Fourteen Year Old Dutch Sets Sail on Solo World Trip

August 4th, 2010 - 10:59 pm ICT by Angela Kaye Mason  

Laura Dekker Aug 4 (THAINDIAN NEWS) A very young Dutch sailor, Laura Dekker has set sail towards her goal of being the youngest person to ever sail around the world alone, after winning a year long battle with child welfare authorities who were concerned about her making the solo mission at such a young age.

The fourteen year old says that the thought of making the voyage does not frighten her. She left the port of Den Osse in the southwestern part of the Netherlands within days if winning the court battle which allowed her to go it alone. “I’m not really afraid,” the tiny blonde child stated, while smiling to the cameras, “I am very happy,” she added from behind the wheel of the eleven and a half meter ketch Guppy.

She is headed first to Portugal, which will be a two or three week trip, accompanied by her dad, which is for a test cruise just to be sure everything is working smoothly before she sets out on her own. Her official solo part of the cruise will be “in about three of four week’s time.”

“We want to be sure the boat is ready,” the young girl explained, wearing blue jeans and a black pirate t shirt. There were dozens of friends, family and journalists present to see her off on her trip, and a flotilla of smaller boats followed them out of the harbour.

Dekker will be 17 on September 20,2012, which gives her a little more than two years to complete her trip in order to be the world’s youngest sailor to circumnavigate the globe. She said that she is going to “try my best” to break the record which was set in May by Australian Jessica Watson, who finished her trip a few days before turning 17.

Many are praying that she doesn’t suffer a similar or worse fate to Abby Sunderland, the 16 year old who went missing while attempting to sail around the world alone last June. Abby’s boat capsized in the Indian Ocean and she had to be rescued after a terrifyingly long amount of time by a French fishing boat.

“I love sailing,” Dekker said. “I want to see the world and it would be great to become the youngest” person ever to circumnavigate.

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