It can be hard to find really cool adventuress female characters in books and TV for girls. They are out there, there’s just not a whole lot to choose from. Which is one of the reasons why stumbling upon stories of female adventurers in REAL life is so great. Well if you’re looking for one such girl, look no further than 16-year-old Laura Dekker, the youngest sailor to sail around the world.
Laura was destined to set sail. She was born in a port in New Zealand. At six she sailed solo for the first time. At 13, Dekker sailed solo from the Netherlands to England and back. Which simply made her want to sail the world more.
Dekker faced many battles just to set out on her around the world voyage. At 13, when her plans to circumnavigate the globe were made public, Dutch child services were called and threatened to put a stop to the plans. After a number of court battles Laura became a ward of the courts and at 15 convinced the courts she was able to make the trip. “If Laura had drowned we would have been accused of not doing enough to protect her. Thank God she’s OK and I think that’s partly due to the safety measures we enforced as part of the condition for allowing her to go.” Said Joost Lanshage from the Netherlands Bureau of Youth Care.
Once she set sail she battled even tougher adversaries including six-meter-high waves, extreme weather and ripped sails during the voyage. Laura dodged near-collisions with cargo ships, and worried about pirates. Plus more, on top of school work.
All together Laura traveled 27,000 nautical miles in her 38-ft yacht named Guppy. She completed the 518-day trek in St. Maarten, ending a yearlong expedition that included stops in the Canary Islands, Panama, the Galapagos Islands, Tonga, Fiji, Bora Bora, Australia, and South Africa.
“I’ve sailed quite enough the past year and especially the past months, 2 oceans within 4 months. Probably I will start missing the sea soon enough and I want to head out again.” Said Laura on her blog.
Not the average life of a teenager for sure. Take some time this week with your SheHero and get to know Laura Dekker. Visit her blog and read about all her adventures first hand along with amazing photos and videos of her journey.