A Dutch girl’s dream of becoming the youngest person to sail solo around the world is to remain just that – for now.
Laura Dekker had planed to make the trip when she was 13 until a court blocked her departure. Back in August, child welfare authorities said it would be irresponsible and she was placed under state supervision. Today the tribunal in Utrecht reviewed that ruling and, far from overturning it, the judge extended state guardianship until next July. While the court said Laura, now 14, appears to be emotionally fit, concerns for her safety remain. It is thought she lacks the necessary sleep management and first aid skills. Laura Dekker’s publicity agent Mariska Woertman said: “If she leaves on July 1, or in the course of the summer of 2010, she will still be in time to be the youngest sailor around the world ever. It will get tricky if it is around October that she can leave.” Laura Dekker was born on her parents’ boat in New Zealand and spent the first four years of her life at sea. Her father has supported her bid to make a two-year solo voyage but her mother believes Laura is not ready just yet.