Posted by: First Mate | September 29, 2010

Here we go again…

Apologies on the late coverage of this but I have been a little busy, swimming channels, working and trying to be a wife and mother.  So here it is – as covered in the Huffington Post: Laura Dekker, Dutch Teen, Sets Sail In Secrecy On Solo Trip Around The World

Let me present you with some highlights:

PORTIMAO, Portugal — A 14-year-old Dutch sailor departed in secrecy from Gibraltar Saturday on her quest to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world – avoiding the media because, her manager said, she didn’t want the attention.

Why, at 14, does she have a manager?  He is not a coach, instructor or mentor – but a manager.  A man named Peter Klarenbeek, who stated her trip will take more than a year.

“She said goodbye to her father and friends and she sailed away into the horizon,” said Holland’s MasMedia company, which has exclusive TV rights to film her voyage.

She doesn’t want the attention, yet she has a manager and has already sold the TV rights to “film her voyage.”

Laura had been scheduled to depart from Portimao, in southwestern Portugal, where she arrived from Holland last week before embarking on final sea trials. But Marijke Schaaphok, MasMedia’s director, said the girl ended up leaving from Gibraltar because Portugal only issues permits for sailing ocean vessels to people 18 or older.

This regulation does not apply on British territory, Schaaphok said. Laura also “did not want to speak to the media” gathered in Portimao, Klarenbeek said.

I knew I loved Portugal for a reason. No Comment on Gibraltar except that the Barbary Macaques are more aggressive than the press as I remember.

A Dutch court released Laura last month from the guardianship of Dutch child protection agencies, who had tried to block her voyage because of fears for her safety and psychological health.

Hmm, I thought all this time she was living on a boat and preparing for her voyage?  Instead she was being “managed” by Dutch CPS? Sounds like the echo of a “Whatever…”  from the Dutch authorities after a media lawyer got to them.

In the end, the Dutch court ruled that her preparations were adequate and it was up to her parents, who are divorced, to decide whether to let her make the attempt.

I wish they would interview the mother… so far I have only heard about the dad.

And my favorite part – the closing: If Laura completes the voyage, any record she claims would be unofficial and likely to be challenged. The Guinness’ World Records and the World Sailing Speed Record Council have decided they will no longer recognize records for “youngest” sailors to avoid encouraging dangerous attempts.

And now to our next quest for attention, Reid Stowe and his 1152 days at sea for a voyage of love. The Huffington Post also covered this gem….. Reid Stowe Speaks About His 1,152-Day Odyssey At Sea Who was he loving other than himself?  Honestly, his girlfriend gave birth without him and he didn’t even meet his child for almost two years! Where I ask you is the love for anyone but himself?

I just have to put this in:  Upon his return he told reporters that he had just had “a new human experience. No one understands what I went though physically and mentally. My words may sound bold but nothing can match the majesty of the sea.” What a keen observation of the obvious, no?  I am humbled by the ocean by both watching and swimming in it.  I wonder if researchers like  Sylvia Earle aka “her deepness” can give some insights into what he went through physically and mentally?  Because after all he accomplished so much on his journey, “the Love Voyage,” where he collected, Um, NO DATA, other than his journal.

I saw a bumper sticker this morning that said something to the tune of: “Before you attempt something, first consider: Is this worthwhile? Are your actions truthful? Will it benefit others?” Because I wasn’t wearing my glasses (and was DRIVING), I couldn’t read what the whole message was about or who provided it, my take away points were:

  1. Is this potential action something that is worth my time/energy?
  2. Am I doing this for the right reasons?
  3. Is there a greater good involved?
  4. Who and/or what will benefit?

Worthwhile and benefiting others…. I don’t need to know if a 14-year-old is mature enough to circumnavigate, in times of war 12-year-old children took up arms to protect their families.  I also feel like “The Mars Ocean Odyssey” or Stowe’s “Love Voyage”  are schemes developed after one has consumed too many lentils alone at sea.  To me these people are getting sponsorship to take risks, but for what other than their own self-aggrandizement.  I don’t blame the 14 year old for this because she is 14.  We are supposed to be self involved at 14.

Viktor Frankl’s book  Man\’s Search for Meaning is a sort of memoir and study of his own experiences in a concentration camp and how one finds the will to survive when even the worst circumstances are forced upon us.

From Wikipedia:  Frankl identifies three psychological reactions experienced by all inmates to one degree or another: (1) shock during the initial admission phase to the camp, (2) apathy after becoming accustomed to camp existence, in which the inmate values only that which helps himself and his friends survive, and (3) reactions of depersonalization, moral deformity, bitterness, and disillusionment if he survives and is liberated.

Frankl concludes that the meaning of life is found in every moment of living; life never ceases to have meaning, even in suffering and death. In a group therapy session during a mass fast inflicted on the camp’s inmates trying to protect an anonymous fellow inmate from fatal retribution by authorities, Frankl offered the thought that for everyone in a dire condition there is someone looking down, a friend, family member, or even God, who would expect not to be disappointed. Frankl concludes from his experience that a prisoner’s psychological reactions are not solely the result of the conditions of his life, but also from the freedom of choice he always has even in severe suffering. The inner hold a prisoner has on his spiritual self relies on having a faith in the future, and that once a prisoner loses that faith, he is doomed.

Frankl passed away in 1997, I would have liked to have met him.  I would also be interested in what he thought about people who inflict things like 1152 days at sea on themselves for nothing other than to do it, some press coverage and free cheese?


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