Laura Dekker ready to emigrate if she can’t sail
While Britain is anxiously waiting for 17-year-old Mike Perham to sail into Portmouth on 29 August after having sailed around the world, 13-year-old Laura Dekker has had to lawyer up in order to fight for the opportunity to attempt the same feat for the Netherlands.
An English article about Perham ironically starts with “while most teenagers may have been losing sleep over their exam results during the past few days”, while the Dutch courts have called upon Child Services, claiming Dekker’s parents are keeping their child from school because her learning while on the sailboat is ‘nonsense’. If Child Services thinks that the parents are not doing right by Laura, there is talk of removing her from their custody.
To avoid this situation, Laura who has dual citizenship with New Zealand, is ready to emigrate – that’s how much Laura and her parents believe in this sailing journey.
Her lawyer tries to tell the courts about this exceptional teenager. “Laura is not just some girl. She was born on a sailboat and lived the first four years of her life on one at sea. She has all the necessary skills and qualities for this journey.”
He makes another good point as well. If we compare Laura to a 13-year-old gymnast, no one goes and checks to see if the gymnast goes to school or is brought up properly — they get support from an Olympic committee or a sports association.
So, are the Dutch Children’s Services not seeing the big picture or are they seeing it very clearly? Why are boys like Mike Perham and record holder Zac Sunderland of the US praised and encouraged, but Laura discouraged? Is she really too young or is a girl less capable? Stay tuned!
My personal, uneducated take is that the entire family could just skip town to New Zealand for a year. Then New Zealand can claim the world record for solo sailing around the world.