At 15 years old, Laura Dekker is the youngest person to sail around the world alone.
The young adventurer was practically born on a sailboat and her family encouraged her to take to the sea alone from a young age. On August 21, 2010, Dekker set off on her prized 38-foot sailboat named Guppy to circumnavigate the globe.
After one year and five months of near non-stop sailing, she’d accomplished the feat in record time.
When Dekker first announced her decision to sail around the world solo, the Dutch government became involved, going so far as to place Dekker in shared parental custody with the Council of Child Care.
Dekker and her parents fought authorities, convincing them of her aptitude. Finally, she was allowed to set sail.
Dekker kept an incredible journal of her time at sea, and they offer incredible insight into the mind of this young, courageous woman on the adventure of a lifetime.
Check out a few of her riveting entries below:
While I was running along by the remaining atolls, the wind slowly began to pick up to a speed.The waves got higher and higher, and even before I was passed the very last atoll, I had to put two reefs in the main and hoisted the storm-jib.
Everything that is still loose aboard is now lying on the boat’s low side… It is dark – the sky is deeply clouded while the water is heavily pouring over Guppy and me. I hope Mother Nature enjoyed that! Up to now, it looked like I would be arriving by day. But now that I am going much faster, it could be that I will already be there tomorrow evening!
So, Guppy and I are now discussing about whether we should sail through the reef passage near Papeete by night… But right now I just feel like catching up on some sleep – if only that big ship hadn’t now appeared inside the radar’s detection range…
Anchors up and heading for Moorea. First, I had to sail through a narrow passage between reefs and breaking waves very close on both sides.. Then after three hours of great sailing, I again guided Guppy through another passage in the reefs. ‘Gup’ doesn’t like sailing between all those breakers but once she is quietly anchored across she feels quite happy again.
Moorea is very beautiful too, and I will definitely go exploring tomorrow. I have just met a family that has been traveling around the world by plane for more than one year now. And that includes four children aged between 11 and 15 years old. When I told them about my trip the kids felt like sailing around the world too. But the idea quickly faded when their parents explained that they would have to stay on the boat all the time, with no chance of escape from their brothers and sisters.
We met aboard a boat whose owner is a French sailor who has participated in many races before, and who has crossed the Atlantic Ocean on a Hobie Cat (an open catamaran 5 meters/16 feet in length)!! This does not sound like music to my ear, especially after he showed us the movie that was made then. But he really loved it..
There is even more wind today, so I quickly reefed the mainsail this morning. Dark clouds passed over me all day long, and in the afternoon a squall hit.
A huge blast of wind and rain struck Guppy, so I took to the helm to steer manually. The first squall was not over yet that the next one was already coming, so in between, I rapidly took down the mainsail. With only the mizzen and the storm-jib up, I am still going at a speed of approximately 7 knots.
This squall again came with lots of rain, but because of the waves splashing all over Guppy, the rain doesn’t wash the salt off from Guppy nor me. Everything inside Guppy is now stowed away seaworthy/shipshape, there is nothing flying around the boat… except for the Smarties that are now lying just about everywhere. Well, if this should be the worst…
Over the course of her journey, Dekker inspired countless people around the world to chase their dreams. Dekker faced the great seas and all the dangers they contain for the chance of adventure. We should all take the lesson to heart.
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