Solo Sailing Update: Laura Dekker Prepares For Panama Canal

It has been a few months since we last checked in on Laura Dekker, the 15-year old Dutch girl who is attempting to sail solo around the world. Back in December, she had just completed her crossing of the Atlantic and was enjoying the Caribbean Islands, which she planned to leisurely explore while she waited out the storm season. With that behind her, she’s now on track to navigate the next treacherous leg of the journey – the Panama Canal.

Laura arrived in Panama last week, and has been taking her time in her preparations to sail through the canal, which can be a challenging experience for a sailor in a boat as small as her 38 foot Guppy. While that boat is nothing to sneeze at, she’ll be out in the water with some huge cargo vessels making their way between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and the increased traffic, in such a relatively confined area, could be a cause for concern.

Fortunately, Laura plans to travel through the canal as part of the crew of another boat first, which will help her to get some knowledge of what she’ll be dealing with when she does it on her own in a few weeks time. She’ll make a there-and-back-again sail on April 10th and 11th, which should get her more than ready for the real voyage.

Once she’s passed through the canal, she’ll face the Pacific Ocean, which will bring entirely different challenges. It is one vast, magnificent body of water and it will take her a number of weeks to cross it. But for now, she seems to be enjoying her stay in Panama and soaking up some of the attention there, even if the media are being a bit challenging at times.

Keep up with Laura’s progress on her blog by clicking here.

Kraig Becker

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