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Dekker sets sail for the record books

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Dekker sets sail for the record books

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Journalists form around the globe on Wednesday gathered at Den Osse harbour in the Netherlands where, after winning a year-long battle with child welfare authorities, 14-year-old Laura Dekker began her final preparations to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world.

Dekker will initially sail with her father to Portugal before starting the official solo part of her journey.

‘‘We want to be sure that the boat is completely ready, so this is the last test sail, and from Portugal I start officially by myself, sailing alone towards the Canary Islands.”

A Dutch court ended state supervision of the teenager last week, saying she had met all conditions imposed by child welfare authorities and that the journey would pose no risk to her social and emotional development.

With the all clear, Dekker must now complete the two-year trip before she turns 17 in September 2012 if she is to the break the record of the youngest person to sail solo around the globe.