Teen update: Dekker approaching Australia

Posted: Aug 17, 2011 06:19 am EDT

(By Jon Amtrup)Teen sailor Laura Dekker are soon halfway on her quest to sail around the world. The 15 year old girl are now underway from Vanatu to Darwin, Australia, and she has grown accustomed to the easy lifestyle of sailing from harbor to harbor around the world.

Just over a year ago Laura Dekker finally got away from all the court rulings, media attention and commotion when she left the Dutch Harbor Den Osse with her father on board for the first stretch.

As Dekker sailed further and further away from Europe most of the attention faded away, and she was able to concentrate on the cruising. Now she is only a very young solo sailor following the traditional cruising routes around the world. She used the Panama Canal to get in to the Pacific Ocean.

Its easier to be so far from home than I thought. So far its even better than I expected. It pretty much has become a lifestyle which I totally like, she told her manager, Lyall Mercer, according to Sail World.

She left Vanatu August 8th and is now heading for the notorious Torre Strait. The Torres Straits is the shallow and reef infested stretch of water between Papua New Guinea and Australia. The strait is also heavily trafficked. This will leave the 15 year old girl on her toes and awake for at least 48 hours when she navigates what Captain Cook called a labyrinth.

Heres the latest blog post from Dekker:

Waves are still coming across from the side but Guppy just merrily cuts straight through them at 7 knots (13 kilometers or 8 land miles an hour)... In the morning my very first cargo ship of this leg came in sight, a reminder that the closer I get to the Torres Strait the more cargo ship traffic there will be...

The weather is great, sunny with only a few scattered clouds in the sky and a pleasant 28° C (82,4° F). Today I climbed up the mast to take a photo from up there just to discover that my feathered visitor of a few days ago had left more mess behind! It had also pooped all over the solar panel on the targa frame so that not even a little bit of a solar cell was visible...

In any case this gave me something to do, otherwise the solar panels can not supply the electrical power my electronic equipment and lighting need. So as I kept my balance standing on the railing I scrubbed every square centimeter of the solar panel until it was all clean again. Just as I was finished with this work and turning around I spotted a buoy floating by... A buoy? ... With fishing net attached to it? Luckily, Guppy was going by the buoy 10 meters away from it [30 feet], and then it quickly disappeared over the horizon

The then 14-year old Dutch girl, Laura Dekker, hoisted sail on her 38-foot Jeanneau Ginfizz ketch, Guppy, on August 21, 2010 to sail around the world the next two years. She will be stopping in harbors along the way (and will therefore be assisted).

Dekker needs to complete the two-year trip before she turns 17 on September 20, 2012 to be younger than Jessica Watson who returned three days before her 17th birthday. Her record is by no means official as neither the World Sailing Speed Record Council recognizes the age related records, and because Watson didnt sail the distance that is set as a standard for a round the world voyage. But Dekker has set herself to beat Watson.

Jessica Watson, 16, left Sydney on October 18, 2009 to sail non-stop, unassisted around the world. The Australian girl was born on 18 May 1993.

Both British Mike Perham and American Zac Sunderland sailed around the world assisted. They were 16 when they started their voyages. Zac turned 17 on November 29, 2008 and Mike turned 17 on March 16, 2009.

Mike stayed further out to sea, whereas Zac stayed closer to shore. Zac Sunderland departed on his yacht from Marina del Rey, California on 14 June 2008 and arrived back 13 months later on July 16, 2009. Mike Perham left from Portsmouths Gunwharf Quays on Saturday 15th November 2008 and crossed his finish line on 27 August 2009. He is currently the youngest sailor around the world, assisted.


Laura Dekker has finished her sail around the world in her ketch Guppy.
She is currently sailing Vanatu-Darwin.
The 37 foot long ketch has taken her safely halfway around the world.

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