Teen solo sailor to complete circumnavigation

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A 16-year-old Dutch teenager is expected to complete a solo circumnavigation, which will make her the youngest person to sail around the world single-handedly.

“Today is a beautiful sunny day with less wind than yesterday, which makes sailing quiet and easy,” Laura Dekker wrote on her blog on Thursday. “Still, Guppy is going fast enough for us to arrive in Sint Maarten on the 21st. With only 280 nautical miles to go I expect to see the first islands sometime tomorrow [Friday]. This means that today is the last time that my days start in an endless valley of waves and end in an endless valley of waves.”

The record is not an official one as both the Guinness World Records and the World Sailing Speed Record Council no longer recognize records for "youngest" sailors to avoid encouraging dangerous attempts.

Still, as Dekker completes her long voyage with multiple port stays that began at Gibraltar on Aug. 21, 2010, at the age of 14, she wrote she’s looking forward to terra firma.

“I haven't really caught up yet to the idea that in just two days I will be the youngest person to have sailed around the world. But I am looking forward to my arrival. I will have fresh food, I will take a walk or even a little sprint and I will be with my family again.”

Click here for Dekker’s blog.

With the milestone in site, news organizations in both Dekker’s native Netherlands and her adopted home of New Zealand have published reports on where Dekker plans to settle.

“A Dutch teenager who is on the verge of becoming the youngest person to sail around the world single-handedly has vowed never to return to her homeland because she faces being taken into care,” wrote the Sydney Morning Herald. “Laura Dekker has torn down the Dutch tricolor on her yacht, Guppy, to protest against the social workers who have tried to stop her solo voyage.”

Click here for that article.