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13-Year-Old Girl Wants to Sail Solo Around the World; Dutch Authorities: No

Laura Dekker, a 13-year-old girl from The Netherlands, was told today that she could not pursue her dream to become the youngest solo sailor ever—a record that 17-year-old Mike Perham just set yesterday.

A Dutch court ordered child protection authorities to be the temporary guardian of Dekker for two months while an independent child psychologist decides whether or not Dekker can handle the risky and challenging voyage. She will continue to live with her father, an experienced sailor himself, who fully supports Dekker's quest.

Dekker planned to set sail this Tuesday, September 1, and was going to continue her studies by emailing her school assignments.  Her two-year route was via the Caribbean to Australia and back through the Red Sea, which would take her through the Somali Pirate waters. Judge M. Oostendorp said in an AP article that the trip is too dangerous for a young teen: "She would be confronted with difficult situations that will challenge her mentally and physically."

—Laura Buckley


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