Dekker Becomes Youngest to Solo Circumnavigate the World

Kudos to Laura Dekker! With determination, strength and capability, she achieved a dream that many never will, no matter their age.

The Dutch teenager finished her solo sailing journey around the world late last week in good spirits, despite endless debate about the terms under which she is allowed to be at sea.

She completed her 518-day trek after docking her yacht Guppy in St. Maarten, ending a yearlong expedition that supposedly made her the youngest person ever to sail alone around the globe, though her trip was interrupted at several points.

Dekker, 16, faced several court cases from the time she announced her intentions to travel the world at the age of 14. She said government organizations tried to deter her from her journey, and because of that, she may not return home to the Netherlands.

Dutch authorities tried to block Dekker’s trip, arguing she was too young to risk her life, while school officials complained she should be in a classroom.

She once said she wanted to move to Australia after her voyage was over, the Associated Press reports, though it’s unclear what she’ll do now that she’s finished.

She may sail to New Zealand or Bonaire, Dutch News says. Or perhaps finish her schooling.

The strong-willed teenager made it clear that she didn’t feel like returning to her home country of the Netherlands.

“Over a period of 11 months, I was constantly afraid that Youth Care would lock me up,” she wrote on her blog. “It was all a frightening and traumatic experience. So often these terrible memories come to me. I can’t ignore them. It is painful.”

She continued, “Now, after sailing around the world, with different port approaches, storms, dangerous reefs, and the full responsibility of keeping myself and Guppy safe, I feel that the nightmares the Dutch government organizations put me through, were totally unfair.”

In all, she sailed 27,000 nautical miles, on a trip with stops that sound like a skim through a travel magazine: the Canary Islands, Panama, the Galapagos Islands, Tonga, Fiji, Bora Bora, Australia, South Africa and now, St. Maarten.

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