14-Year-Old Sets Out to Sail Around the World Solo

14-Year-Old Sets Out to Sail Around the World Solo

At 14 years old, Laura Dekker will set sail from the Netherlands on Wednesday in her quest to become the youngest person to circumnavigate the world solo. If she succeeds, she will beat the record held by Australian Jessica Watson, who was 16 years old when she completed her voyage around the world.

Laura will first sail from the Dutch harbor Den Osse to Portugal with her father, then embark on her solo voyage from there on her yacht, Guppy. Earlier this year, American teen Abby Sunderland, who attempted to break the world record as youngest to sail around the world, and had to be rescued in the Indian Ocean after a wave snapped the mast of her yacht.

Despite concerns from Dutch child protection agencies about allowing young sailors out at sea for extended periods of time, a family court ruled last week that Laura’s preparations seemed adequate and she is cleared to begin her risky solo voyage around the world. “It’s great that I can now officially say it will happen on Wednesday,” says Laura in her blog.

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