Sick Child's Parents Defend Round-the-World Sail

Kaufmans insist they 'prepared as well as any sailing crew could'

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 7, 2014 7:35 AM CDT

(Newser) – Eric and Charlotte Kaufman, the parents who took their young daughters on what was supposed to be a round-the-world sailing voyage, are defending that decision after their 1-year-old daughter became ill, their boat stalled, and the family had to be rescued by the US Navy. "We understand there are those who question our decision to sail with our family, but please know that this is how our family has lived for seven years, and 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," says the couple in a statement released from the USS Vandegrift, the warship they are aboard en route to San Diego.

Some have criticized the family's voyage, including Charlotte Kaufman's brother, who called the idea "crazy" and "nuts." But the couple insist in the statement they are "proud of our choices and our preparation," NBC San Diego reports, and Charlotte's sister says Eric is a Coast Guard-licensed captain and the couple was traveling "wisely." Their 36-foot sailboat had lost steering and communication abilities and was taking on water by the time the family was rescued, so authorities decided to sink it, the AP reports. As for 1-year-old Lyra, she's now "doing well," the statement reads. It's not clear what was wrong with her. In a blog post last month, Charlotte wrote that she and Lyra had tested positive for salmonella, but Charlotte's sister says Lyra was healthy and had been cleared to travel by doctors before the family set off from Mexico on March 20. The family is expected to arrive in San Diego midweek.

In this photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, sailors from Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Vandegrift (FFG 49) assist in the rescue of a family with a sick infant via the ship's small boat as...   (AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard)
This undated image provided by Sariah English shows the Rebel Heart sailboat.   (AP Photo/Sariah English)
This undated image provided by Sariah English shows Eric and Charlotte Kaufman with their daughters, Lyra, 1, and Cora, 3.   (AP Photo/Sariah English)
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