Laura Dekker Youngest Sailor to Sail Around the World | Here's to Girl Power and Following Big Dreams
AOC celebrates Laura Dekker’s triumphant solo sailing voyage around the world. The Dutch sailor who is now flying with a New Zealand flag, instead of the Dutch flab under which she departed, has sailed into port in Philipsburg. Laura completed the final stint from Cape Town, South Africa to the Caribbean island of St Maarten, where she set sail in 2010.
Bravo Laura Dekker!
A small fleet of fellow sailors greeted her for the final miles of her record-breaking journey as the youngest person to complete the voyage. Her grandparents, divorced parents and younger sister Kim were also waiting for her in St Maarten.
The St. Maarten Yacht Club, the St. Maarten Marine Trades Association (SMMTA), the St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) and the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau worked together to celebrate Dekker’s return reports Anguilla News.
Dekker tied-up Guppy at the dock at the St. Maarten Yacht Club from where she started her solo circumnavigation almost exactly a year ago. She has a slip at the Simpson Bay Marina compliments of Island Global Yachting (IGY) while she stays in St. Maarten. IGY also donated a slip while she was in St. Maarten before.
The determined, defiant sailor will cut six months off the unofficial record set in 2010 by Australia’s Jessica Watson, who was almost 17 when she completed her own non-stop voyage.
AP reports that one of Dekker’s fans, 10-year-old Jody Bell of Connecticut and her mom Deena Merlen, an attorney in Manhattan, were waiting in the crowd wearing t-shirts that read: “Guppy rocks my world.”
“My daughter and I have been following Laura’s story, and we think it’s amazing and inspiring,” Merlen said.
In an effort to discourage increasingly younger sailors like Laura, Guinness World Records and the World Sailing Speed Record Council have decided they will no longer recognize records for “youngest” sailors.
The teenager covered more than 27,000 nautical miles on a trip with stops that included: the Canary Islands, Panama, the Galapagos Islands, Tonga, Fiji, Bora Bora, Australia, South Africa and back again to St. Maarten, from which she set out on Jan. 20, 2011.
Defiant about making this journey in spite of Dutch authorities who tried to prevent it with a series of drastic measures, including making her a temporary ward of the state, Laura says there is a high probability that she won’t return to The Netherlands.
AOC has championed Laura Dekker’s case from the very beginning and we truly have tears in our eyes to see this determined young woman achieve her goal. To all our young women readers, Laura is an especially great inspiration and role model. In these articles, we tracked Laura’s difficult path to sailing around the world.
Laura Dekker Arriving in Saint Maarten
Winning Woman Laura Dekker
Defiant about making this journey in spite of Dutch authorities who tried to prevent it with a series of drastic measures, including making her a temporary ward of the state, Laura says there is a high probability that she won’t return to The Netherlands. Rerouting herself back to St. Maarten, rather than the Netherlands, there is some concern that Laura could be arrested for reasons so inane, we’re not publishing them.
In her last blog posting as she crosses the Atlantic headed for her finish line, Laura complains of her “intimidating, frightening and traumatic” treatment.
“From the moment my plans became public, youth care and other government organisations tried to stop me. They asked the judge to take me away from my father and to lock me up in a secure clinic! By doing this they tried to stop me from sailing,” she wrote.
“Over a period of 11 months, I was constantly afraid that youth care would lock me up.”
“Because of my past experience with the Dutch government organisations, I have the feeling that it will be very difficult for me to return to the Netherlands,” Laura signed off in her last blog post.
“I am sorry if I disappoint my Dutch fans. What a party it would have been if Hoek van Holland had been my port of arrival. Who knows, it might still happen one day.”
Jan. 4, 2012 Laura is halfway across the Atlantic on choppy seas, in the home stretch of her global journey. When I checked on our favorite sailor before Christmas, there seemed to be no doubt that she will achieve her goals of sailing Gup (the boat has grown up from Guppy in this journey) around the world. Laura DID TAKE the long route, avoiding a potential kidnapping in Somalia, and we are all so thankful.
I wrote on my Facebook wall that I can’t imagine the positive psychological state she enjoys, knowing that at such a young age, she is within range of achieving a phenomenal goal of independence, achievment and pursuing her dreams.
May 28, 2011 Laura has arrived in French Polynesia, crossing the Pacific, alone in Guppy, in the same time she crossed the Atlantic. The distance is 800 miles further, she writes in her blog.
Laura Dekker Expected To Reach St. Maarten Dec 20, 2010 Dec. 14, 2010
Everyone is wondering how I could make the crossing within 17 days and 22 hours. Except for a big 66-feet yacht, I could not yet find another boat that did the crossing faster than Guppy. And during conversations the question is often raised about how I managed to be that fast. Mostly they conclude that I must have been towed by a whale - or that I am the “Flying DutchGIRL”.. Unfortunately being so fast did not prevent Guppy from collecting underwater growth on her hull on the way over here. And so I spent half of my day today under Guppy once again, armed with diving goggles and a scraper.
Dutch sailor Laura Dekker is now sailing across the Atlantic, located about 750 nautical miles ([1389 kilometres; 863 land miles] from St. Maarten. Laura expects to arrive in St. Maarten around December 20th.
The winds are calm today and Laura writes that she has become excellent at doing nothing and enjoys her meditations. Lara finally found her Trade Winds around Dec 7th, bumping up her speed to 6-7 knots from 5.
An interesting story is emerging about Laura Dekker’s approach to sailing around the world.
