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Daily Dutch News in English

14-year-old Dutch girl Laura Dekker to sail solo around the world

Dutch court have given the green light for 14-year-old Dutch girl Laura Dekker to sail solo around the world.

The court in Middelburg lifted a guardianship order imposed last year, which placed Laura Dekker under the care of child protection services.

Laura must complete the two-year trip before she turns 17 in September 2012 to break the record.
A Dutch court placed Dekker under its supervision last year after she said she was preparing to set off on the voyage while still 13. The order was due to expire this month.

Child care authorities had asked the court to extend its jurisdiction for another year. They have the right to appeal Tuesday’s ruling.

Her father supports her attempt at the record and her mother has dropped her objections to the plan.

Laura is planning to spend about two years aboard her 8m (26ft) boat, Guppy, to break the record set in May by Jessica Watson, 16, of Australia.

But the dangers she faces were highlighted by the rescue last month of another 16-year-old, Abby Sunderland from California. The mast on her boat snapped, leaving her stranded for two days alone on the high seas until she was rescued by a fishing boat and brought to the Indian Ocean island of Reunion.

Laura is planning to start her sailing trip from the Netherlands to Panama via Portugal, and then continue to French Polynesia and the Gulf of Aden. Laura wants to take more time for the sail trip than her predecessor, in the attempt as the youngest sailor to go around the world.

The 14-year-old says to be aware of the dangers the trip entails. She also understands the criticism from the outside world on her actions. “Not everyone can sail solo around the world. Whether I succeed, must still be proven. My parents know at least that I can do it. I grew up with water and a boat. I am even born on a boat.