Laura Dekker on Last Leg to New Zealand

Remember Laura Dekker, the 16-year-old, no-fuss Dutch sailor who circumnavigated the world in spite of her government’s best efforts to prevent it?

Laura’s long-held dream to desert The Netherlands out of distaste for how they treated her, in favor of her birth country of New Zealand, is about to come true.

After she circumnavigated the world long before her 17th birthday in January in 366 days, Laura has been sailing at a leisurely pace across the Pacific (her third crossing) and has finally left Tahiti for a direct leg to Whangarei, where she was born 16 years ago. Laura won’t turn 17 until September this year, so on arrival in New Zealand, she won’t be able to do such simple things as drive a car.

After finishing her circumnavigation, Laura took on one crew member, and has sundry friends visit in various ports. While Laura may not have remembered her first crossing of the Pacific (as she was a baby) she says she had come to love the islands of the South Pacific.

“I’m going to miss these beautiful islands,” she says in her blog, “I’ve gotten more attached to them these last two years than I realized.”

She is looking forward to her arrival into New Zealand, but her memories of it must be almost non-existent. Nevertheless she said this week, “It feels kind of strange now to leave these Pacific islands that I’ve come to know so well and try to settle in the place where I was born. It’s a place I know in my heart but just haven’t really seen with the eyes I’m looking with now. After these years sailing all over the world, I’m on my final trip to New Zealand. It’s strange but I’m also really looking forward to it. It’s so exciting!”

During the 2,200 nautical mile voyage, Laura will be sailing in loose company with friends on a 52-foot sloop. But, she said, “We’ll still see if Guppy (a 38-foot Jeanneau Gin Fizz) can beat her.”

Courtesy of

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