Doomed to fail? Of course it was! To the determined youngster's credit, she made it as far as Cape Town, South Africa this time before the need for repairs forced her to stop. Still undeterred, she decided to continue her journey unassisted even if she wouldn't be able to say it was completed without stopping, because that's still a pretty cool thing to be able to say you did as a teen.
Here's the thing, though, it's not the public's responsibility to make sure teens get to do cool shit. So when Abby Sunderland finally failed in a more catastrophic, "stranded in the Indian Ocean" kind of way, why was it the public's responsibility to see to it that she was rescued?
Before you get your pitchforks out, please understand, I'm not saying she shouldn't have been helped at all. Of course you send someone out to save her, she's still technically a kid. I am, however, saying that's why you save her. It's not her fault her parents don't give a shit if she dies in the ocean. If you're an adult who willingly puts yourself in the path of danger just to accomplish some worthless goal, though, I'm less sold on the idea that you deserve public intervention. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but nobody asked you to sail around the world, buddy. We haven't needed your kind of services since spices were hard to come by.
At the very least, you should be required to reimburse whatever taxpayer money goes into saving your ass. That's what bothered so many people about the Abby Sunderland fiasco. It's estimated that between $200,000 - $300,000 went into the rescue efforts, and her family offered to pay back not a single dime. That's a problem. If you have the money to build a boat that you even think is capable of traveling around the globe without stopping, you have the $200,000 to pay for your rescue efforts when you fail.