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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

Olivia, I checked on Laura last weekend. She's will be sailing in July, I believe. We'll write about her again soon. She just bought a boat with an excellent pedigree and history.

We must organize a big fan club for her, after what she's been through. I believe she could be gone two years, but of course, she will be in contact. Anne

April 17, 2010 | Registered CommenterAnne

I was so upset when I originally heard of this that I wrote this article;

Laura Dekker is a famous gal, who wanted to sail around the world - nothing wrong with that, except for her age says the Dutch Government. Sounds like age discrimination to me, as she is only 14 years old. But I say; so what? She has the skill, the drive, the ambition, and her parents feel she has the sea-womanship to go for it, so why not? Personally, I started my first real company at age 12, I know at the time I was qualified to do this, so I am certain that Laura Dekker feels the same.

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.

I am not pleased with this ban on Laura Dekker. I know she can do it, let her prove it to herself and all of us. Then let's celebrate her strength of character, perseverance and character. Laura, I am sorry that some adults don't understand, but I do, and I know you can do anything you put your mind to in this world, so don't let this barrier determine your future, you will go onto to do other great things, be sure of that.

A sixteen year old girl from Australia recently completed the trip of sailing around the world in a 34-footer alone, and it's not fair to allow that record to stand while Laura Dekker is now capable of beating it. I like strength of character and believe we are sending the wrong message to our up and coming superstars if we will not allow them to take risks and accomplish great things. Let her succeed, let her go for it.


And, I'd like everyone to consider this now that the Dutch Government has granted her "permission" to go and succeed.

July 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLance Winslow

im a Muslim and i'm proud of it! According to Islam girls cannot travel alone to lonely places.Dutch Muslims should have protest against her travel.The father of this girl should be headed for his mistake!allah akhbar!

August 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermohamad islam

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