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Teen solo sailor Laura made a ward of court

Friday 30 October 2009

Laura Dekker, the 14-year-old school girl who wants to become the youngest person to sail solo round the world, is to remain under court supervision until next July at least, an Amsterdam court ruled on Friday.

The judge said in particular that Dekker's plans to ensure her safety during the two-year voyage had not been properly worked out.

For example, she has not followed a first-aid course or learned how to manage her sleep so she can cope with 20 minute naps, the judge was quoted as saying by the Volkskrant.

The judge also said Dekker does not have experience at sea sailing on her own.


In addition, the judge said her schooling had not been properly organised and this was a real threat to her development.

And new plans for Dekker to be accompanied by a second boat are still very vague, the paper quoted the judge as saying.

A spokeswoman for the family said after the court hearing earlier this week, that they have had dozens of offers from people wanting to film the voyage, publish a book about it and make a tv series. 'We have not yet taken up any of these offers,' the spokeswoman told the Telegraaf.

Dekker was put under temporary court supervision in August on the request of the child protection authorities.

Dekker lives with her father and her mother told the Volkskrant earlier she opposed the trip. Sources told the paper she also made her opposition known during the closed court hearing.

Dekker told children's tv news show Jeugdjournaal on Monday she did not plan to start her trip until after the end of this school year. 'It is bad weather now and there is a lot to be organised,' she said.

© DutchNews.nl

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Readers' comments (7)

I'm doubting she's the only teen in the country, who ever tried to postpone the school for a year or two to do something else.
Also why should she prove to the entire society that the trip is well prepared. Isn't it her and her parent's own matter?
The solo trips around the world attract a lot of public interests and all the authorities involved are keen to show they did their best in this particular case. I'm starting to think that a possible (financial) harm to the society she might make in the future by not studying now is comparable to the amount of taxpayer's money spent on all the activities around this case.
It's important to know when to stop. Let Laura fulfill her dream!

By Konstantin Zhulidov | October 30, 2009 11:55 AM

It doesn't seem to be Laura's dream. It's her father's!

By Yoshio | October 30, 2009 9:47 PM

Who will pay for her rescue, if she stuffs things up, "her dad" I think not, let them bank $500.000 surety, as an australian taxpayer,I dont want to pay, if she get in to trouble in the southern ocean, we will endup picking up the bill for a stupid exercise,we have been left to pick the bill for others in the past...Oh wait, can she get insurance???

By arch | October 31, 2009 1:27 AM

Governments are spending too much time in the personal dealings of individuals and should worry more about running the government...

By Richard Leatherwood | October 31, 2009 5:22 PM

Laura is a subject of the Queen. The queen and her cohorts must set a good example for other underage subjects. The herd must submit to the almighty supreme ruler.

By NederSchaap | November 1, 2009 11:45 AM

I am 100% behind the judges decision. No young teen should be out of school and making solo trips around the world, what kind of irresponsible parents does this kid have anyway? All the dangers out there with the Somalia piracy infesting our oceans beyond just Somalia, get real parents!

By Sandra | November 2, 2009 6:03 AM

Indeed, it's the parents job to prevent one's child from harms way (like sailing around the world solo). But lukily we have orginisations who will act, when the parents aren't able too. Beside her skills and other matters that have been discussed in this case, one thing has not been mentioned: It is by dutch law prohibited to steer a boat under the age of 16! Exeptions are made for boats shorter than 7 meters, but hers is about 8. So the moment she sets sail without an adult present on the boat, she is in violation of the BPR.

By Michel | November 3, 2009 1:23 PM

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