Dekker Rounds Cape Point in 50 Knot Winds

We’re not sure why on such a short passage, Laura Dekker hadn’t looked for a better weather window to round this treacherous area, but luckily she made it through unscathed despite the gnarly conditions.

Laura Dekker, 16-year-old Dutch/New Zealand solo sailor, has rounded Cape Agulhas in 50 knot winds and arrived in Cape Town to be greeted by her father, Dick Dekker.

After three days on the high seas, Laura was jubilant to have turned in a northerly direction for the first time in the 463 days since she departed Gibraltar on August 21, 2010. So far she has crossed the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Indian Oceans and has managed all that has come her way with a quiet confidence. The most recent leg was no exception.

She told Carol Dolley of IOL News in South Africa that her passage had been “like being on a roller-coaster that’s underwater.”

Local businessman Alon Kowen, a seasoned skipper who sailed to welcome Laura at sea and met her off Llandudno, said the weather had been awful.

“Not even the most seasoned skipper will round Cape Point in winds like that. She’s a very brave girl,” he said.

Laura, who had been sailing from Port Elizabeth for three days, rounded Cape Point shortly after midnight in winds of up to 50 knots.

She was soaked through, with waves continually crashing over her 38-foot yacht, Guppy. She arrived in Cape Town Harbor hours later.

“One of the first things I’m going to do is clean up my boat,” she told Dolley. “It looks like a house hit by an earthquake, but with lots of water.”

Her crossing of the Indian Ocean from Darwin to Durban was one of her longest, 47 days non-stop at sea, and when it was almost over she expressed feelings that many a long range cruiser will recognize: She “didn’t want it to end.”

Laura told of the sharks, whales and dolphins she had seen around her yacht.

“Down here I saw some whales. One time I had two sharks passing right behind the boat. I mostly see the fins. I’m not scared. It’s not like I’m planning to jump over,” Laura joked.

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