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Laura Dekker sets off on solo sailing trip

The Dutch 14-year-old finally sets sail on her solo trip around the world.
Aug 21st 2010, 3:29 PM 185 0

LAURA DEKKER, the 14-year-old Dutch girl who battled the authorities in order to be allowed sail solo sailing across the world is due to set off today.

The teenager is due to sail from the Portuguese port of Portimão today.

Dekker wishes to break a world record by becoming the youngest person in the world to sail solo around the world. She has experienced several setbacks to her plans, after the Dutch authorities stepped in to prevent her from sailing.

The Dutch child protection agencies had said that the mission woudl endager her physical and mental health. However Dekker’s parents supported her ambition.

Dekker is a highly experienced sailor, having grown up on a boat with her father.

However, Dekker’s attempts may not be be formally recognised as the councils of both the Guinness World Records and the World Sailing Speed Record have ruled to no longer award records for “youngest” sailors.

The councils have done so as they do not wish to encourage young people to undertake solo voyages; a number of teengers have attempted such solo missions, which even for highly skilled sailors are extremely dangerous, and some have had to be rescued after getting into difficulty.

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Jennifer Wade

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