48 hours on, Laura Dekker’s online trackers still down, Manager says she is fine and well

Laura Dekker

Laura Dekker, in her second outing to be the youngest person to circumnavigate the world solo, has departed secretly from an undisclosed port in Gibraltar — avoiding the media because, her manager said, she didn’t want the attention. Her 38-foot yacht “Guppy” set sail from the British territory bordering the southwestern tip of Spain and the trip is expected to last a year or more according to her manager, Peter Klarenbeek. Her attempt also has a partner in Holland’s MasMedia company, which has exclusive TV rights to film her voyage. Why the secrecy and the subterfuge?
Born on her parents’ boat in New Zealand, Laura spent the first four years of her life at sea and had intended to start a two-year solo, global voyage, but the Utrecht District Court ruled she was too inexperienced, in 2009. Unable to handle the pressure of the media and the legal tangle, she ran away from home and then came back voluntarily to Netherlands, where she was kept under the custory of the Child Care authorities, since her parents are divorced. Her father Dick Dekker who is the driving force behind her seems to be quite confident of his daughter’s big dream to create the ‘youngest sailor’ world record.  There are a number of puzzling corners to this whole ‘exercise as one sees it’, right from what Laura Dekker and her media managers look to achieve from this solo trip.
Laura Dekker aims at breaking the record of Australian sailor Jessica Watson, 16 who completed an epic-solo trip around the world after 210 days at sea and having sailed 23,000 nautical miles. It was non-stop, and she was connected to the world at all times through her video blog enabling her support system to monitor her progress, from any part of the globe, with the help of a delighted global community. The bonhomie and the meticulous engagement with the outside world seems to be lacking in this case with not a single update on her trip since she set sail on Saturday August 21, 2010. None of the site links that updates and charts her progress seems to be working 3 days she embarked on Guppy.

She is en route to Spain’s Canary Islands or Portugal’s Madeira Island, depending on the wind, after which she plans to head through the Panama Canal to the Pacific Ocean, and on to Australia, the southern tip of India and through the Suez Canal en route to the Mediterranean.
Her first 48 hours seems to have gone smoothly, according to her manager, Peter Klarenbeek , who says  “she plans to spend at least two months in the Canary Islands 1,380 kilometers (858 miles) off Spain’s southwestern tip waiting for the Atlantic storm season to abate. While there she will catch up on her schoolwork, receive family visits and install cameras on her yacht for a film to be made of the voyage”. Described as wise, impatient, “mature for her age” and  “uniquely qualified for the ambitious sea venture because she grew up with her father on a boat,”the worldwide web has been simmering with gathering outrage against a 14-year old being let alone at sea, on a 38-foot yacht, with the memories of Abby Sunderland, a 16-year-old American, had to be rescued in a remote section of the Indian Ocean during an attempt to circle the globe.
Also, if Laura completes the voyage, any record she claims would be unofficial and likely to be challenged. The Guinness’ World Records and the World Sailing Speed Record Council have decided they will no longer recognize records for “youngest” sailors to avoid encouraging dangerous attempts.

Here is Laura Dekker setting sail for Portugal, intending to start her journey from an undisclosed location.
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Comments

7 Responses to “48 hours on, Laura Dekker’s online trackers still down, Manager says she is fine and well”

  1. Abbey August 24, 2010 at 9:44 pm #

    Don care wht her manager is saying. Looks like her parents and manager just wanna use her as ladder for their fame and success. Its a shame how these kind of incidents are used to make money by parents. I recollect how some parent US lied that his 3 year old son flew away in a hot balloon. For almost 2 days they had all the media and limelight on them, only to find later that actually they had kept him in the garage. Its Sick.

    • hutch October 18, 2010 at 7:38 pm #

      Leave her and her family alone. If her trackers r down, how r u track’g her? U go Laura! God Bless You!

  2. Justin August 24, 2010 at 9:47 pm #

    Whats sick about this? Todays youngsters are far mature than your generation probably. Look around and you’l see how they achieve at young age

  3. Martha August 24, 2010 at 9:50 pm #

    If you observe how Jessica Watson and Roz Savage’s voyages where conducted, you will see it was well organized, planned and laid out. I don see that kind of professionalism and planned effort here. That is what is making this one very crafty if not dangerous for that little girl. I heard she would even be returning midway to complete her studies..Tat is weird for a voyage of this kind

  4. Marzipan36 August 24, 2010 at 9:53 pm #

    Spot on, mate. These low lives will do anything for their 15 minutes of fame ( damn you Warhol). That Balloon episode was disgusting.So is that Abby whatever who peed in her derriers when the ocean turned on the juice. What if the equipment breaks down?What if she gets violently sick?This idiot manager is gonna airlift to her boat?And for F***ks sake, get her website location trackers working, you idiots. Its a 14 year old out in the sea, for chrissakes!

    • prince August 25, 2010 at 6:40 am #

      i dont understand the outrage a bit. here is an youngster setting out to venture the ocean all by herself without waiting for any opinion polls. u dont approve of her ways then please dont track the story. shut the computers and switch off the tv and enjoy. one has no reason to complain uless her act is causing anyone any loss. according to me she is setting out for the biggest and most valuable experiences the life can offer and which no university degree can substitute. how i wisk i could do it too.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Jessica Watson onboard as Queensland's season of sailing ambassador | WowElle - August 24, 2010

    [...] On Saturday, 21 Aug 2010, a Dutch sailor Laura Dekker who is just 14, embarked from Gibraltar aboard a 38-foot boat on a quest to make it safely around the world alone. Dekker, who dodged the media before her departure, hopes to complete her multi-stop journey within t… [...]

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