A collection of stories, press releases and video of teenage solo sailor Laura Dekker.
brainaid Ocean Racing will be doing weather services for Laura Dekker during preparation and her sail around the world.
Guppy is now lying at anchor in a quiet bay near Atuona, and I did the crossing in 17 days and 22 hours! This is the same time I needed to cross the Atlantic Ocean but there were about 800 nautical miles more to go! [1481 kilometres or 921 land miles]. When I sailed into the bay, many of the yacht crews looked very much surprised to see me since they were not expecting me so soon. Some of the yachts that had left two days ahead of me still had not arrived! Yeah, Guppy you are the best! Hiva Oa really is very high, and next to me there is a mountain whose top I cannot even see! That is why it rains a lot over here, so I am very busy now with catching water and cleaning the boat. I did not go ashore yet, it is just odd enough for me now to be looking at land.. But I have to go ashore today since I still have to clear customs.
Documentary on teen sailor’s solo journey in the works
By Judy H. Fitzpatrick
PHILIPSBURG–The public will get a chance to see the ups and downs of the solo journey of Dutch teen sailor Laura Dekker.
Dutch Director Peter Wingender of Screentime and Dutch Producer Pieter van Huijstee of Pieter van Huijstee Film (PHF) have collaborated to produce a documentary of Dekker’s solo sailing journey around the world. If she succeeds Dekker will be the youngest person to complete the feat.
The two were in St. Maarten filming Dekker’s official arrival to St. Maarten as well as capturing other aspects of her stay here.
Wingender told The Daily Herald that the entire two-year project is expected to cost between 300,000 to 400,000 euros and that interest has been expressed by third parties to fund the project.
He said the international documentary will be in Dutch and English (with subtitles) and will be feature length – about 75 or 90 minutes. The goal is to have it premiered in the cinemas and subsequently broadcast on television.
The filming crew arrived in St. Maarten on December 16, two days before Dekker’s arrival on December 18, to prepare for shooting.
He said the crew will be flying to meet with Dekker at key points in her journey for filming. “There could be some damage on the boat and it might be a good idea to travel to her to see what will happen; you never know – it’s a documentary, it’s not a feature film,” he said. “You can think of an end but there can be several possible endings.”
Teen sailor reaches Caribbean
A 15-year-old Dutch sailor has completed the longest leg so far of her attempted circumnavigation of the globe, saying it felt “really weird” to be back on dry land after nearly three weeks out in the ocean.
Fifteen-year-old Laura Dekker is aiming to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world.
She was in good spirits after completing the 2,200 nautical-mile (4,000km) trip from the Cape Verde Islands off West Africa, to the island of St Maarten in the Caribbean.
Dekker anchored her ketch just outside Simpson Bay Lagoon after what she called “a very nice trip” so far.
“It’s really weird. It’s not moving and not bouncy,” she told The Associated Press as she tried to find her land legs while strolling in flip-flops along a sidewalk to the Dutch territory’s immigration office. “I don’t think I can live in a house at the moment.”
update from the middle of the Atlantic
Guppy is still moving along nicely at about 4,5 knots and I think that I will be within land reach in five days – pretty odd after such a long time at sea. I will have to get used to be ashore again because everything about being here became so normal, the movements for example. I think that once ashore I will become immediately seasick, and that walking again on solid ground in the streets will also seem very strange to me. Here the view is of nothing but water, and I regularly wake up after only one hour of sleep.
Laura Dekker – update from the Canary Islands
The Dutch adventurer, who is only 15 years old, is going on boat around the world on her own, and after Gran Canaria she will set off for Cape Verde.
This Wednesday at nine in the morning, Guppy, the 12 meter boat where 15 year old Laura Dekker is going around the world on her own, appeared by the lighthouse of Maspalomas, with Pasito Blanco as destination.
