Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Teen sailor Laura Dekker lashes out against media

by Pete Thomas Outdoors on 6 Apr 2011
15-year-old Laura Dekker has already sailed her ketch-rigged Jeanneau Gin Fizz, Guppy, across the Atlantic .. .
Pete Thomas, author of the online eMagazine, 'Outdoors', writes about the 15-year-old Dutch/New Zealander solo sailor who has sailed from Europe across the Atlantic as part of her planned circumnavigation:

Laura Dekker, the 15-year-old Dutch adventurer who is preparing to cross the Pacific as part of an effort to become the youngest sailor to solo-circumnavigate the planet, seems intent on turning even the most supportive of journalists against her.


It was clear before now that Dekker, who has spent the past several weeks in the Caribbean after an Atlantic crossing, is jaded toward the media. That's somewhat understandable, given the many critical news reports before and since her departure from Gibraltar last August.

But her latest blog entry might be perceived as the handiwork of a spoiled brat, not a courageous adventurer. Here are Dekker's comments, after a night crossing from San Blas Islands to Shelter Bay Marina in Panama:

'Early this morning I arrived in Panama, right into the thick of crowds of people and cargo ships. I have been busy non-stop since. The press people stood immediately in front of my nose, and because the Shelter Bay Marina sponsors me, I could not ignore them.

'They always ask me the same questions over and over again and are often clueless about me. This time, I even was asked my name... ! She really did not know, and I was so perplexed it took me a while before I could utter that my name is Laura.

'Sure I was tired after the night crossing, and now I really felt very tired of all the people around me pretending to be interested and knowledgeable about me. My good mood slowly faded to an inner anger that I always feel when people treat me like a celebrity. And then they often come up with the most mind-boggling or stupid questions.'

One could chalk this up to Dekker simply being irritable after a night of sailing, but it's not the first time she has used her blog to level criticism toward reporters.

Maybe she just needs to get on with her odyssey. An important question, whether she can safely pilot her 38-foot twin-masted sailboat across the Pacific, will be answered over the next few months.

That will be a true test of her maturity and, despite what she thinks of journalists, most will be pulling for her.
.......................
Editor's note:
What you you think?

Should she be at home in school?
Or, given that she loves sailing and wants to sail around the world, maybe as the youngest ever, does that mean that she has to be nice to the media?
Does a heavily orchestrated PR campaign have to follow every adventurer?
How much of these teenage events is about money and fame and how much about the love of sailing and the ocean?
Laura Dekker, born on a boat and having lived on it for the first years of her life, only came to the notice of the world's media when she was forbidden to go sailing by authorities. Maybe she would rather, like Bernard Moitessier, Just keep sailing and disappear from the world stage. Or not?

What do you think?

Related Articles

Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted on 28 Apr
The Road to Rio now 99 days short
The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win. The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres, at some World championship events and Weymouth World Cup but for many crews: 'It's 106 miles to Chicago we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.' Whoops wrong movie.
Posted on 28 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
Thou doth protest too much, me thinks
And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen about now. At any rate, it is simply an adaptation of Lady Gertrude’s original line. We merely seek to use it as a way to demonstrate that when there is a lot of brouhaha going on, the smoke screen ultimately ends up as a lovely, colourful flag as to the real intent behind it.
Posted on 18 Apr
An interview with Jake Beattie about the 2016 Race to Alaska
In 2014, Jake Beattie and a few friends envisioned the Race to Alaska. Now, it’s time this wild race’s second edition. In 2014, Jake Beattie-the executive director of the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, Washington, and a few friends hatched the bold idea of a human-powered race to Ketchikan, Alaska, took flight. They decided that their human-powered race would start in Port Townsend, Washington and run to Ketchikan, by way of the inside passage between Vancouver Island and British Columbia.
Posted on 14 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
Go fast girls - 49er FX sailors Paris Henken and Helena Scutt
Paris Henken and Helena Scutt will be representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics, which will be their first Olympiad. American’s Paris Henken (20) and Helena Scutt (23) recently won a berth to represent the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the high-performance 49er FX skiff, a goal that the team has been working on for almost three years. While this is their first Games, writing them off as Olympic newbies would require ignoring their recent results and their strong teamwork.
Posted on 13 Apr
World Sailing Cup V3 - A Dead Rat in a Shoe or Spring Daffodils?
While a host of major sailing events go from strength to strength, the Sailing World Cup has very major issues. Last night my Irish better half was sitting beside me on the sofa watching an Australian version of the popular TV Cooking Program My Kitchen Rules on a tablet with her headphones while I was watching Diehard II for the seventeenth time (it’s a boy thing) on TV. She suddenly spluttered and laughed, took off her headphones and motioned for me to mute Diehard. (Seriously!!)
Posted on 9 Apr
NaiadSchaefer 2016 660x82Southern Spars - 100