Toddler to Embark on Solo Voyage Around World
Mission Beach, CA – A three-and-a-half-year-old boy will attempt to become the youngest person to complete a solo, non-stop, unassisted circumnavigation in a sailboat. The parents of Spencer Ng announced today that the toddler will depart August 31st in a 15-foot plastic-hulled dinghy, The Elmo.
"For the past 18 months, Spencer's been readying himself for this moment. It means a lot to him, and his passion for sailing is genuine," his father, Vincent, said as he stood dockside watching his son play in a bucket on the tiny sailboat's deck. "He's always loved the water, and he’s a natural sailor. Ever since his first bath, we noticed a fondness for the water and adventure, so this is not unexpected.”
“One time he used his sheets to convert his race car bed into a sailboat,” his father chuckled, “so his instincts are sound. And a child Spencer’s size tends to bob around in rough waters rather than sink. He’s a natural.”
“We have always given Spencer choices,” his mother said as the boy ran a blue crayon across the wallpaper in their dining room. “We put down a toy horse for equestrian camp, an [Brazilian player Ronaldo] action figure for soccer camp, and a toy sailboat for a journey around the world. Spencer took the sailboat without hesitation. He has chosen [the voyage] for himself, and we believe in him."
Sailing and climate experts warn that such a late summer departure increases the dangers of high seas, powerful seasonal Indian Ocean currents, and the height of hurricane season, but the Ngs downplayed the risks. “He’s had an iPhone for a few months and knows how to work the GPS system on it. We’ve also installed the navigational and operations manuals on his LeapFrog, so he’ll be able to access them in an emergency.”
Spencer’s vessel has been stocked with his favorite foods, including a variety of snack cakes provided by the Hostess Bakery, an array of Lay’s products, and microwavable items such as Spaghetti-O’s and other Chef Boy-ar-dee dishes.
When asked about the nutritional merits of a six-month diet absent fresh fruit and vegetables, the Ngs laughed. “We can’t get Spencer to eat his vegetables at home,” Mrs. Ng said. “A few months without them won’t kill him. General Foods donated a case of Fruit Roll-Ups, so that should hold him.”
Public outcry over Spencer's excursion was instantaneous and more forceful than the criticism directed at sixteen-year-old Abby Sunderland’s aborted voyage and the latest young voyager, 14-year-old Laura Dekker, who boarded her red twin-masted ketch earlier this week for a similar trip.
The protests were met with shrugs from both parents. “Kids grow up faster these days, and we’re looking at a different kind of revenue stream to finance Spencer’s college education. He’s precocious, and we believe in letting him make his own mistakes. And he’s got the spirit of an adventurer. Any parent would be proud,” she said as the child shrieked “Dora! Dora!” from the adjoining nursery while swinging the family pug around his head by the tail. “See?” his mother said, beaming.
Spencer’s boat is equipped with a toy walkie-talkie, a Maglite, and an Easy Bake Oven. “He’s pretty resourceful,” his mother said. "He's learned that peanut butter and bread taste good together, and you should never drink motor oil or eat plastic. I'm really impressed with his maturity," she added as the boy ran naked and screaming from room to room squeezing a bottle of mustard onto the family’s white carpet.
The New York Post reported that Spencer’s parents have signed a deal with Nick, Jr. for a television show about his family called It’s All About Spencer, and quoted Mr. Ng as saying, "We shopped it around and Viacom offered the best platform for Spencer’s trip. And he’s keeping a crayon and Magic Marker journal, which will be published by Harper Collins next spring.”
Offers of an ESPN nightly update, a coloring-and-activity book deal, energy drink endorsements, and a Hallmark Holiday Special (to star the young adopted Malaysian child of an as-yet-unnamed celebrity) all entered into the Ngs’ decision to allow Spencer to traverse four oceans and round the perilous currents of Cape Horn.
“People can’t get past seeing Spencer as a child,” Mr. Ng said, attempting to corral the boy for a picture, “but we see him as a brand.”