Laura left Marina Rubicó, in Lanzarote, this Tuesday at 11:00 a.m., and 22 hours later she had already tied up her boat in the yacht marina of Pasito Blanco, after having covered around 120 nautical miles. Upon her arrival she was received by Francisco Torres Blanco, director of the port, who secured the Dutch sailor a conformable stay, in the internationally renowned nautical facilities, which have the European blue flag.
Finally nice weather
We are moving ahead and are now crossing into the Bay of Biscay.
Finally the weather is nice and there is sunshine with almost no wind. We have hoisted the
spinnaker and are running at a top speed of 1.9 knots ( haha! ).
The sea is a beautiful blue and I cooked pasta for dad that he found very tasty.
I am also happy about the greetings my grandparents sent me. They tell me that Spot is doing
fine. And I have done all of my schoolwork.
We have now traveled 526 nautical miles and our heading is 190 degrees.
Dutch teenager Laura Dekker sets sail for record bid
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.
DUTCH judges have given the green light for a teenage girl’s bid to become the youngest person to sail around the world solo, rejecting attempts to keep her under state supervision.
“The court rejects the request for the extension of supervision” of child care authorities over 14-year-old Laura Dekker, judge Suzanne Kuypers said in the Middelburg district court in the south of the country.
“The supervision of the child is lifted with immediate effect.”
“I was so happy I almost jumped into the water,” Dekker told reporters at the harbour where her yacht is moored alongside the boat where she lives with her father.
Good Luck Laura
I’ve got a ton of great photos from the past few days! Been to the beach a few times, had a small party for the guys on my team, and got to fly down to San Diego to check out some repairs on a friend of a friend’s boat! It’s been a lot of fun but, I’m sorry to say I don’t have the pictures ready yet, but I will do soon!!
The main reason for this blog today is Laura Dekker. Most of you have probably heard about the young 14 year old Dutch girl that wanted to sail around the world alone. She’s been through a lot lately with the Dutch courts keeping her from going. I heard this morning that they are now allowing her to go.
I admire Laura’s spirit – it would be hard not to for anyone who has followed her story. I’d just like to wish Laura the best of luck and a word of advice from a sixteen year old sailor(though I doubt she needs it) have fun! Live life the best you can. There’s no time like now so take all the opportunities you get.
Court says Dutch teenager Laura Dekker can set sail
Laura Dekker in court, 24 August 2009 Laura Dekker began sailing solo when she was 10 years old
A 14-year-old Dutch girl who wants to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world has won a court’s permission to attempt the voyage.
The court in Middelburg lifted a guardianship order imposed last year, which placed Laura Dekker under the care of child protection services.
Laura must complete the two-year trip before she turns 17 in September 2012 to break the record.
Her mother has dropped her objections to the plan.
The Child Protection Council of Utrecht, in the central Netherlands, asked the Middelburg district court a week earlier than scheduled to extend the girl’s supervision by 12 months, citing fears for her social and emotional development.
Last December, a court ruled that Laura could remain with her father, despite his support for her plan to sail solo round the world.
The Dutch child protection authorities have asked the court to extend the girl’s status, which was set to end on 1 July, shortly after which Laura wanted to begin her attempt. A court in the town of Middelburg has announced that it will consider the case on 14th June and give its ruling at 3.00pm on 17th June.
Since being made a ward of the court to prevent her departure before 1st July, Laura has purchased a Jeanneau Gin Fizz ketch and has been preparing the boat for a departure in late July.
The young sailor, who has already completed one circumnavigation with her parents, was not planning to attempt a non-stop passage, but a cruising circumnavigation, visiting many countries along the way. She was planning to take the ‘warm weather’ route, travelling westwards around the world. This would take her to the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal, north of Australia, south of Africa then north up the Atlantic back to her home port.
While Sunshine Coast teenager Jessica Watson is half way across the Indian Ocean and on the home run, and Californian Abby Sunderland is in the ‘roaring’ 40’s in the Pacific Ocean and heading for Cape Horn, another still younger teenager is preparing for her own circumnavigation.
