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Laura Dekker Sets Sail

August 5, 2010 permalink

Laura Dekker
Laura Dekker, 14, waves goodbye as she leaves the harbor in Den Osse on August 4, 2010.

Laura Dekker, age 14, has left port in Holland to begin her attempt to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world. The actual solo trip will begin in Portugal. The biggest obstacle was not the Pacific Ocean, but the Dutch child protection system. It took her a year to get free of it. Here is previous reporting on Laura (August 2009 to July 2010) and her own website: de Jongste solozeiler ter wereld!



Dutch teenager Laura Dekker sets sail for record bid

Laura Dekker
Laura Dekker on her boat, Guppy, in the harbour of Brouwershaven on July 27, 2010. Laura Dekker was born on a yacht and began sailing solo when she was 10

A Dutch teenager hoping to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world has set sail for Portugal, where she will begin her effort.

Laura Dekker, 14, was granted permission to attempt her voyage by a court ruling last week.

Dozens gathered in her home harbour of Den Osse to wave off Laura and her father Dick Dekker, who is accompanying her to Portugal.

"We want to be sure that the boat is completely ready," he said.

'Not really afraid'

Ms Dekker is planning to spend about two years aboard Guppy, her 8m (26ft) boat, to break the record set in May by Jessica Watson, 16, of Australia.

She must complete the trip before she turns 17 in September 2012 to break the record.

"I am not really afraid," she told reporters on the docks at Den Osse, where she lives on a boat with her father.

Asked what she would miss most, she replied: "Spot", her dog.

Ms Dekker had been under state supervision since October after a court in Utrecht placed a guardianship order, citing fears for her social and emotional development.

But the order was lifted last week by a court in Middelburg.

Her mother had expressed concerns about the solo voyage, but has since lifted her objections.

Ms Dekker was born on a yacht off the coast of New Zealand during a seven-year world trip.

Source: BBC