Remember Laura Dekker? She is the 13-year old (now 14) girl who wanted sail solo around the world a few months back, but had the Dutch government step in to prevent her attempt. At the time, she was placed in temporary custody of child protective services while her case was reviewed further, and today, a judge further ruled on the affair.
According to this story over at the Guardian, Laura has been ordered to remain under the supervision of child protection authorities until next July, when her case will come up for review once again. It is quite possible that at that time, they’ll rule that she is indeed ready to take on the high seas, and she will be allowed to go and make her bid for the youngest person to ever sail solo around the world.
There is no doubt that Laura is an accomplished sailor. Both of her parents have sailed for years, and she grew up on a boat while they sailed the globe. But her mother and father are currently separated, and while dad is happily encouraging her to go on this adventure, mom has raised fears about allowing the young girl to travel solo.
I’ve weighed in on this topic a few times already, and I’ve always said that she’s too young for this journey, no matter what her skill level. I have no doubt that she is technically fit to make the trip, but there are other factors to consider as well. In an earlier post on the topic a commenter said that she clearly has the skills to circumnavigate the planet and should be allowed to go, but I still believe now what I wrote then. I know plenty of 14 year olds that can technically drive a car, but that doesn’t mean I’d let them go on a cross country road trip by themselves. This would be potentially far more dangerous than that.
I applaud the court for stepping in and preventing her from going. Something has to be done about these extremely young people going after records for accomplishing a given task just so they can be the youngest to do so.
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