Please select your home edition
Edition
Flagstaff 2020 - Oceanis 40.1 - Leaderboard

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!

Rolly Tasker Sails 2019 728x90 Footer38 South - Sun Fast 3300 - FOOTERBIA 2020 Discover Boating - FOOTER

Related Articles

Sailing provides a glimmer of light
September has been a busy month for the sport September has been a busy month for sailing in the UK. A few of the major venues, such as the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) and Datchet Water Sailing Club, managed to host major events in a Covid-secure fashion.
Posted on 28 Sep
56th Congressional Cup dates set
Grade One Match Racing competition to be held in May 2021 Founded and hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club since 1965, the Grade One competition is known as the 'grandfather of match racing' and pioneer of on-the-water umpiring that is the standard in yacht racing today.
Posted on 28 Sep
Sydney 2000 and its sailing legacy
Olympians talk about their most cherished memories The Sydney 2000 Olympics is up there as one of the of the great moments in Australian sailing history. Against the backdrop of Sydney Harbor the Australian Sailing Team delivered most successful Olympic performance yet, claiming an impressive four medals.
Posted on 28 Sep
WASZP GPS Challenge - Current leaderboard
A number of entries over the weekend from many countries We have had a number of entries over the weekend from many countries and it is getting tight at the top. We have two weeks left of the event window and plenty of chances to grab the win!
Posted on 28 Sep
Doyle Sails News - Shockwave..Doyle Moth and more
September 2020 - Shockwave - new Doyle Moth sail - J70 UK Nationals - Staysails Doyle Sails News - September 2020 - Featuring the Shockwave multihull..Doyles Moth sail - 3kg lighter with a structured luff .. a look aboard Steinlager 2 ..all you ever need to know about stay sails... Doyle at the Digital Boatshow.
Posted on 28 Sep
Meet the Vendée Globe skippers: Manuel Cousin
A business executive who is chasing his dream He is a business executive who is chasing his dream, after 20 years in the motor industry he moved to Les Sables d'Olonne to further his IMOCA project as he transitioned to full time sailor.
Posted on 28 Sep
Special event at Darling Harbour - VIP Invite
Flagstaff Marine showcasing their new models To celebrate the arrival of these NEW models, Flagstaff Marine, in collaboration with the Beneteau outboard dealer, Chapman Marine and Lagoon Importer, TMG, is staging Boating Rendez-vous at Darling Harbour.
Posted on 27 Sep
Meet the Clipper Race Crew: Ian Wang
Ian and his 20 teammates raced the ten other identical yachts for 24 hours per day “This is probably the most extreme thing I will ever do in my entire life!” Says Ian Wang a 43-year-old, Software architect, from Cardiff, who traded computers for sailing spending four months racing 15,000 miles from London, UK, to Fremantle, Australia.
Posted on 27 Sep
18ft Skiffs: Jack Macartney - tech2
Jack Macartney will be back with tech2 in the Australian 18 Footers League's 2020-2021 Season The current Australian 18ft Skiff champion Jack Macartney will be back with tech2 in the Australian 18 Footers League's 2020-2021 Season fleet to defend his title and to wipe out the memory of a disappointing JJ Giltinan Championship sailed earlier
Posted on 27 Sep
J-Bird III Restoration Series: Part 6
Going topless! In parts 1 - 5 we have explored the purchase, haul out and delivery from Sydney to Brisbane of the World's First TP52, a vessel we rescued from becoming scrap.
Posted on 27 Sep