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Friday
Aug282009

Will Laura Dekker Sail Guppy Around the World?

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.

Mike Perham tackled 50ft waves, gale force winds and technical problems during the 45,000-km (28,000-mile) circumnavigation, which took him nine months. via BBC

Thirteen-year-old Laura Dekker, above on Monday with her father at the court house in Utrecht, The Netherlands, wants to be the youngest person ever to sail solo around the world. Valerie Kuypers/European Pressphoto AgencyMost 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, The Associated Press reported.

Earlier this year, Laura was picked up by British social workers when she was discovered sailing alone to the port of Lowestoft. via NYTimes: Setback in Dutch Girl’s Quest for Ambitious Voyage.

Reader Comments (9)

They should let her do it. Why are parents so stupily restrictive of our world's greatest teens? We can't we help these great teens achieve their dreams, and let them go prove themselves? I think it is terrible of the Dutch government to interfer, I am certainly glad I don't live in such a screwed up nation, restricting the dreams of their citizens like this.

December 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLance Winslow

I'm with you, Lance, but I'm not so sure that the Americans would let her go either. Actually, the Dutch are much more permissive generally than America is. Now that I know she's actually got another boat close by traveling with her, I agree they should let her go. She can finish school a year late. This is the transformational dream of a lifetime, and she deserves to get her shot. I suspect she and her father decided to attract some attention to her situation -- but that's only my reading of the tea leaves. And entirely different story may emerge. Now she'll have people like us rooting for her. I will check her out on YouTube.

December 21, 2009 | Registered CommenterAnne

Why it was completely normal for Mike Perham?

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkerryako

Thanks Kerry. We took a formal position in favor of Laura, and was pleasantly surprised when the court ruled quite favorably in this case. At first authorities were acting as if all that mattered was what might happen to her if she went and was too young.

We raised the issue that the court took on. What if Laura's hopes are dashed and she resents this 'protection' for life and never becomes the person she could be? How did the court help her, keeping her from sailing? This is exactly the approach that the court took, surprising everyone. I'm learning that international bloggers are having weight in these cases.

And yes, Kerry, why was it normal for Mike Perham? Different country but good question. Mike Perham did publicly say that she should sail.

Laura could be sailing in as few as three months. She remained in her father's sole custody, must take a first aid class and some additional sailing trips alone. She could be free to set sail even before summer. Anne

We're following her closely and if she sets sail, will follow her entire trip. Anne

January 6, 2010 | Registered CommenterAnne

i find it crazy that she can't go. age restrictions are so cruel. i think she should be able to go. she she is amazing from what i hear.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRose

Che can say she is boy, they will let her go.

April 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterolivia

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