Teen sailor resumes solo voyage

Teen sailor resumes solo voyage

Laura Dekker. APWriting on her blog on Friday, Dekker said she has already sailed 240 nautical miles since leaving Spain’s Canary Islands on Wednesday and has 540 nautical miles to go to her next port of call, the Cape Verde islands, off west Africa.

The 15-year-old started her trip from Gibraltar on August 21 in her twin-masted sailboat Guppy and has spent two months in the Canary Islands waiting for the hurricane season to pass.

Strengthening winds are pushing her along at 7.6 knots, she wrote, “so I am making very good progress.” She expects to be at sea for a week before seeing an island.

Dekker’s venture stirred an intense debate about whether young people should be allowed to sail the world’s oceans alone.

A Dutch court originally blocked the voyage and only allowed to set off after she took measures to manage the risks.

She bought a bigger, sturdier boat than the one she originally planned to use, fitted it with advanced navigation and radar equipment and took courses in first aid and coping with sleep deprivation.

In the end, the Dutch court ruled that her preparations were adequate and it was up to her parents, who are divorced, to decide whether to let her make the attempt. Dekker was born on a boat off New Zealand while her parents were sailing around the world.
Her circumnavigation attempt started two months after Abby Sunderland, a 16-year-old American, had to be rescued in a remote section of the Indian Ocean during an attempt to circle the globe.

Dekker may be more adventurous than many of her peers, but like many other teenagers, tidying up is not her strong suit. “Everything I had left a little bit loose inside of the boat is now lying at the lower bottom side of the boat,” she wrote on her blog after waves tossed her stuff around. “So well, I should try to clean up better!”

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