Please select your home edition
Edition
Sailing Raceboats 2016/17 RS Quest 728x90

Maidentrip - teens inspired by Laura Dekker's movie

by Clementine Furber, WomensENews/Sail-World on 25 Feb 2014
Clementine Furber - inspired by Laura Dekker’s solo circumnavigation before she turned 16 SW
Wherever the film has been shown, female teen sailors have reacted dramatically and positively to the documentary of teen sailor Laura Dekker's voyage around the world, completed long before her 17th birthday. One of them, Clementine Furber, writes movingly to WomensENews about how she was inspired by the other's journey:

In the documentary 'Maidentrip,' Laura Dekker, a 13-year-old Dutch sailor, challenges herself --and the stereotypes of young teens not being mature or experienced enough to undertake long, challenging solo journeys, especially young female teens --to become the youngest person to sail around the world solo.

The 82-minute film follows Dekker on a two year trek, from 2010-2012, as she faces doubters who try to remove her from the custody of her father who encouraged the adventure. 'They thought it was dangerous. Well, everywhere is dangerous. They don't sail and they don't know what boats are, and they are scared of them,' she says in the film about the skeptics.

Dekker was raised at sea. By the time she was 6, she was learning to sail solo on an Optimist, a seven and a half-foot dinghy. At 15 she had sailed across the Wadden Sea, North Sea and solo-crossed from Maurik, in the Netherlands, to Lowestoft, England, and completed several other multi-week solo treks. Her quest was an effort to find her home. 'I was born on a boat in New Zealand,' she says. 'I lived my first five years at sea. And ever since, all I've wanted is to return to that life.'

As a 15-year-old who has been sailing for seven years, 'Maidentrip' was more than a coming of age story for me. Dekker's feat is a big deal because of her bravery and because she shows the world what females are capable of in the sport.

Finding Sea Legs
When I started sailing, I had male teachers who gave the boys on the team leadership roles even when they had no more experience than the girls. There were older female coaches and sailors around me but I didn't truly find my sea legs until I started working with girls my age. Girl crews communicate more, which is important when you are handling a 230-pound vessel in rough waters. Compared to the males I've worked with, female skippers didn't snap at me and they delegated responsibility in a way that benefits the whole team.

There's a lot to learn from sailing. I have learned to communicate with others and to see through the competitiveness of sailing to appreciate the journey. For an expert sailor like Dekker, the challenge becomes existential, yet on the water she is calm, even in the most perilous times. 'I didn't feel anything but focused. Being scared was totally gone. I didn't feel that I was hungry or tired. I was just doing it,' she says in the documentary.

Her journey had its fair share of dramatic moments. A storm off the tip of Africa damaged the storm jib, the rudder and ripped the sails of 'Guppy,' a 38-foot Jeanneau Gin Fizz ketch that Dekker and her dad refurbished.

The 518 days at sea also provided Dekker with some thinking time. She decided to renounce her Dutch citizenship and return to New Zealand because she felt there wasn't anything tying her to the Netherlands. She also felt pushed out of the country because of the way the government treated her, taking possession of her and disrespecting not only her thoughts, decisions and skills as a sailor, but also her dad's ability to take care of her and decide what is best for her. Dekker felt that by returning to her place of birth, New Zealand, she could maybe start anew and have a better life. 'I don't really have a home. Home to me is Guppy,' she says.

Taking Control
Not every girl makes headlines like Dekker did, but her resolve does show us how we need to be more assertive if we want the chance to lead. We have to want to be skipper and we have to want to assume control, not be satisfied with tying the square knot on the mast. We also have to take chances in order to reach our dreams. At the end of Dekker's solo circumnavigation she says, 'It's the end of the dream I had as a kid, and it's the beginning of my life as a sailor.'

Though I may not have progressed far yet in my sailing career -- I have never competed in large races or sailed across a vast expanse -- Dekker's story showed me that sailing is more than being the fastest. She wanted to stop places, see new things, meet new people and make new memories. What girl doesn't? As an athlete she humanized the sport and makes the challenge about collecting experiences and memories, not trophies and scholarships.

And as a young female sailor who would love to see more girls on the water, this is the takeaway that will make the biggest waves.

