Sailing has its risks. Sailing around the world definitely has its risks.
Sailing around the world with two small children? Now, that's an action that's up for debate.
The Kaufman family, made up of parents Charlotte and Eric, and their children, 1-year-old Lyra and 3-year-old Cora, recently embarked on a months-long trip, intending to sail from Mexico to New Zealand in the 35-foot sailboat, the Rebel Heart. Two weeks in, they had to be rescued after their boat stalled and Lyra exhibited signs of serious illness.
The complicated rescue, carried out by the U.S. Navy and the Air National Guard, and the news that both Lyra and her mother were treated for salmonella right before they started their journey, has parents and sailors divided on the wisdom of small children and big sailing trips.
"He put his family at risk," an experienced fisherman told the New York Times, calling the stunt "asinine." In the same article, Charlotte Kaufman's brother, James Moriset, said even relatives had serious doubts about their plans.
"I’m sorry, I don’t even like to take my kids in a car ride that would be too dangerous, and it’s like taking them out into the big ocean?" Moriset said.
Still, there are those who have reserved their judgment.
"The decision to live life on a sailboat traveling the world isn’t one I would make, but neither are a dozen other more adventurous (and risky) ways to raise a family," wrote a blogger at Motherlode. "That doesn’t make them wrong."
Even after their risky rescue, and the threat to their younger daughter's health, the Kaufman family released a statement saying they do not regret their choices.
"When we departed on this journey more than a year ago, we were then and remain today confident that we prepared as well as any sailing crew could," they wrote from aboard a Navy ship that rescued them. "We are proud of our choices and our preparation, and while we are disappointed that we lost our sailboat and our home, we remain grateful for those who came to our aid and those family and friends who continue to encourage and support us.”
Maybe it's a healthy fear of the open ocean, or different views on the needs of children, but a lot of folks on Twitter seem to disagree with the Kaufmans' attitude.
— Paul LaRosa (@paullarosa) April 8, 2014
Think how differently we judge when a poor person makes a decision that endangers a child. Following a passion! http://t.co/wIx14PDCW1
— Tyler Hower (@tylerhower) April 8, 2014
— Fashion Agent (@Fashion__Agent) April 8, 2014
— Fred Chang (@Fred360) April 8, 2014
HUGE difference between the babies enjoying an hour-long sailing trip, and this: http://t.co/YMjMqXRPPE
— Kate Stowell (@JKateStowell) April 8, 2014
Do you think the parents were acting responsibly? Even if it's something you'd never do, do you think it's important to expose small children to new, and possibly dangerous, experiences?