Dekker Sets Out on Most Dangerous Leg of Voyage

It’s hard to believe this picture is for real! The irony is not lost on us that just days before Laura Dekker set off on the most dangerous leg of her circumnavigation, she cheerfully celebrated her 16th birthday with a handful of balloons, including one of a giant pirate ship.

Dekker glided out of Darwin, Australia early Sunday morning aware that she was heading into the most dangerous section of her journey as she attempts to become the youngest person to solo-circumnavigate the globe.

The young sailor thanked Australians for embracing her visit despite her desire to take the record from local girl Jessica Watson. Her father had flown into Darwin to spend some time with his now-famous daughter and help her celebrate her birthday.

According to Darwin locals, Laura shunned publicity and sought no attention while in Darwin, preferring to “hang about with friends” and, of course, her father.

If successful, Dekker, who turned 16 only days ago, will be several months younger on completion than Watson’s age when she achieved the feat in 2010.

However, the girl who was born on a yacht in New Zealand to a Dutch father and German mother – and holds citizenship in all three countries – says it’s not the record that drives her.

“The record would be really nice but it is not the most important thing to me,” she explained. “I love what I do and that is my motivation. It feels really great to follow your dream and I’m happy to just do my thing,” she said, while admitting that many Australians she met thought she was crazy. “In a nice way,” she clarified.

Dekker spent her last night in Australia cheering for the New Zealand Warriors, a rugby league team that was battling a final against Melbourne in the Australian national competition.

Courtesy of

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