14-year-old Dutch girl Laura Dekker, forbidden by a children’s court from sailing until 1st July, has purchased a new boat for her own proposed circumnavigation which she has confirmed she plans to commence in July or August. Laura has purchased a Jeanneau Gin Fizz, an older style and fairly inexpensive but highly regarded ketch which she is preparing for her journey. Laura has called the yacht Guppy, like her earlier yacht, and is planning a two-year cruising voyage around the world.
Het is eindelijk eens wat warmer. Gisteren heb ik de verf voor mijn boot besteld, er gaat aardig wat verf op zo’n grote boot zeg. Wel 10 blikken!!! En dat is alleen nog maar de rode verf. Hopelijk kan hij volgende week geschilderd worden, want nu is hij wel een beetje saai,met die geschuurde romp. Binnen ben ik ook al begonnen met schuren,er moet namelijk veel opnieuw gelakt worden. Het is nu echt een enorme rotzooi, maar het moet eerst een rotzooi worden voordat het mooi word. meer
While the Gin Fizz is now out of production, the French-built yacht has a fine reputation as a solid and reliable cruising yacht. Laura’s new boat is 37-foot aft-cockpit fibreglass ketch designed by Philippe Harlé. It was produced from 1974 to 1980.
In the meantime this week Jessica is at 35 South, about 18,000 nautical miles and five months into her journey. She is hoping to reach Sydney by the middle of May, sailing her S&S 34, also a solid, if slow, cruising yacht, which was also chosen by Jesse Martin in his successful non-stop circumnavigation. In her most recent gale she had 15-foot seas and 40 knots of wind. With her feet above her head to wedge herself into her bunk, Jessica was alternating between typing her blog, and studying for her learners’ driving exam when she arrives home.
A determined Dutch teenager who was stopped by welfare authorities from trying to become the youngest person to sail singlehanded around the world has gone missing from her father’s home, police say. Police spokesman Bernhard Jens said relatives in the city of Utrecht had reported Laura Dekker, 14, missing on Saturday (NZT) and authorities in nearby countries had been alerted to her disappearance and asked to monitor airports. Jens added that Dekker’s boat was believed to be moored at its usual place, but she had left her father’s home. “We are concerned because she is 14 years old and she has to come home,” Jens said. Dutch public broadcaster NOS said Dekker had left a letter for her father – whom she lives with – before disappearing, but did not reveal its contents. The broadcaster quoted a family spokeswoman as saying Dekker’s father did not know where she was. more here
Welkom op LauraDekker.nl! Hallo, welkom op de website van Laura Dekker. Laura wil de jongste wereldomzeiler ooit worden. De voorbereidingen zijn in volle gang, want er zijn meer kapers op de kust. Op deze website kun je haar volgen. Laura schrijft in haar weblog wat ze dagelijks meemaakt in de voorbereiding op haar droom. Laura zoekt naar sponsors, maakt samen met haar team haar boot Guppy in orde en rijdt stad en land af op zoek naar de juiste spullen. Tussendoor vindt ze ook nog tijd voor af en toe een wedstrijdje zeilen, waardoor haar prijzenkast al goed gevuld is. Ook vind ze nog tijd voor het uitlaten van haar hond Spot. Lees alles over Laura zelf, haar boot en haar plannen op deze website. Voor sponsormogelijkheden kunt u terecht onder het kopje sponsors. more here on Laura’s website Laura’s blog
Not so solo: 14-year-old’s world sailing tour made into reality TV show If the juvenile court this week allows Laura Dekker to sail around the world, at least she won’t be by herself anymore. According to her lawyer the trip will be made into a reality TV show. By our news staff It could be the ultimate reality TV show: 14-year-old girl sails around the world solo, navigates the islands of Indonesia and the Panama canal, braves the pirate-infested waters off the coast of Somalia, faces rough storms, dead calms, loneliness and physical exhaustion. Her reward: the Guinness world record for becoming the youngest sailor ever to circumvent the planet solo. TV stations have been competing for the rights to Laura Dekker’s story ever since it made headlines last August, when a Dutch juvenile court grounded her just as she was about to set sail in her 8-metre boat. Laura was temporarily placed under the supervision of a youth welfare organisation pending a decision by the juvenile court, which is expected by the end of this week. more here
Photo: Laura Dekker and her father (left) are seen at the court house in Utrecht, The Netherlands, before a second hearing determined she cannot tackle the world in a sailboat by herself–just yet. Credit: EPA/Valerie Kuypers
