Middelburg family court has lifted its supervision order on 14-year-old Laura Dekker, clearing the way for the teenager to start her solo round-the-world sailing trip.
The court said it could not determine whether the two-year voyage would damage the girl’s social and emotional development, as the child protection council claimed.
The court said it is now up to the girl’s parents to decide whether or not she can make the two-year voyage. Her mother had been opposed to the trip but earlier this month wrote a plea in a national newspaper for her daughter to be allowed to go.
At last week’s court hearing, the child protection council said it wanted Laura to remain under its guardianship, but social workers in Utrecht, where the girl lives, disagreed.
The social workers said Dekker had met the conditions for making the trip which were made when she was first put under court supervision last year.
These include increasing her experience of solo sailing, taking a first aid course and learning to cope with sleep deprivation.
Dekker told reporters after the verdict she was so happy she almost jumped into the water. ‘If I want to break the record, I will have to leave as soon as possible,’ she said.
She hopes to become the youngest person to sail solo round the globe but her voyage will not be non-stop.
In May, 16-year-old Australian Jessica Watson became the youngest person to sail around the world alone, non-stop.
Another 16-year-old, Abby Sunderland of the United States had to be rescued after huge waves snapped the mast of her boat in the Indian Ocean.