Laura Dekker bids farewell to her home port, Den Osse in the Netherlands to begin her two year odyssey.
A 14 year old Dutch girl, Laura Dekker set sail last Wednesday, 4th August 2010 on the first leg of a two-year odyssey in a bid to become the youngest person ever to circumnavigate the globe.
Laura's father, Dick Dekker is accompanying her on this first leg to Portugal to test "Guppy" and make any final adjustments to her equipment. From there Laura goes solo, first from Lisbon to the Portuguese island of Madeira. Her second stop will bring her to the Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco where she will wait out the hurricane season.
At age 13 Laura felt she was ready to start her bid to become the youngest person to sail around the world but was blocked from doing so when a Dutch court ruled she was too young and put her under the charge of child-care protection services. Laura put the year-long delay to good use and learned how to manage her sleep during such a voyage. She also made a safety plan as well as a sail plan and got more sailing experience.
Last week a Dutch court in Middelburg ruled that Laura no longer needed to be under supervision as she had made all the necessary improvements to her plan, including getting a bigger boat to put in more equipment. "Guppy" is a 38ft Jeanneau Ginfizz ketch with a 12.5ft beam and a 6ft draft.
Laura's sail plan shows that she will be stopping regularly and will sometimes meet up with other sailors following the same route. During her more extended passages, Laura will have radio contact with other ships at least twice a day.
Bon Voyage Laura and Guppy!