Sixteen year old sailor Laura Dekker glided out of Darwin Australia early Sunday morning aware that she was heading into the most dangerous section of her journey as she attempts to become the youngest person to solo-circumnavigate the globe.
Laura Dekker weighed down with balloons
The young sailor thanked Australians for embracing her visit despite her desire to take the record from local girl Jessica Watson. her father had flown into Darwin to spend some time with his now-famous daughter and help her celebrate her sixteenth birthday.
According to Darwin locals, Laura shunned publicity and sought no attention while in Darwin, preferring to 'hang about with friends' and, of course, her father.
If successful, Dekker, who turned 16 only days ago, will be several months younger on completion than Watson’s age when she achieved the feat in 2010.
However the girl who was born on a yacht in New Zealand to a Dutch father and German mother – and holds citizenship in all three countries - says it’s not the record that drives her.
'The record would be really nice but it is not the most important thing to me,' she explained.
'I love what I do and that is my motivation. It feels really great to follow your dream and I’m happy to just do my thing,' she said, while admitting that many Australians she met thought she 'was crazy'! 'In a nice way', she clarified.
Dekker spent her last night in Australia cheering for the New Zealand Warriors rugby league team that were battling a final against Melbourne in the Australian national competition.
They won, and Dekker hopes it is a good omen as she prepares for some of the roughest seas she will encounter as well as the risk of pirates as she heads west.
Dekker’s manager Lyall Mercer confirmed that details of her route will not be released due to safety concerns.
'We are all confident that the necessary precautions have been taken. Laura is relaxed about the journey but we want to be wise and provide her with as much protection as possible,' he said.
To follow Laura's journey, make comments, or help her on her way financially, go to her www.lauradekker.nl/English/Home.html!website