Please select your home edition
Edition
Fever-Tree 728x90

Laura Dekker, 16-year-old super solo sailor, on her final leg

by Nancy Knudsen on 16 Dec 2011
Capetown goodbye - photo from Jetsetting Magazine SW
Laura Dekker, Dutch/New Zealander 16-year-old solo sailor, who is circumnavigating the globe in her 38ft Jeanneau Ginfizz ketch, Guppy, has left Cape Town on the last long leg across the Atlantic which, all going well, will complete her circumnavigation.

Reaching Sint Maarten in the Caribbean, which she left on 5th January 2011, will make her the world's youngest ever circumnavigator.

However, a vicarious association with Laura over a long period of time (she first hit the headlines when she sailed the English Channel at the age of 13 and on arrival was promptly deposited in a Children's Home) suggests that the adventure she has undertaken is much more about the journey and less about the glory.

The voyage she has now undertaken, perhaps with stops at islands along the way is a journey of some 4000 nautical miles and perhaps the most challenging. (See map and apologies for the art work - Laura is not likely to clip off the edge of South America.) Her yacht Guppy has performed creditably along the journey with little serious trouble since she left Gibraltar in September 2010.

This does not mean that her journey has been any easy one. She has battled storms and high winds, long periods of serious sleep deprivation and blown out sails. 'On the one leg I blew my Genoa and Main sail which was challenging as I limped to the next port so I could get up and running again.'

The proven sturdiness of Guppy can be thanks to the work she and her father put into making her strong enough for the long miles she was planning. 'I picked Guppy up incredibly cheap, she was a wreck. With a lot of help from my dad, we did her up to the magnificent ocean crossing vessel that she is today.'

It is perhaps not so strange that Laura has taken to a sea life. As she recounted in a recent interview with Sophie Thompson of East Coast Radio, 'When I was five my Dad packed my family up and we set sail from Whangarei in New Zealand, where I was born. We sailed all the way to Holland on my father’s boat. I believe that I am a doer and when I get an idea in my head, I usually strive to achieve it.'

Laura has been in Cape Town for several days, enjoying some leisure time and stocking up for this one last leg of her circumnavigation - but not the last leg of her journey. Once she reaches the Caribbean, she will continue through the Panama Canal for a second time and head back to New Zealand, which she missed last time round.

'I will make my way back to Whangarei in New Zealand where I hope to settle and maybe call home.'

Right now, after negotiating shipping channels and a very windy start from Capetown ('and the wind was from the wrong direction' she complained on her blog,) she is now becalmed until the next system passes through. 'I know the first 500nm will not be easy sailing', she says, but, in her typical low-key response, seems relaxed about 'toughing it out.'

Bon Voyage Laura!

To follow Laura's blog, go to her English language http://www.lauradekker.nl/English/Home.html!website.
................................

Did you like this article? If you are not a Sail-World subscriber already, did you know that you can keep up with all the news from the world of the cruising sailor with a weekly news hit? It's totally free, as all our income is from the advertisers.

Once you subscribe, all the non-racing news comes to you in one easy to read news magazine, right to your inbox. AND it's up to date, so you don't have to wait for the end of the month to find out what's going on. You can even subscribe a friend. http://www.sail-world.com/Cruising/international/newsletter_subscribe.cfm!Click_here_now!

Wildwind 2016 660x82RS Sailing 660x82C-Tech

Related Articles

More boaters on the water for July 4th holiday
July Fourth is shaping up to be the busiest time of the year on the water for the nation’s recreational boaters In a recent survey of more than a half million BoatUS members, 88 percent of respondents say they are “very-to-extremely likely” to go boating during the 2017 July Fourth holiday period
Posted today at 8:22 pm
Queen Mary 2 leaves French four in her wake but resists luffing
Queen Mary 2 powered into commanding lead of over 250 miles after 24hrs of racing in The Bridge Centennial Transat race After enjoying a magnificent start from the place of its birth in St Nazaire on Sunday, the Queen Mary 2 has powered into a commanding lead of over 250 miles after 24 hours of racing in The Bridge Centennial Transat race. She has left the four giant trimarans in her long wake.
Posted today at 4:52 am
Queen Mary 2 takes on trimarans as Centennial Transat begins
Many thousands lined the harbor and shore to welcome the Queen Mary 2 into the Brittany harbor where she was built. This time the cannon shots were sounds of fraternity to begin the race between the Queen Mary 2 and four of the largest and fastest trimarans in the world. The start to ocean races are always emotive affairs but rarely are they so loaded.
Posted on 25 Jun
A Few Rays – Moisturising, Anti-Aging Action …
Consistent moisturising sun protection has an anti-aging action Consistent moisturising sun protection has an anti-aging action Out on a boat, sailors are exposed to extreme conditions for their skin. There are UV rays from the sun, hopefully some wind if you are a sailor, and the drying effects from wet and dry cycles during the course of your day
Posted on 23 Jun
Doyle Sails announce new ownership and global expansion
Doyle Sails New Zealand formally announce their ownership of Doyle International Doyle Sails one of the global leaders in high performance sails as well as having a reputation for being proven innovators with new technology, has announced their next bold move to drive the Doyle business forward. The leadership team headed by Mike Sanderson and supported by David Duff and Richard Bouzaid from Doyle Sails New Zealand formally announced their ownership of Doyle International
Posted on 22 Jun
The Bridge – Arriving into New York on the 1st July
The 345m Cunard flagship ocean liner Queen Mary 2 will race some of the world’s fastest yachts from France to America. Two thousand seven hundred passengers will board this historical ocean liner to race against the world's fastest trimarans helmed by the worlds best skippers: Macif (François Gabart), Sodebo (Thomas Coville), Actual (Yves le Blévec), IDEC (Francis Joyon).
Posted on 21 Jun
Hokule'a makes it's way home after a three year worldwide voyage
Hokule'a along with sister-ship Hikianalia returned home to Hawaii after a three-year worldwide voyage. Saturday morning at 9:30 am HST, June 17, 2017, Hokule'a along with sister-ship Hikianalia returned home to Hawaii after a three-year worldwide voyage. Their tour included 150 port calls in 23 countries with 60,000 nautical miles shared between the two double-hulled sailing canoes.
Posted on 18 Jun
A Few Rays- Calculate how long your sunscreen lasts.
Confused by SPF's? It’s easy to calculate how long you will be protected by using the following process. Exposure to the sun is a serious issue for all those who venture on the water. Confused by SPF's? It’s easy to calculate how long you will be protected by using the following process.
Posted on 14 Jun
BoatUS looks at accuracy of 22 Years of hurricane season predictions
BoatUS Seaworthy Program, which helps BoatUS members avoid injuries and boat damage by analyzing insurance claims data With most 2017 storm forecasts now predicting average to above-average storm activity for the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season (June 1 – November 30), just how accurate are these predictions, and do boaters need to adjust their hurricane prep plans this year?
Posted on 13 Jun
Dismasted solo sailor Lisa to complete Antarctic Circumnavigation
Sydney- based solo sailor and adventurer Lisa Blair (32) will recommence her attempt to circumnavigate Antarctica She has spent the past two months preparing Climate Action Now so that she can complete her circumnavigation, including the installation of a new mast and repairs to the hull and electrical and navigation systems sustained during her dramatic dismasting.
Posted on 11 Jun