This story has stirred up some interesting dialogue on a number of sailing forums. For example on the British ybw.com, a poster draws a comparison between Captain Heather and the young Tania Aebi, who sailed her twenty six foot boat around the world 20 years ago. The big difference between these two stories is that Tania did not proclaim herself a heroine before she even started!
Whilst I understand the very human desire to encourage those who attempt such feats I am puzzled by the defensiveness of a community that has been so summarily dismissed by Mr Neill, Heather's Dad. To accept misleading and, in some cases, totally incorrect information because it is perceived to have been given in a spirit of adventure strikes me as stupid and unforgivable.
This woman is going to risk her boat, her project and maybe even her life because in her, albeit silent, agreement with her father's very public statements she is alienating both sound practical advice and the goodwill of a community that would truly like to see her succeed.
I began this story with interest and optimism but through the strange response of Mr Neill to a sincerely offered piece of information I find a very different underlying tale. This makes me suspicious. Cynical I may be but curious I certainly am!
In this world of internet and fast global communication those who seek to exploit our sailing and cruising communities need to be aware that some of us do not take things at face value. What has`really surprised me on the various forums is people's reluctance to ask and pursue the key questions. We do not all have to agree or even think in the same way but I do believe it is vital to voice our concerns. There is no such thing as an innocent bystander!
This posting appeared on sailnet.com and I heartily endorse his views.
If it's "highly controversial" to suggest that novice sailors should take some time to reflect and learn and then set off quietly and humbly, learning as they go, making no grand pronouncements about intended circumnavigations, then so be it -I'm highly controversial. I'm not the old fart I thought I was...I'm a revolutionary!