July 31, 2010
Teen sailor Laura Dekker says she will leave the Netherlands on Wednesday in her quest to become the youngest to circumnavigate the globe alone. But it won’t yet be the first leg of the 14-year-old’s solo voyage.
Laura said on her blog Saturday she will sail with her father to Portugal, and will begin her round-the-world venture from there later. She said she did not know when that would be.
Laura won a prolonged battle last Tuesday when a court released her from the guardianship of Dutch child protection agencies that had blocked her attempts to leave last year when she was still 13. The authorities said being alone and absent from school for so long would be harmful for her education and psychological development.
On her blog, Laura posted a picture of the schoolbooks she is taking, packed snugly in a wooden rack.
She planned to set out at 9 a.m. (0700GMT) in her 38-foot (11.5-meter) yacht Guppy from the southern Dutch harbor of Den Osse with her father Dick Dekker, who has supported Laura’s ambitions to enter the record book as the world’s youngest round-the-world sailor.
The family court in nearby Middelburg ruled that Laura’s preparations appeared adequate and it was up to her parents to decide whether to let her make the attempt. Her mother, Babs Mueller, who is separated from her father, recently withdrew her opposition.
“It’s great that I can now officially say it will happen on Wednesday,” she wrote.
In an earlier blog posting, Laura wrote that she and her father would sail together to Portugal to make final adjustments and safety checks aboard the red twin-masted ketch.
Laura, who was born on a yacht off the coast of New Zealand, has been whittling away at the objections to her unassisted voyage since the authorities stepped in last year. She got a bigger, sturdier sailboat, took courses in first aid and learned to suture her own wounds, and practiced coping with sleep deprivation. She made at least one solo trip across the North Sea to England.
But her plans and legal wrangles have contributed to a global debate over the wisdom of allowing ever-younger sailors to take on the risks of sailing the high seas alone.
Concerns were heightened in June when American teen Abby Sunderland had to be rescued in the Indian Ocean. A wave snapped the mast off her yacht and left her helpless until she was eventually rescued by a French fishing boat more than 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) west of Australia.
Laura is trying to beat the record set last May by Australian Jessica Watson, who was 16 years old when she completed a 210-day voyage on her 34-foot (10-meter) yacht, Ella’s Pink Lady, around the world. Watson says she has just completed a book on her experience.
Watson remained at sea nonstop for her trip around the globe, but Laura plans to stop at several ports along the way where she can meet family and rest.
Laura Dekker was born on September 20th, 1995 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laura_Dekker
9 +20 +2+0+0+9 = 40 = her personal year (from September 20th, 2009 to September 19th, 2010)
40 year + 7 (July) = 47 = her personal month (from July 20th, 2010 to August 19th, 2010) = Famous. Name & fame. Notoriety. Name recognition. (Inter)nationally known. High profile. VIP. Well-known. Household name. Public life. Limelight. Legendary. Notable. Noteworthy.
|Friday, August 06, 2010|
World’s Youngest Sailor Sets Sail Under the Sea Shepherd Flag
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Founder and President, Captain Paul Watson, along with Laurens de Groot, had a unique conversation around midnight on August 3, 2010 while driving north on Highway 405 from San Clemente to Los Angeles, California. It was early morning in the small Dutch harbor of Den Ostse in the Netherlands when Captain Watson called Laura Dekker—a 14-year-old sailor from the Netherlands—just as she was setting out with her 38-foot sailing yacht Guppy to begin her quest to be the youngest sailor to circumnavigate the globe solo.
Dekker was born on her parent’s sailing yacht off the coast of New Zealand. She has already crossed the North Sea solo at the age of thirteen. Two months ago, Dekker met with Sea Shepherd Netherlands Director Geert Vons and Laurens de Groot in the Sea Shepherd Amsterdam office. She asked if she could fly the Sea Shepherd flag and promote the efforts of Sea Shepherd during her voyage.
Vons, de Groot, and everyone else within Sea Shepherd Netherlands and Sea Shepherd International were immediately enthusiastic.
“I have always said that people should be willing to live their dreams and to be undeterred from pursuing their objectives,” said Captain Watson. “Laura fought the Dutch authorities in court and won. She was not going to let them tell her she could not follow her dreams. Sea Shepherd has always stood for the power of the individual to make a difference, to challenge the odds, and to boldly go where others have feared to venture.”
Dekker will initially sail to Portugal with her father and begin her solo voyage from there. Her first stop will be in the Canary Islands. She is also expected to stop in the Galapagos Islands, where Sea Shepherd Ecuador will organize a warm welcome for her.
Over 100 well-wishers gathered at the dockside of the southern Dutch harbour of Den Osse to wave goodbye to Dekker and her father. It was only last week, that Dekker won a bitter legal fight to overturn a child protection order that had placed her under the guardianship of social workers to stop her setting sail last year when she was thirteen. She has become a Dutch folk hero after rejecting, with parental support, claims by the child protection authorities that the long sea voyage would be too dangerous and damage her “emotional development.”
The teenager has also shrugged off warnings from NATO commanders about piracy off the Horn of Africa and hoisted the black Jolly Roger flag of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as she set sail.
“The oceans are in trouble, and the community that is best suited to defend biodiversity and marine habitats are the surfers, the scuba divers, the swimmers, and the sailors.” said Captain Watson. “I believe Laura will be a future leader in ocean conservation and this voyage will present her with the greatest educational experience possible—an intimate and thorough acquaintance with the sea and all her beauty, mystery, and challenges.”
“Bon voyage and behouden vaart, Laura,” added Captain Watson, “from the crew of all Sea Shepherd ships, as well as our directors, staff, volunteers and members.”