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Solo teen sailor reaches Durban South Africa

by Nancy Knudsen on 15 Nov 2011
Guppy has arrived Durban with Dekker on board .. .

Sixteen year old solo sailor Laura Dekker has successfully crossed the Indian Ocean and arrived in Durban, South Africa.

After 47 days of non-stop sailing, the young sailor has now three oceans to her credit, and answered the question that so many had been asking - she has avoided the pirate zone and is taking the Africa route.


On her longest non-stop journey so far, Laura passed Ashmore Reef, passed Christmas Island, passed Cocos Keeling and the Chagos Archipelago without stopping. She also passed through the doldrums, with many days of calms and nights of storms. However, after all that time at sea she writes that she experienced what many long-range cruisers experience, a curious reluctance for the peace and calm of life on the ocean to end - a reluctance to join the freneticism of life on land. Not that the voyage was without its adventures - she had her cabin flooded by rough seas and several knockdowns during storms.

New Zealand born and Dutch raised, Dekker is said to be on a quest to be the youngest to circumnavigate the globe solo, but living her journey vicariously through her blog, her quest is of a much more personal nature - perhaps to relive alone and unaided the part-circumnavigation that she lived with her parents before she was six years of age.

Dekker’s team have kept her route secret since leaving Darwin, Australia on September 25 due to the risk of pirates monitoring her location.

Dutch Award Nomination causes controversy:
Laura has been nominated, among others, for the prestigious Conny van Rietschoten trophy, The Netherland’s most prestigious sailing award. The Trophy is awarded to 'a sailor who has distinguished himself by a remarkable race-related achievement, or by meritorious sailing.'

The winner will be announced on November 17, but her very nomination has raised controversy already in the Netherlands, with one nominee, Lucas Schröder, having rejected his own nomination because he 'does not want his achievements to be compared with those of Dekker.'

He announced last week, 'Many will inevitably see Laura’s nomination for the Netherlands’ most important sailing award as a collective opinion of the sailing community. This makes me feel so uncomfortable that I request you no longer consider me a candidate for your trophy.'

Schröder has apparently been nominated for his participation in the Mini Transat, in which sailors cross the Atlantic Ocean in 6.5metre boats.

For more information about Laura and her ongoing circumnavigation, http://www.lauradekker.nl!click_here.

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