Laura Dekker, 15-year-old Dutch solo sailor on her way round the world, has just set out to conquer a new ocean. Having sailed the Atlantic without incident, then transited the Panama Canal more than a week ago, Laura has prepared and provisioned for her long passage to Galapagos, and departed Las Perlas Islands.
Laura at the helm
As the trade winds take time in April to establish, she has been plagued with calms until today, but now has a brisk wind pushing her across the 1000 nautical miles or so to the famous archipelago.
After Galapagos Laura will then embark on the longest leg of her circumnavigation - the leg from Galapagos to the Marquesas in French Polynesia, a vast, daunting 3,000 nautical miles.
Her 38 ft Jeanneau Ginfizz ketch is still performing well and Laura seems to take every sea challenge in her stride. With radar, EPIRB, SART, AIS transponder, sextant, two active radar reflectors, two waterproof shockproof laptops with built-in GPS navigation, two VHF with DSC, handheld VHF, two engines, two satellite phones, shortwave transmitter, camera and a mobile phone, Laura and her father Dick Dekker have ensured that she is well equipped for all eventualities.
If she wishes to achieve the record as the youngest ever circumnavigator she now has around 17 months to complete her journey.
With the piracy problem in the Indian Ocean, this might mean taking the southerly route around Africa. It would be a much longer journey for the young sailor, and perhaps put her plans to get home before her birthday on 20th September 2012 in jeopardy.
However, watching the young sailor, reading her blog about when she is happiest and what she hates (including journalists sometimes) one gets the feeling that she is there for the love of sailing, not for a quest for fame and fortune.
To follow Laura's blog, http://www.lauradekker.nl/English/Home.html!click_here.