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Today In Cheerful News…

October 21, 2009

“A 16-year-old Australian girl has begun an attempt to become the youngest person to sail solo and unassisted around the world.”

I wish Jessica Watson the very best of luck, because this is the fourth story about young people trying to break that record, and, well… you spot the difference:

  • Zac Sunderland, 17, from California, was greeted by “hundreds of people” cheering as he completed his trip in July.
  • “[he] completed the 45,000km (28,000-mile) voyage in 13 months, facing storms, equipment breakdown and suspected pirates.

  • Mike Perham, 17 (and slightly younger than Zac Sunderland), from Hertfordshire, recieved a personal message of congratulation from the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope when he arrived back in the UK in August.
  • [he] tackled 50ft waves, gale force winds and technical problems during a 30,000-mile circumnavigation.

  • Laura Dekker, 13, was put into state care by Dutch authorities to prevent her attempting to beat the record in August. This, after sailing solo to the UK, where she was put into English state care until her father came to collect her.
  • The judges agreed [that it was “irresponsible for such a young girl to make a two-year solo trip around the world”], ruling Miss Dekker would face mental and physical risks if she were allowed to go ahead with her planned record attempt.

In Jessica Watson’s case, “officials had urged her to abandon the attempt after her boat crashed into a cargo ship on a training run. She and her family have insisted she is experienced and capable.”

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