Laura Dekker to Set Sail around the Globe at 14
Laura Dekker, the 14-year-old sailor, is planning to set sail from Lisbon, Portugal in her attempt to break the record for youngest person to sail solo around the world. The New Zealand-born, Dutch teenager won a long battle with Dutch child protection over allowing Dekker to take the voyage. She originally wanted to set sail at the age of 13. The Dutch family court originally opposed, but two weeks ago they lifted supervision off of her. The country's child protection council had argued Laura Dekker's social and emotional development would be damaged by the two-year voyage, but the court disagreed. It was up to the teenager's parents to decide if she can undertake the trip, the court said. Dekker's mother had been opposed to the journey, but wrote in a national newspaper this month that her daughter should be allowed to go. Social workers in Utrecht, where Dekker lives, said she had met the conditions for making the trip ordered when she was first put under court supervision last year. They included increasing her experience of solo sailing, taking a first aid course and learning to cope with sleep deprivation. The trip will take approximately two years, with Dekker avoiding the storm seasons. She needs to return to Lisbon no later than September 16, 2012 to break the record, said Dekkers lawyer Peter de Lange. If Dekker succeeds, the record will be an unofficial record, and likely to be challenged. Guinness World Records and the World Sailing Speed Record Council no longer recognize youngest records to discourage youths with ambitious parents from seeking a world record, reports ESPN.