Solo Sailing Update: Laura Dekker’s Fate To Be Decided Next Week

Laura Dekker 13 on her sa 001

14-year old Laura Dekker’s plans to sail solo around the world received both good and bad news this week, as the courts in the Netherlands have announced that they’ll decide her fate next Tuesday, July 27th. If they rule in her favor, she could potentially set sail immediately on her voyage.

Laura did receive permission from one very important person to being the journey – her mom! Laura’s mother, who is divorced from her father, has  been a bit hesitant to allow her daughter to sail at times in the past, but she has now given her blessings, saying “Of course no mother on earth likes it if her daughter goes to sea alone. I will have sleepless nights from the worry, but this is about Laura and how I can help her.”

Meanwhile, the authorities who will actually decide whether or not she can set sail are divided on their opinions. Social works that have been working directly with the family are now asking the courts to allow Laura to go on her adventure, but the national child protective services department disagrees and they feel she shouldn’t be allowed to sail for at least a year. Which one of the two sides will prevail remains to be seen, and the decision sits in the hands of the judges who will handing down their ruling next Tuesday. 

Laura has taken advantage of her delays to develop her first aid skills, register for distance learning classes so she can continue her education, and worked on her ability to solo sail for longer distances while staying awake and attentive. All skills that will serve her well on this voyage if she is allowed to go.
So? What are your thoughts? The current record for youngest to sail around the world is Jessica Watson of course, who finished up in May and completed the journey a few days shy of her 17th birthday. Should a 14 year old be allowed to chase that record now?
Kraig Becker

10 thoughts on “Solo Sailing Update: Laura Dekker’s Fate To Be Decided Next Week”

  1. Laura isn't going for the same record as Jessica's, which is the youngest solo non-stop unassisted – a record which had lasted for 11 years (previous holder – Jesse Martin,18 years old, 1999) Laura is planning on sailing port to port, sailing in company with one or more other yachts, and via the Panama (and probably Suez) Canal rather than the Great Capes – rather more akin to Zac Sunderlands trip – except I expect she wont be flying home for Christmas, and she is a better sailor! Due to the nature of Laura's proposed voyage, the longest she will be solo sailing is likely to be 3 – 4 weeks at a time (not 210 days as in Jessica's case) and she will have adult family supervision and assistance in all points of call – a very achievable plan. For this reason I believe Laura should be allowed to go this year rather than being held back for a year.

  2. Wow! Thanks for the clarification. I haven't seen these distinctions anywhere else, but they definitely make a bit of a difference on her trip.

    Do you have a link to the details on these?

  3. I can not find any record anywhere of the details that Anonymous posted. I am sure if that post is correct then I would be able to find it on the internet.
    Anonymous…. Could you please post where you found this information?

    3-4 weeks sailing alone for a 14 year old is way to long, IMHO. She is physically and emotionally still a child for goodness sakes!!

  4. She should be allowed to sail, her parents are allowing her to go so why prevent her. It should not even be a matter to fret about, the kid has more gumption than ninety percent of her overweight critics.
    Bon voyage and enjoy your life, we live to dream and dream to do something other than what we are presently doing, let her live her dream.

  5. Mike.. Thanks for the link to Laura's blog. I did not know it existed. I do still feel that if someone is going to state facts then they need to back it up with the proof.

    Anonymous.. You sound like you might just be Laura or a family member, just saying.

  6. Though I understand the desire to be independent at this age, psychologically she is not ready for this, she is not that different than other 14 year old. Her brain is still growing! I would not doubt that there is some adult or film maker wanting to make a buck off of her pushing her to do this.

  7. I hope the young lady and her promoters are aware of the fact that they choose to cross the Atlantic at the PEAK of the Atlantic Hurricane Season. Not even cruise ships would go to the Caribbean this time of the year.
    Best of luck! It will be needed.

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