Solo sailing teen Laura Dekker approaches the Marquesas
by Nancy Knudsen on 22 May 2011
Laura’s progress so far SW
Laura Dekker, the teenager who defied seemingly unsurmountable barriers to her dream to go solo sailing, is now approaching the islands of the Marquesas, some of the most remote of French Polynesia in the Pacific. Once there, she will have completed what will most probably be the longest single voyage of her circumnavigation - and she's loving every minute.
Showing every sign of being a truly passionate ocean sailor, Laura is glorying in the natural world around her - the flying fish, the moonrises and the squalls that pass over her. In this deep part of the ocean there are no reefs or other obstacles, no undersea mountains, and little shipping traffic. This means she can sleep longer, allowing her trusty radar to warn her of hazards, and enjoy feeling refreshed all the time she sails.
Not that her journey has been without incident. She has been obliged to repair her wind-controlled autopilot, she has fallen down her companionway ladder and has been nursing a bloodied foot, and the wind has not always been her best friend. However, she's been making mostly excellent way, averaging around 7 knots in the 3,000 nautical mile journey.
In a few days she will arrive the remote peaceful islands of the Marquesas, then swoop on towards Tahiti via the Tuomotos. However, from the Marquesas on she will need to stay vigilant, as she is arriving in a part of the ocean which is riddled with reefs and atolls.
At fifteen, she has until her seventeenth birthday in September 2012 to reach Europe again and cross her outbound leg to make her the youngest circumnavigator ever. But listening to her now, it seems to be the last thing on her mind.
Happy sailing Laura!
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