14-year-old departs for staging point of solo voyage

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On the heels of 16-year-old Abby Sunderland’s June dismasting and rescue in the Indian Ocean, Laura Dekker and her father sailed out of Amsterdam Wednesday and were bound for Portugal, where the 14-year-old Dutch sailor plans to begin her attempt to become the youngest solo circumnavigator.

Last week, a court released Dekker from the guardianship of Dutch child protection services, which had blocked her initial plan to depart at age 13 over fears for her safety and psychological health during the trip.

Dekker plans to put in at ports along the way to meet up with family, rest, reprovision and make repairs, according to an Associated Press report. She may also return home to catch up on her studies, if necessary, and resume her trip at a later time.

She is sailing a 38-foot Jeanneau Gin Fizz ketch that she has named Guppy.

Click here for the full report.


4 comments on “14-year-old departs for staging point of solo voyage

  1. Jim Parkes

    Sorry… This is about as stupid as it gets. Reminds me of those animals who strap explsives to 18 year olds and tell them to go for the glory.

  2. Mike Smith

    Rumor has it a pregnant woman is preparing a Mini 6.5 for a circumnavigation — for her newborn. The woman, we think from a village in southern France, is planning on delivering her baby onboard the boat, luffing in the English Channel, then being whisked ashore by a waiting tender. The child, sex yet to be determined, will then set out on his/her circumnavigation.
    The infant will learn piloting, navigation and boathandling via a 24/7 link to educational TV and websites. Mothers throughout France have been donating breast milk that will be flash-frozen and stowed aboard the small boat. With luck, the circumnavigation will be completed before the child starts eating solid food. However, for emergencies a few cases of Gerber baby food are stowed in the forepeak.
    Experts think this voyage, if successful, will put an end to the race to be the youngest circumnavigator — although it depends on how quickly the child can make it back to the starting point. Maybe next year another newborn will attempt the feat on a retired Whitbread boat.

  3. edward mc carthy

    Its my intent to say, “NO COMMENT ON ANY OF THE ABOVE”, except my intent may be mistaken. Edward the sailmaker.

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