If you haven't yet been able to see the movie, watch the trailer here:



Clementine Furber, 15, is a sailor on the Portland High School Sailing Team in Maine.
BandG AUS Zeus3 660x82Dubarry AUS 2017 660x82 4Beneteau SAIL Oceanis 35.1 37.1 41.1 660x82 1

Related Articles

Hit the road Jack – Sailing Royalty farewells its king
The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, farewelled one of Pittwater & Sydney’s all-time great sailors, Jack Gale on Thursday The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, farewelled one of Pittwater & Sydney’s all-time great sailors and much loved Club Life Member, Jack Gale, on Thursday 14th September 2017.
Posted on 16 Sep
Oceanis – 2018 set to be a prolific year
Alongside the new Oceanis51.1, Beneteau announced four new Oceanises to satisfy a broad range of aspirations this autumn 30 years on, the best known range in the world continues to show its vitality. Alongside the new Oceanis 51.1, which won over the experts at its first sea trials, Beneteau has announced four new Oceanises to satisfy a broad range of aspirations this autumn.
Posted on 15 Sep
Navico and Bavaria Yachts announce new partnership
The brand new Bavaria R55 motorboat will come fitted with Simrad NSS evo3 as and Simrad 4G radar as standard. The highly acclaimed Bavaria C57 which launched in January 2017, and the all new Bavaria C65 are fitted exclusively with B&G Zeus³ multifunction chartplotters. Zeus³ launched at the end of 2016 and features the new SolarMAX™ HD screen, offering the brightest and clearest display on the market
Posted on 12 Sep
Beneteau Cup – Register your interest today
Participants will have a great day of races and then finish on a high note with the presentation, dinner and live music. Flagstaff Marine Beneteau would like to invite all Beneteau owners, their family, friends, colleagues, and crew to join us for the 2017 Beneteau Cup, hosted by CYCA, Rushcutters Bay.
Posted on 12 Sep
Top rated products, as chosen by you
Double cuffs, adjustable hem and double storm flap with drainage channel over the zip and the rollaway fluorescent hood Articulated sleeves ensure freedom of movement while the fleece-lined collar, hood and hand warmer pockets add warmth. Safety touches include prismatic reflectors for visibility in low light, making this waterproof and breathable jacket your foul weather protection for offshore sailing.
Posted on 31 Aug
Pulling G’s with Beneteau – Pt II
Just a little while ago we pulled some Gs with Beneteau’s Mr Product, aka G3. Just a little while ago we pulled some Gs with Beneteau’s Mr Product, aka G3. You can go back and read Part One of the story of Gianguido Girotti, as and when you may like. However, for now we’ll push on with the incredible semi-foiler Figaro 3, and the new Oceanis 51.1, along with what they represent for the brand as a whole. It is a very interesting tale, especially as Beneteau...
Posted on 31 Aug
Twenty-ninth blog from Jon Sanders - He's made it to Bundaberg
Departed City of Noumea for Bundaberg State of Queensland, Australia. I was going to leave on the Saturday but didn't. As it transpired, when asleep, as snug as a bug, - in the protected comfort of Port Moselle Marina - Noumea. Five yachts outside at anchor or on moorings went onto the rocks. Sadly damaged. I think nobody was onboard. Other yachts with crew OK.
Posted on 29 Aug
Pulling G’s with Beneteau – Pt I
In a car, just the one G will have you straining at your seatbelt. In a car, just the one G will have you straining at your seatbelt. Over nine (+ve) in an aircraft, and without a G-suit, you will be unconscious. So at three G’s, and pulling no punches with them either, we not only enjoyed our opportunity to sit with Gianguido Girotti (G3), we got to learn a lot as well!
Posted on 23 Aug
2017 J/111 World Championship - Preview
Every team’s journey to a starting line is a tale of organization, crew alignment, vessel preparation and practice Every team’s journey to a starting line is a tale of organization, crew alignment, vessel preparation and practice. Add in international travel, and the complexity snowballs. Then, weave in the pressures and prestige of a World Championship— in this case the 2017 J/111 World Championships (August 23-27, 2017), hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, California — and situation compounds.
Posted on 21 Aug
Twenty-eighth blog from Jon Sanders - He's made it to Noumea
Noumea' New Caledonia a long Island kinda lies south-east to north west. 30 N Miles wide and 220 miles long 'Noumea' New Caledonia a long Island - kinda lies south-east to north west. 30 N Miles wide and 220 miles long, sort of. Plenty of reef. The fringing reef well out with several well posted passages into the Lagoon. Once inside the lagoon one cannot steer a course direct to Noumea, or one would come to a grinding halt. 'Crunch' (Coral reef and Islets). Never the less a small boat paradise....
Posted on 17 Aug