Solo teen sailor plans to go next year

Laura Dekker, the 14-year-old girl who wants to become the youngest person to sail single-handed round the world, does not plan to start her trip until the end of this school year, she told children’s tv news show Jeugdjournaal on Monday.

Dekker was speaking following a closed court hearing about her case. She was placed under temporary court protection in August when she was still 13, pending further investigation into her plans.
Yesterday it emerged child protection officers are still opposed to the two-year trip. ‘For example, a 14 year old girl is not experienced enough to keep up the rhythm of sleeping for 20 minutes at a time and you need to do that on such a voyage,’ a spokesman said after the hearing.
Top athlete
Dekker’s lawyer Peter de Lange told reporters: ‘Laura is not an ordinary 14 year old. She is a top athlete and it is important her case is looked at in this way.’ The evidence before the court includes an IQ test, a safety plan drawn up by the girl herself and a 35-page psychologist’s report, the NRC said.
The girl herself told the youth tv show it was more sensible to complete this school year before she begins. ‘It is bad weather now and there is a lot to be organised,’ she said.
A spokeswoman for the family – her parents are divorced – said they have received 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.
Not alone
The NRC says she has also received offers of hotel rooms at the various ports she will visit and an experienced sailor with a faster boat has offered to follow her own eight-meter boat Guppy the entire way.
If the family takes up the tv offer – and the NRC claims it has already done so – she will also be followed by a camera crew.
The court will announce its decision on Friday at 10am.

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