Monday 29 May 2017

Court lifts ban for Laura (14) to sail solo around world

A 14-year-old Dutch girl who wants to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world has won a court's permission to attempt the voyage.

The court in Middelburg lifted a guardianship order imposed last year, which placed Laura Dekker under the care of child protection services.

Laura must complete the two-year trip before she turns 17 in September 2012 to break the record.

Her mother has dropped her objections to the plan.

Laura Dekker began sailing solo when she was 10 years old.

The Child Protection Council of Utrecht, in the central Netherlands, asked the Middelburg district court a week earlier than scheduled to extend her supervision by 12 months, citing fears for her social and emotional development.

Laura has been under state supervision since last October, when the Utrecht court blocked her bid to become the youngest person to sail the globe solo.

In December, she breached a court order and ran away to the Dutch Antilles, where she was found and returned home.

The experienced sailor was born on a yacht off the coast of New Zealand during a seven-year world trip. She had her own yacht by the age of six.

Her father, Dick Dekker, supports her attempt at the record, but her mother had in the past expressed concerns.

Laura is planning to spend about two years aboard her 8m boat, Guppy, to break the record set in May by Jessica Watson (16) of Australia.

Irish Independent

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