Laura Dekker Aug 28th, 2009 by NickM. The world record-breaking journey, which had her parents’ approval, would have taken Laura Dekker out of the classroom next week and through some of the world’s most dangerous waters for the next two years. But judges in Utrecht ordered the state child care authorities to take responsibility for the teenager over the next two months while an independent child psychologist assesses her capacity to undertake the risky voyage. Is a child psychologist the right person for that job? I would have suggested an experienced yachtsman. Social workers argued that Miss Dekker was too young to be aware of the dangers of a solo journey and psychologists suggested that two years of isolation on the high seas would damage the young girl’s development. And being taken into care isn’t damaging? Oh and how old was Nelson when he joined as a midshipman? It emerged during the legal proceedings that the teenage girl had been placed in foster care by British police after she sailed single-handed from Holland to Britain in May. Police in Lowestoft and social workers decided that the return journey was too dangerous and placed Miss Dekker in a home until her father came to collect her. Well she made the outbound trip fine. And the return… Dick Dekker, Laura’s father, collected her from the home and defied the authorities by letting her make the sea crossing alone. I despair. I really do. She clearly knows what she is up to at sea. Let her have her great adventure! She’ll probably weep less than Ellen MacArthur on it. more here have your say here
Laura Dekker, 13, must wait before trying to sail around the world alone
August 29, 2009 | 8:40 am As expected, a court in The Netherlands has decided that Laura Dekker, 13, is too young to try to sail around the world by herself. She can continue living with her father, who supported a controversial journey she had planned to begin next week, but under the scrutiny of a social services agency pending another hearing in two months. Most people probably would agree that the court ruled properly. Dekker, despite her vast sailing background, has not fully developed physically or mentally; she cannot be suitably prepared for the types of situations she’d likely face. Or so the thinking goes. Her planned voyage has been criticized by the media from the outset. Dekker was not present during the ruling but in a television interview she said, “All the media are horrible.” This isn’t over yet. There is a mandated psychological review, and the next hearing. Dekker believes she can do this; it has been her dream since she was 6. She and her father have planned a two-year voyage that would not have her at sea for longer than three weeks at a time. Dekker, in all likelihood, will ultimately embark on her quest to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world, and with plenty of time to spare. That record belongs to British sailor Mike Perham, 17, who this week replaced Thousand Oaks sailor Zac Sunderland, also 17, in the record book. Australia’s Jessica Watson, 16, plans to leave in a few weeks on what she hopes will be a nonstop journey; and Zac’s sister Abby Sunderland, who will turn 16 in October, is planning to set sail in November for a nonstop odyssey. Sunderland and Perham, who both left when they were 16, proved up to the task, but both sailors overcame several harrowing situations. Can the girls do what they did, only faster? That will be for Mother Nature to decide. — Pete Thomas more here
Should teen sailor’s plan be scuttled?
Posted: 938 GMT
As 17-year-old Mike Perham from England looks set to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world, a young Dutch girl four years his junior is already setting her sights on eclipsing that record.
However, Laura Dekker, 13, faces a court battle as welfare services in the Netherlands bid to stop her quest.
Laura’s parents support her plans but the Dutch Council for Child Protection believes the trip is too dangerous and wants temporary custody of the teen.
What do you think? Is it irresponsible to allow a child of this age to embark on such a challenge or should her spirit of adventure be supported?
Let us know your thoughts below — and we’ll use them as part of our coverage in the show tonight.
Find out what people have said on the CNN page here
NZ red tape could curb Dutch teen’s adventure
4:00AM Wednesday Aug 26, 2009
By Isaac Davison
A New Zealand-born Dutch teenager who wants to sail around the world could face challenges from child protection and maritime authorities if she plans to launch her vessel here.
