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16-year-old circumnavigator on last leg to birth country New Zealand

by Nancy Knudsen on 13 Aug 2012
Laura arriving Sint Maarten after solo circumnavigation .. .
Remember Laura Dekker - that 16-year-old no-fuss Dutch sailor who circumnavigated the world in spite of her government's best efforts to prevent her?

Laura's long-held dream to desert The Netherlands out of distaste for how they treated her, in favour of her birth country of New Zealand, is about to come true. (Laura was born on her parents' boat in New Zealand when they were doing their own circumnavigation).


After she circumnavigated the world long before her 17th birthday in January this year in 366 days, Laura has been sailing at a leisurely pace across the Pacific (her third crossing) and has finally left Tahiti for a direct leg to Whangarei, where she was born 16 years ago. Laura won't turn 17 until September this year, so, on arrival in New Zealand, won't be able to do such simple things as drive a car.

After finishing her circumnavigation Laura took on one crew member, and has sundry friends visit in various ports. While Laura may not have remembered her first crossing of the Pacific (as she was a baby) she says she had come to love the islands of the South Pacific.

'I'm going to miss these beautiful islands,' she says in her blog, 'I've gotten more attached to them these last two years than I realized.'


She is looking forward to her arrival into New Zealand, but her memories of it must be almost non-existent. Nevertheless she said this week, 'It feels kind of strange now to leave these Pacific islands that I've come to know so well and try to settle in the place where I was born. It's a place I know in my heart but just haven't really seen with the eyes I'm looking with now. After these years sailing all over the world, I'm on my final trip to New Zealand. It's strange but I'm also really looking forward to it. It's so exciting!

On the coming voyage of 2,200 nautical miles Laura on her boat Guppy will be sailing in loose company with friends on another yacht, a 52ft sloop. But, she said, 'We'll still see if Guppy(a 38ft Jeanneau Gin Fizz) can beat her.'

Bon Voyage Laura!

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