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T Clewring - Cruising

Youngest ever solo circumavigator sails into new home New Zealand

by Nancy Knudsen on 2 Sep 2012
Laura Dekker has just arrived New Zealand in her boat Guppy .. ©
With a shredded but replaced main and the wind gusting 30 knots, Dutch sailor Laura Dekker, the world's youngest ever solo circumnavigator, sailed into New Zealand today, with the intention of starting a new life in the country she was born in, but hardly remembers.

Laura sailed into Marsden Cove near Whangarei at the end of a long voyage direct from Tahiti. She was racing to avoid a coming depression, and the temperature, at 14 degrees, was 'taking a bit of getting used to.'

The New Zealand-born Dutch sailor announced her plans to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world in 2009.

After problems with Dutch authorities, who stopped the record-breaking attempt despite her parents’ support, Dekker finally set off on August 21 2010.

Dekker, 16, completed her trip around the world on January 2012, many months before her 17th birthday. Angry with the Dutch government she has rejected life there, instead intending to take up residency in New Zealand, where she was born and therefore holds a New Zealand passport.
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One of many sailing leg after her record-breaking journey, Dekker left for Whangarei from Tahiti on August 25 – a 4100km journey with a crew of one who has sailed with her since the Caribbean.

She says the past two days have been difficult because of stormy weather and the first thing she wants to do when she lands is have a hot shower.

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