Dutch Teen Sails to her Dreams

Laura Dekker
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Laura Dekker was born on a boat, so it’s safe to say that sailing is as natural to her as breathing. Now, the 16-year-old Dutch girl should be ready to breathe a sigh of relief after an amazing accomplishment: Laura spent more than a year sailing around the world — she reports logging 27,000 nautical miles — on a 38-foot boat. And she did it alone.

It was a tough go: She had a long fight against the Dutch government to get approval to go on her trip (and was even temporarily put into state care). Even when she was at last able to launch, Laura had to sail during extreme weather, save flying fish that crashed into her cabin, and even change her route to avoid pirates. But she stayed dedicated to her dream and is now the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe alone.

She writes in her weblog that she is proud of her achievement, but glad to be home: “By the way I am not disappointed at all that the Guinness Book of World Records won’t recognize my attempt. Back in 2009 Mike Perham was recognized as the last ever of the now abolished youngest circumnavigator category. In any case I did not start on my trip to achieve any record but I did it just for myself. It is sweet to me that I won’t be sailing for a while, that I don’t have to keep everything in order all the time, and that I get to see my parents if I feel like it , even though that may take getting used to. I still don’t know how long I will stay here or where I will go next. For now I am having a great time and enjoying my family.”

Congratulations Laura! Watch a video of the teen sailor talking about her dream during a stop in Australia:


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