Perhaps like a woman investor, Laura is making her journey in dedicated small steps, often stopping for weeks in a location, waiting for better weather. Her youthful wisdom reminds us of the tortoise and hare story.
In the same way, women seek long-term profits Laura Dekker is focused on her long-term goal of being the youngest person to sail alone around the world. Laura and her sailing-research posse led by her father are very strategic about her journey, helping to explain Laura’s panic that the Dutch courts wouldn’t release her from custody.
Women Judges Set Laura Free
Watching the video, it appears that a predominantly female court consisting of three women and one man released Laura Dekker to follow her dreams.
Dutch sailor Laura Dekker’s voyage around the world in her 38-ft yacht Guppy could begin in two weeks from Portugal, where she will test her two-masted yacht before formally embarking on her voyage.
“I was so happy I almost jumped into the water,” Dekker told reporters at the harbor where her yacht is moored alongside the boat where she lives with her father. via CBS News
The Dutch court ruled yesterday on a request from the government’s umbrella childcare agency, the Council for Child Protection, to extend the guardianship order for another year to prevent Dekker from setting sail.
Even the youth protection group looking after Dekker’s education and preparation had disagreed with the Council and said she was ready to sail. Some reports allude to the possibility of an appeal, but ” child care council spokesman Richard Bakker confirms there will be no appeal to the decision.
If Dekker succeeds in completing her voyage before Sept. 20, 2012, she would beat 16-year-old Australian Jessica Watson in becoming the youngest to sail solo around the world. Dekker currently plans to complete her four days ahead of her 17th birthday.
Dec. 24, 2009 A court in Utrecht ruled that Laura can remain withher father. In another positive move for Dekker, she may set sail in just three months’ time. The court has ruled that Laura must follow a first aid course and go on several practice runs ahead of her round-the-world journey.
Laura Dekker Returned to Netherlands Under Police Escort Dec. 23. 2009
A Dutch court will decide whether or not to strip custody from Laura Dekker’s father, Dick Dekker, who supports her plan to sail alone around the world.
It seems to me that the court must look at the psychological damage to Laura Dekker if she DOESN’T set sail. Theoretically, an overprotective court will harm her permanently, by not allowing her to sail. The protective mindset cannot be undone, because her age clock is ticking.
Laura Dekker is determined to make this trip. I have no doubt that if the court takes full control of her life that they could injure her forever. Laura already bears intense resentment to the authorities… .
Until I discover potential damaging information about Laura’s dream, beyond her being allegedly young and missing school for a year, I’m joining the blossoming international club saying :
Let Laura Dekker Go!!!
Laura Dekker Insists She Will Sail
Dekker is determined to be the youngest person to circumnavigate the world alone in a boat. Laura has been in the legal custody of the Netherlands, but living with her father, in an attempt to control her efforts to sail at such a young age.
She seemed to accept the court’s deferral of her journey, saying that it would give her eight additional months to train properly. It should be noted that while Laura Dekker — and others like her — sail ‘alone’, we shouldn’t have visions of the young woman alone on the sea for months on end without supervision.
Dekker would be followed from port to port by another, faster yacht, that overtakes her during each leg of her voyage and is waiting for her as she arrives in port.
Laura Dekker Is Safe In St. Maarten Dec. 21, 2009
Laura Dekker is safe. St. Maarten police spokesman Ricardo Henson confirmed that the 14 year-old Dekker is on the island and efforts are underway to get her back to the Netherlands… .
In October a Netherlands court refused to grant the young sailor born on a yacht in New Zealand waters the right to embark on her trip to sale alone around the world. Her father backed the mission; her mother thought she was too young.
Judge Mirjam Oostendorp said that an investigation showed that Laura appeared emotionally, intellectually and physically fit for the challenge, Besides the physical hazards of sailing alone in physically challenging waters, experts ruled that Laura’s psychological development was not sufficient for her to be alone for so long.
The court in Utrecht ruled that Laura was under state supervision, but living with her father, until the end of her school year in July 2010.
Will Laura Dekker Sail Guppy Around the World? Aug. 28, 2009
A Dutch court put 13-year-old Laura Dekker under temporary supervision for two months, while social workers assess whether her father’s decision to let her sail around the world alone on her 26-foot boat Guppy puts her at enormous physical, emotional and psychological risk.
Laura’s proposed journey would make her the youngest sailor to circle the world in a sailboat. Dekker is determined to beat the record set in August by a 17-year-old UK boy.
Most child-development experts are opposed to Laura Dekker’s desire to be alone for two years at this stage of her life. The young woman said on a Dutch children’s news show this month that she had been sailing solo since age six and had been plotting her global voyage for three years. “I asked my parents if I could — please — start now,” she said.
Earlier this year, Laura was picked up by British social workers when she was discovered sailing alone to the port of Lowestoft.
From reader Lance Winslow
“Everyone should support her in her efforts, let her go for it. This is absolutely unfortunate. The Dutch Government should not stand in the way of dreams. We must support our future superstars, this would be the journey and achievement of a lifetime, no one has the right to take that away! No one, and certainly no government. She has the skill, ability, backing, and preparation. She can do it, she knows it, her parents know it, and I believe it is her destiny to achieve greatness.”
“The dream of a lifetime, and her dreams are dashed by lawyers and courts set up by the bureaucracy. What a statement of humanity, what a horrible statement about our future superstars, we must believe in them, and let them excel, we must have the faith and self-esteem in ourselves and not judge our abilities or lack thereof and vicariously apply them onto the strongest and best young folks amongst us.”