Thirteen-year-old Laura Dekker, born on a yacht off the coast of New Zealand, wants to become the youngest person to make the voyage.
She has the support of her seafaring father, but child protection authorities in her Netherlands homeland want to stop her and have applied for temporary custody.
Laura hopes to set sail next month and plans to take two years, resting in ports to avoid bad weather.
“I want simply to learn about the world and to live freely,” she told Dutch television.
The Daily Telegraph reported she has a New Zealand passport, which could allow her to escape the Dutch Council for Child Protection and begin her trip here. But she would have to overcome local regulations before she could set sail.
Child, Youth and Family will not comment while the case is before the Dutch court. But deputy chief executive Ray Smith said he did not think it was sensible for a 13-year-old to sail solo around the world. “I think most people would share that view.”
Laura could also be refused permission to sail by Maritime New Zealand (MNZ), which can stop any vessel from leaving New Zealand under the Maritime Transport Act 1994.
Creating waves for solo sailor
4:00AM Sunday Aug 30, 2009
By Kerre Woodham
Teenager seeks Kiwi home so she can sail away alone
In this day and age, when any attempt to prevent people killing themselves or causing themselves long-term physical harm is slammed as political correctness gone mad, it’s easy to see why Laura Dekker and her dodgy dad have their supporters.
Laura is the 13-year-old from the Netherlands who wants to sail solo around the world, and she has the wholehearted support of her divorced parents.
To be fair, Laura was born on a boat and, according to her parents, she has been sailing since she was 6.
But come on. How much hoisting of mainsails and fastening of mizzens can you do at 6?
The Dutch Council for Child Protection is so alarmed at the plan it has asked a court to grant it temporary custody of Laura so it can prevent the trip taking place.
And why should a barking-mad plan for a 13-year-old to circumnavigate the globe in a 7m yacht interest New Zealanders? Because if the Dutch court does indeed accede to the welfare agency’s request, the Dekkers are coming to New Zealand to claim Laura’s residency.
Laura was born on a yacht in New Zealand coastal waters, and has a New Zealand passport and that, say the Dekkers, gives them the right to set sail from Aotearoa.
However, CYF, the Department of Internal Affairs and Maritime Safety NZ say that, in all probability, they’d stop her setting sail, too. Party poopers.
Solo navigation requirements for vessels departing NZ
26 August 2009
Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) says it would need to be satisfied that a proposed solo round the world voyage by a teenage girl would not put hers or others’ lives at risk, before deciding whether to allow the voyage to go ahead.
Thirteen-year-old Laura Dekker, who has a New Zealand and German passport, recently announced plans to sail solo around the world in an 8m yacht. It is understood Ms Dekker is intending to leave from New Zealand, if Dutch authorities prevent her from leaving from Holland.
Maritime New Zealand Recreational Boating Manager, Jim Lott, said MNZ had powers under the Maritime Transport Act 1994, to detain any vessel from leaving New Zealand waters if the Director believed, on clear grounds, that the vessel was likely to endanger any person or property, or was hazardous to the health or safety of any person.
“While every expedition is different and is judged on it merits, anyone intending to undertake an ‘extreme’ voyage of this magnitude from New Zealand must satisfy strict standards to ensure safety before receiving clearance to depart.”
“While other young people have successfully carried out voyages of this type, there is no question that being alone in a small boat on a large ocean is extremely tough – mentally, physically and emotionally – even for an experienced adult sailor,” said Mr Lott, himself an experienced yachtsman who has sailed internationally.
While there was no age limit under New Zealand maritime law regarding who could carry out a solo voyage, Mr Lott said that the age, skill and experience of the person attempting the voyage would have to be considered by MNZ, along with the seaworthiness of their vessel and other safety factors.
MNZ was aware of concerns raised by the Dutch authorities and would take these into consideration, along with any concerns raised by other New Zealand agencies, he said.
