Laura Dekker in Australia
Two weeks ago ‘sailor girl’ Laura Dekker reached the shores of the Northern Territory of Australia, and not a moment too soon.
Her boat Guppy was in desperate need of repairs as both the genoa and the rudder had broken down. In Darwin she re-united with her father who had flown in to celebrate her sixteenth birthday (September 20). From that day on she has about a year and week to complete her global circumnavigation if she wants to become the unofficial record holder of being the youngest person solo sailing around the world.
In the past months Dekker sailed past the country of her birth, New Zealand (she has dual citizenship), even though she professed a desire to visit. Says stuff.co.nz:
Her manager, Australian Lyall Mercer, [said] today Dekker did not take her New Zealand nationality lightly and had especially embraced it since starting to feel “disconnected” from The Netherlands after courts there stopped her from embarking on her trip when she was 13.
“Yet she has failed to find any support from New Zealand, unable even to source a New Zealand flag that she wants to fly from her boat ‘Guppy’ for the duration of her trip,” Mercer said.
I wonder if there is not more to that story. In August 2009, Elsevier reported that the New Zealand authorities had threatened to seize Laura’s boat for reckless behaviour if she ever entered one of the country’s ports while sailing alone.
The best place to follow Dekker’s exploits is still her blog, which she keeps in both English and Dutch. Dekker spends her days playing the guitar, writing her book, and reading. Still no word on if she has ever touched her homework.
See also: more stories about Laura Dekker.
(Photo of an entirely unrelated boat by the US Navy)