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15-year-old has just started circumnavigating, but the book is out now

by Sail-World Cruising on 9 Oct 2010
Laura Dekker on her way at last - her grandmother’s book now has a happy ending .. .
Jessica Watson's book wasn't published until after she returned from her amazing voyage around the world, but the family of Laura Dekker are getting in early.

Riek Dekker had already started writing her book about the tribulations that her 14-year-old granddaughter Laura was experiencing when she was prevented by the Dutch courts from embarking on a solo circumnavigation.

The difference, she says now, is that the story has a happy ending.

The would-be solo sailor contemplated suicide when authorities continued to block her around-the-world attempt, her grandmother has related in the book which has just been published this week..

Riek Dekker says the family were very worried last year when the thwarted sailor girl absconded to St Maarten in the Caribbean.

In an interview with a Dutch newspaper, Riek quotes Laura as saying 'The time before I decided to run away and when I tried to slash my wrist was the hardest. I did not want to hurt anyone else, so I hurt myself. I really felt that I wanted to die. But heck, I couldn't do that to my family. So given the choice between death and disappearance, it was: off to St Maarten.' Laura managed to book a plane and fly to the island on her own in December 2009. She was spotted by a member of the public after a few days.

When the Netherlands' Child Care Bureau finally lifted its objections to Laura's solo trip, having ascertained that she was well-prepared, she set out on her record-breaking attempt on her sailing vessel Guppy from Gibraltar.

'She got up and hugged the mast,' Riek Dekker, Laura’s grandmother, told Dutch radio station Q-music shortly after the decision was announced. Riek said the decision was a huge relief for the family, and opines that Laura’s case was not handled correctly by child welfare organizations and the court.

The story of Laura's life, her love of sailing, her desperation when prevented from going sailing solo, her near suicide, her running away from home to the Caribbean, and the final happy ending are all detailed in the book, out now and published in the Dutch language.
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