06 August 2010

Laura Dekker

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!


  1. Hi Sam,

    Thanks for that outline of Laura's voyage. I have a bit of catching up to do regarding her preparation. From what I have read, it sounds like she has a well thought out plan with many planned stops and a lot of support along the way. A much different plan than Jessica's but it sounds like a plan that minimizes the risks. Since I'm a non-sailor, I was wondering how well suited a ketch rig is for a young single-hander. I sounds like the Jeanneau Gin Fizz is a very seaworthy, blue water boat and that Laura has some experience with sailing a ketch. What do you think, Sam?

    It's good to hear from you. Take care.


  2. G'day Mark, thanks for stopping by.

    I must say I much prefer Laura's plan to Jessica's in that it stops and starts as opposed to non-stop. From past experience the major highlights in that is meeting up with other sailors along the way. I was a little surprised she chose a ketch and can only hope the extra mast doesn't prove too much of a handfull in more challenging conditions. On the upside 'though, if she follows the trade-winds she will more likely experience extended periods where she will have very little wind if not completely becalmed so in that sense the mizzen may come in very handy. Guppy is (IMO) a nice boat for cruising athough not ideal if you want to get anywhere in a hurry, she's too fat for that. But for the route Laura has chosen, Guppy is perfect...beamy, lots of room in the cockpit and an aft cabin to boot! She is one very lucky girl that's for sure. I hope she has a fantastic 2 years. What a great opportunity!!!

    Take care of yourself and good to hear from you too.....Sam

  3. And who is she going to miss the most? Her dog SPOT of course....love it. Good luck Laura! john

  4. Hi John, don't you just love it? Although I have a feeling poor 'ol Spot will miss her more.

    Cheers mate...Sam

  5. I'm just glad she's smiling at last!
    Hoo Roo ☺☺☺

  6. She certainly has a lot to smile about.

    G'day Magpie, nice to see you again. I love your little smilies...Cheers!

  7. Hi Sam,
    Well, another voyage underway! It's good to "hear" familiar voices again... Hi everyone! I look forward to dropping by your blog during Laura's journey and hoping you will choose to share your beautiful talents in some way as you during Jessica's memorable sail. You spoiled us, I'm afraid. Thank you again, Sam!

    Marie from WA St., USA