Saturday, 15 November 2008

A parent's ambition?

A 16 year old boy is setting off from Portsmouth today in an attempt to be the youngest person to sail alone around the world.  Almost two years ago he was the youngest to cross the Atlantic alone, taking six weeks to complete the crossing.  This time they expect the trip to take four and a half months.

From the BBC news:
Family spokesperson Kizzi Nkwocha said:
"Michael will become the most famous schoolboy in the world when he completes his journey.  However, the incredibly high cost of satellite calls means that he won't be able to talk to people in the UK as much as he may wish to.  It will be quite a lonely four-and-a-half months for a teenager, especially as he will be away for Christmas.  But Michael will have his college course work to keep him company."
 I can't help but wonder why.  Nothing on this earth would persuade me that a sixteen year old should undertake an expedition such as this.  I don't believe at that age they have either the mental or physical maturity to cope with the extreme conditions that might arise, let alone any emergency that could occur.  How many people would be happy to see their child risking his life for what seems at best like a frivolous reason? 

And as for doing college work in his spare time - he must be quite exceptional!

The name of his yacht is
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  1. Well, I have to admire his spirit. Whether or not it's a good idea is another matter, like you said.

  2. This has been on the news all morning here, as Im just a few miles from Portsmouth we did think about going down and waving the lad off, but toast and a cuppa tea took preference lol....

    I hope he says safe, I cant imagine the feelings his mum must be going through...... I had it when my lads go into down clubbing let alone trying to sail around the world :)


  3. I agree that going on such a journey alone is not to be recommended. When I was 16 and living in England, a friend and I took one month during the summer to visit the continent. We had very little money and yet we managed to visit France, Spain, Austria, Germany by hitchhiking. We would visit farms and ask to do a day's work for a place to sleep and to eat. That was back in the 60's and hitchhiking was very common .. today it's frowned upon as being dangerous.

  4. Whether he makes it round or not I hope he comes to no harm. But I too am uneasy about this whole venture. If he succeeds then what on earth is he to do with the rest of his life? If he fails, what sort of psychological harm is he going to suffer? Looking back, I cannot think of anyone who was the "youngest person ever to ....." who went on to be a happy and balanced adult. Can you?

  5. @Solomon, yes I admire his spirit, it takes a lot I imagine to set out on a journey like that.
    @Marmite Toasty, I know, we were thinking of going into Portsmouth but decided against it in case the place was over-run.
    @Robin, even I went hitch-hiking in the 60s. Not any more.
    @LR, I see we're on the same wavelength here. It really isn't going to do him any good and may well do some harm. And the fact that they have employed a publicist confirms my fears.


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