Teen-sailor Laura Dekker will complete her solo circumnavigation of the planet tomorrow, when she is expected to arrive in St. Maarten at approximately 3PM local time. In doing so, the 16-year old will also set a new record for the youngest person to sail solo around the globe. She returns to the Caribbean island exactly one year and one day after she set out.
Laura’s journey actually began in her native Netherlands, where her departure caused quite a stir. Her story began when she was just 13-years old and announced her intentions of sailing around the world. At the time, the Dutch court stepped in and blocked that move, but after months of legal wrangling, and extensive investigations into her level of skill, they eventually conceded and allowed her to sail. She was 14 at the time of her departure, which saw her first head to Portugal, then crossing the Atlantic, before navigating the Panama Canal and the Pacific Ocean. She eventually made her way to Australia, then crossed the Indian Ocean, before rounding the Cape of Good Hope, the southernmost tip of Africa, before turning for St. Maarten once again. Now, she’s just one day from completing her second crossing of the Atlantic, and finishing her voyage.
In her most recent blog post, written yesterday, she says that she expects to catch sight of the islands today and thanks to good, calm weather, should have no problems finishing tomorrow. She is looking forward to spending time on land and visiting her family as well, and says that her ship, the Guppy, deserves a break after all those long days at sea.
Congratulations to Laura on this amazing accomplishment. I wasn’t always in favor of someone in their early teens sailing around the world alone, but that doesn’t mean I don’t salute her courage and adventurous spirit. She has done an exceptional job on this voyage and deserves all the accolades that are about to come her way.
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