(Note: our extensive, reader-friendly front page coverage of Laura’s story links back to all the key stories in her journey.)
Laura Dekker’s completion of her around the world sailing journey is not only AOC’s top story today — after all Laura does dominate our front page. Her triumph is our biggest story ever — including beating out Lea T on Oprah and the Andre Pejic interview. (OK, we are an eclectic mix on AOC.)
In total page views, we’ll see over time, but we adore the interest in Laura’s determined journey, a fight and triumph we’ve followed from the beginning.
Fighting the System Yes, But Womanly Justice Prevailed
Yes, Laura broke rules; yes, she and her father fought the Dutch authorities childcare system when they tried to stop the young, very well-trained sailor.
But it was also a panel of three women judges and one man who set Laura free to follow her dream, when many other authorities said she was not only of sound mind and emotional maturity, but capable of making the journey.
For all the frustration with the Dutch childcare authorities, many other Dutch officials helped Laura accomplish this tremendous voyage that will now shape her life. Along the way, we must ask ourselves what is the meaning of education, because I think Laura has received one of the most amazing educations ever in life.
Laura Dekker Sailed Like a Wise Tortoise
Laura Dekker sailed around the world the sane way. She didn’t hit the high seas and barrel headstrong around the world. In the classic fable of the tortoise and the hare, Laura sailed like a tortoise. She stopped along the way to repair her boat, meet with family and work on her education studies.
In a major decision that added miles to her course, Laura Dekker avoided Somalia by dropping further south on the longer but safer route.
We find that Laura sailed as women are inclined to invest. Indeed, AOC is a crazy, intellectual place and I am connecting the dots, believing that Laura Dekker has something to teach the Wall Street boys about investing for the long haul.
Laura Dekker sailed like a tortoise — except when she had strong winds giving her wings of steel — and wiped more than six months off the current unofficial record for youngest sailor. Guinness no longer tracks youngest sailor in an effort to dissuade young people from trying to break the record. Yet Laura’s victory is clear and memorable — not only for youthful determination and following her dream — but also in using patience and strategic planning instead of the proverbial fast track.
I got tears in my eyes, watching the front page video of Laura sailing into St Maarten. This is the vision we want for our young women in a world where the majority of dads don’t view their daughters as having this kind of talent and determination.
We refuse to accept the idea that Dick Dekker is just a publicity seeker, who put his daughter at risk. Laura was born on the high seas in a long journey, as her parents followed their dreams in a sail boat. Laura returned to the world she knows best, and we champion her right to go there in a world that desperately needs positive role models for women/girls and an entrepreneurial spirit.
I’m taking a bit of license here in how we frame Laura Dekker’s AOC message. But I can’t help thinking of the GirlEffect.org video — one that is lamblasted by many social conservatives and misogynist men online as being against God’s will.
In their world, Laura must abide by their rules of her permissible behavior. We had a comment on one of Laura’s early stories saying just that. Empowering the world’s girls is THE preeminent issue of our time and THE cause that AOC obsesses with.
In my world — and in Dick Dekker’s vision of women — Laura is free to soar and develop her full capabilities. We must understand that Laura Dekker represents the greatest threat to this patriarchal vision of the world, in which men are in charge. She joins a long list of women who screw up everything.
We honor Laura Dekker as a tremendous example of our kind of young woman and will follow her in the next phase of her life, as she completes her studies and supports the work of Sea Shepherd in protecting the high seas and the dophins, whales and endangered species who live in our oceans.
We share this passion also, telling me that Laura Dekker and AOC are connected for the long haul. You’ve brought a big smile to our faces, Laura, and tears to our eyes.
Thanks for your bravey, courage and competence. MWAH, MWAH, MWAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love you, love you, love you. Anne