“While we applaud the spirit of anyone attempting a voyage of this type, given the obvious safety issues that this raises, the Director of Maritime New Zealand has a duty to consider the impact of the proposal on the person’s safety – and on the safety of anyone who may be called on to rescue them should something go wrong.”
13 year old Laura Dekker is!
Laura Dekker is a Dutch teen who aspires to sail around the world alone in the 26-foot boat.
The voyage however was blocked by a Dutch court on August 28, 2009, over concerns on how the trip would affect her emotionally and psychologically. The court threatened to remove her from her father’s custody if he allows her to begin the voyage, which was scheduled for September 1, 2009.
1. Born: ca. 1996
2. Birthplace: New Zealand
3. Born while her parents were sailing
4. Spent her first four years sailing
5. Began sailing solo at the age of six
6. Parents divorced
7. Resides with her father Dick Dekker
8. Aspires to sail around the world alone
9. Been planning the round-the-world trip for three years
10. Set to being her voyage on September 1, 2009
11. Trip blocked by a Dutch court
12. Court claims the trip would be too much physically and emotionally for the teen
13. Court also questions how she would complete school work at sea
14. Father could lose custody if he allows her to set sail
15. Previously detained for sailing alone
Court bans teen sailor Laura Dekker from record-breaking voyage
Tom Whipple in Utrecht
Laura Dekker wants to become the youngest person to sail solo round the world
She was born in a boat. She has been a sailor for seven years and she has made a solo crossing of the North Sea. But yesterday a court decided, for now at least, that is as far as she can go. Certainly Laura Dekker, 13, will not be setting off to sail around the world single-handedly just yet.
In an airy courtroom and in front of the world’s press, the Dutch legal system overruled her parents’ consent for the two-year trip. And it was prepared to take temporary custody of the child to enforce the decision….
…..Mr Dekker squeezed past television cameras and journalists to hear the court’s decision — an experience that he described as more gruelling “than a heavy storm in the Atlantic”. Laura was not present. According to her lawyer, she was out sailing.
Later, interviewed on television, she said that she had stayed away deliberately. “All the media are horrible — I was happy not to be there.”
She added that she was pleased the court did not ban her trip outright, but was apprehensive about their imposed conditions. “A child psychologist will be looking over my father’s shoulder and telling people what I’m like,” she said.
Appearing poised and confident, Laura countered criticisms that it would be unhealthy to be alone for that length of time. “The longest stretch I will be at sea is three weeks, and when I stop I will have so much contact with people in different places,” she said. For now, though, her plans are to return to school and await the psychologist’s verdict.
Dutch sailor girl put under care
Laura Dekker was not in the Utrecht court to hear Friday’s ruling, see was out sailing.
A Dutch court has put a 13-year-old girl under state care for two months, stalling her bid to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world.
The decision by three Utrecht judges means Laura Dekker’s parents, who support her plans, temporarily lose the right to make decisions about her.
A child psychologist will now assess her capacity to undertake the voyage.
Miss Dekker says she is happy with the ruling, but she will try to convince the authorities to let her set sail.
“I haven’t had the same upbringing as so many other children,” she told the Dutch television programme, NOS Jeugdjournaal, in her only comments after the ruling.
“Sailing has always played an important role in my upbringing and that’s why I want to do this now,” she added.
Back to school
The seasoned sailor, who lives with her father Dick Dekker, said she would return to classes when school reopens on Monday after the summer break.
I want simply to learn about the world and to live freely.
My classmates may be surprised to see me back at school, but I’m confident that I will set sail one day. I know I can do it,” she told the Jeugdjournaal programme.
Mr Dekker had earlier had a request for her to miss two years of school turned down.
Miss Dekker had planned to spend about two years aboard her 26ft (8m) boat, Guppy, to break the record set this week by a 17-year-old UK boy.
Mike Perham tackled 50ft waves, gale force winds and technical problems during the 28,000 mile (45,000km) circumnavigation, which took him nine months.
more teenage solo sailors here