laura Dekker are motivated by a bullshit non-record kept alive by the media carries a heavy presupposition that that threshold hasn't been met. (Toss in the reality show deal, too.)

There are barriers to entry across the sporting world, based on age, ability and cost. A 16-year-old isn't going to be allowed into a NFL offensive line or a NHL penalty kill. For solo yachting, the lack of institutional barriers means that cost is the primary hindrance, which creates the incentive to do irresponsible things for money. The rescuers don't want to send out invoices, which is understandable, but the rescued shouldn't profit from it.

posted by etagloh at 12:36 AM on June 30

I'm saying that if I'm doing something stupid and it goes wrong, don't rescue me unless you feel compelled. I have already, theoretically, anticipated the threat analysis. If you feel the need to come and help, thanks. If not, it was my decision to risk myself. Any compensation (read "reward") for saving my ass is between me and my saviours, and should not be legislated.

posted by bobfoot at 01:19 AM on June 30

They don't want to change the existing law/ You do. Which court should enforce your civil suits? Why pick the Sunderlands to make such an example out of?

I brought up civil suits in response to Weedy's inference that there's no way to collect money from rescued adventurers. It wasn't to suggest that it's the necessary response here, but it's something countries could do if their citizens tired of footing the bill for glory-seeking sailors.

I am talking about Sunderland not out of "extreme contempt" but because her incident is the one in the news. Trying to make this about how Sunderland's critics are being mean to her is weak. If you find this aspect of the discussion offensive, then let's talk about heliskiing.

Here's a quote from a company that offers the opportunity for rich skiers to be helicoptered to pristine remote mountains, an activity that puts them in a place where rescues are difficult, dangerous and enormously expensive:

"Should special evacuation support become necessary, you will be financially responsible for additional costs incurred. Please be sure your trip or medical insurance covers this type of rescue while joining us in Alaska."

They take the burden of financial responsibility for their rescue before undertaking the activity. What a concept!

If you feel the need to come and help, thanks. If not, it was my decision to risk myself.

Your decision to put yourself at risk without means of rescue, all because the media likes to pay attention to increasingly younger solo sailors (four have embarked within the last year). The Sunderlands were capable of raising enough sponsorship to buy a $700,000 boat. Why did they not feel compelled to raise the additional funds to pay for Abby's rescue, either before or afterwards? Why don't they feel compelled to at least attempt to raise funds to compensate Australia and France?

These questions are being asked within the sailing community also. A relevant quote: " I believe that sailors like Abby should post a bond or have insurance to cover the costs of a rescue anywhere in the world. Her rescue came at a high cost in money and resource. Where will the pursuit of fame and fortune end?"

I don't have extreme contempt for the Sunderlands. I just think they're behaving selfishly in pursuit of money and fame, like a lot of people these days, and that it's wrong for sailing adventurers to plan for everything except how to pay for their rescue. Abby Sunderland could mitigate a lot of that concern by using some of her newfound fame to raise funds from her admirers to pay them back. The family could even use the crisis PR agency they just hired to organize it.

Keep on living the dream, kids! At least until somebody straps a newborn to a mast and retires this record forever.

posted by rcade at 09:32 AM on June 30

At least until somebody straps a newborn to a mast and retires this record forever.

Newborn?!? God damn it! I had my four month old ready to go on her round the world trip and somebody already beat her?!? God damn glory hounds.

posted by cjets at 10:06 AM on June 30

Ha! My wife did it with a fetus! That'll learn ya! Can't beat before birth.

posted by apoch at 11:40 AM on June 30

apoch you can beat before birth as in conceived the day of departure as opposed to six months along. You know how records are made to be broken.

posted by Atheist at 01:20 PM on June 30

Well then, does the fact that I masturbated on an around the world cruise get me into the record book? Or did I need to name it?

posted by tahoemoj at 08:43 PM on June 30

We're gonna need a name.

posted by cjets at 10:05 PM on June 30

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