Dublin: 16 °C Monday 29 May, 2023
# Going Solo
14 year old's solo world sailing bid
Dutch authorities are torn about whether to allow Laura Dekker to undertake the two year voyage.

AFTER BEING DENIED permission to sail solo around the world last year by the Dutch authorities, 14-year-old Laura Dekker has renewed her bid.

Dekker is attempting to break a world record by becoming the youngest person to sail around the world solo and unassisted.

She will need to complete the worldwide trip before 20 September, 2012 – when she turns 17 – to break the record.

Her bid was denied last year, but the court did outline certain areas where she could make progress if she was determined to complete the journey. Dekker’s lawyer said that she has now carried out all the court requests and that she should be permitted to make the trip.

Dekker has:

  • Had  her sailing plans approved by an independent sailing expert
  • Obtained a first aid diploma
  • Registered with a distance education facility so she can to continue her education while at sea
  • Gained solo sailing experience
  • Learned sleep management techniques

City council social workers have requested that Dekker’s care order to be lifted so she can start her trip. However,  the national child protection council wants the court to Dekker extend state supervision for another year.

Despite her mother opposing the plans at first, both Dekker’s parents now support her wish to sail solo. Last weekend her mother wrote an open letter to the authorities pleading with them to grant her daughter’s wishes, and added the the child protection agencies are “criminal organisations”  that wanted to break her daughter’s spirit.

Last month 16-year-old Abby Sunderland, who was attempting a solo round the world mission, had to be rescued after she got into difficulty in the Indian Ocean.