(By Jon Amtrup) Dutch teenager Laura Dekker has crossed the Indian Ocean in silence to avoid pirates. The young sailor has now crossed three oceans solo on her way around the world, and she has found the silence of the seas.
Sixteen year old solo sailor Laura Dekker has successfully crossed the Indian Ocean and arrived in Durban, South Africa. On her longest ocean passage so far she passed Ashmore Reef, passed Christmas Island, passed Cocos Keeling and the Chagos Archipelago on her way from Australia to Durban in South Africa.
Both she and her shore crew kept her positions a secret so she wouldn’t be targeted by pirates.
She spent 47 days offshore, and she wasn’t all that keen to return to everyday life when she finally reached Durban.
”Normally I would bounce of joy coming in harbor and this happiness would stay with me for a couple of days. Oh yes, sure I was happy, but I also had mixed feelings knowing that my peaceful time aboard Guppy and harmony with nature were soon to be disrupted. Slowly one after the other skyscrapers rose out of the mist as we approached the large industrial harbor”, she writes, and continues;
” I'd rather be back on the open sea - it's so stressful here with all the people who want to talk to me! It does take getting used to again.”
After a few days in Durban she is now cruising along the south African coast, and her last port of call was Port Elisabeth.
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 didn’t 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 Portsmouth’s 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.
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