You’re Never Too Old to Sail Across the Ocean on a Raft

Travel News — By Candice Walsh on January 20, 2011 at 11:30 am

Remember the controversy that started when 16-year old Abby Sunderland attempted to sail solo around the world, but got caught in a sudden storm and nearly died? Despite her brother Zac completing the same mission at just a year older than her, and although 16-year old Jessica Watson went on to steal the title of “Youngest Person to Sail Solo Around the World,” everybody had an opinion. Most of them were negative.

Some people think setting off teenagers on dangerous solo missions like Abby’s is reckless and irresponsible on behalf of the parents. Others commend such people for bravery and chasing their dreams.

So how do you think critics will react to the news that an 84-year old man is sailing across the Atlantic Ocean on a plastic raft?

Yes, 2,800 miles of unpredictable seas being navigated by 4 sailors all over the age of 55. Anthony Smith, 84, is the oldest of the group but has a great deal of sailing experience under his belt. He’s also invested the most in this trip: all the materials used to assemble the raft made from plastic gas pipes were acquired by him.

Oh yeah, he was also run over two years ago, leaving him permanently disabled. Who says the elderly can’t kick some major life butt?

Smith and the other sailors are all raising money for WaterAid, an organization which provides clean water to those who need it. They have a small shelter and even a hook and line to catch fish, and a net to catch…plankton. None of them know each other very well, but the raft is well equipped and they’ve readied themselves with some liquid therapy: booze, and lots of it.

It’ll be interesting to see how the public reacts to this adventure: will people be ageist, or will the team garner loads of praise for attempting to do the impossible?

Whatever the case, we hope Smith and the boys make it home safely!

[Photo: DrStarbuck/flickr]

Tags: abby sunderland, Anthony Smith, sailing, sailing across the Atlantic, sailing around the world

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