Friday, August 28, 2009

Court Delays Laura Dekker's Sailing Aspirations


While we're on the subject of solo-circumnavigation attempts, we've got an update today on Laura Dekker, the 13-year old girl who Dutch authorities took into protective custody a few days back to prevent her from setting out on her on solo adventure.

A panel of three Dutch judges has ruled that Laura's plan is "undeniably daring and risky" and has mandated that the teen under go psychological evaluation to determine her readiness for such a voyage. The state will maintain guardianship for two months, while she undergoes the evaluation to determine if she will be allowed to go after her dream of sailing solo around the world.

In some respects, this is good news for Laura. The two month delay will mean nothing in the greater scheme of things, and if she can convince them that she is both physically and mentally prepared for the challenges she'll face at sea, it seems she'll be allowed to make the voyage on her 26 foot yacht dubbed the Guppy.

It'll certainly be interesting to see how this case plays out. I personally still feel she is too young, even if the Dutch officials rule that she can go. She wouldn't be allowed to drive a car in most countries, and yet they're talking about turning her loose on the open seas, facing storms, high winds, mechanical failures, and worse. I guess we'll have to wait until October to find out if she can make the attempt.

10 comments:

Carl Hancock said...

I completely agree with the courts in this situation.

A 13 year old has no business undertaking a solo expedition of this magnitude.

I also don't agree with young kids undertaking the Seven Summits. Kili is one thing, Everest is no place for a kid.

Adventure Junkie said...

Yup! Right there with you Carl, but at least on those mountains, someone is with them if they get in trouble. Solo, at sea, miles from anyone to help? That is disaster waiting to happen.

Steve Jones said...

If Laura Dekker has the sailing skills, which she clearly has, then she should be allowed to undertake this voyage. Life is for living and I admire this young woman who wants to do something with her life instead of hanging around on street corners like a lot of today's youth. There are dangers of course, but she could just as easily get knocked over by a lorry crossing the road. Best Wishes to you Laura I hope your dream comes true - make us all proud of you.

Adventure Junkie said...

Steve, I'll use another driving analogy. While many 13-year olds have the skills to drive a car, I still wouldn't want to turn them loose on a cross country drive by themselves.

World Traveler said...

Its impressive for her to have that kind of drive and determination at such a young age but what is she trying to prove right now. Grow up first and then set sail.
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Jbushkey said...

Has anyone considered what happens when she pulls into port to resupply? (Or is this non stop?). How will this child remain safe in a strange port where no one knows her? To me this seems as dangerous as the actual sailing.

It's sad that parents are too stupid these days to know that part of being a parent means knowing when to say no.

Adventure Junkie said...

I've thought that same thing, and who knows what port she'd need to pull into if she needs repairs. The whole affair seems like unnecessary risk all for the right to say she is the "youngest to circumnavigate".

aramkr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
aramkr said...

At sea her safety will be dependent mainly on the weather and her boat. In port, I doubt the media will leave her alone for a minute. I think her chances are good.

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