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Should teen sailor's plan be scuttled?

August 27th, 2009
09:38 AM ET

As 17-year-old Mike Perham from England looks set to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world, a young Dutch girl four years his junior is already setting her sights on eclipsing that record.

However, Laura Dekker, 13, faces a court battle as welfare services in the Netherlands bid to stop her quest.

Should a 13-year-old Dutch girl be allowed to sail solo around the world?

Laura's parents support her plans but the Dutch Council for Child Protection believes the trip is too dangerous and wants temporary custody of the teen.

What do you think? Is it irresponsible to allow a child of this age to embark on such a challenge or should her spirit of adventure be supported?

Let us know your thoughts below — and we’ll use them as part of our coverage in the show tonight.

Filed under:  General
soundoff (153 Responses)
  1. D. P.

    Wholly up to the parents to decide.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:13 am | Reply
  2. Sanjay Manohar

    I think its ridiculous to let a 13 year old circumnavigate the world. The risks are so great that its like a death sentence on the child. I believe the parents should be sued for criminally negligence to even allow a child of that age to consider such a thing. How different is this from locking a child in a parked car in the sun ? People get jailed for that, right ?

    Even if nothing goes wrong, the task is so tough that it may leave a lasting adverse impact, both physiological & psychological on that child.

    What on earth are the parents trying to prove here ?

    August 27, 2009 at 10:14 am | Reply
  3. Dresden

    Why should she be allowed? She's 13 for crying out loud. She is in her precious years when she'll become a woman and a person. She can't handle the difficulties facing her around the world as she's got no experience at all. Where are the parents?!

    August 27, 2009 at 10:24 am | Reply
  4. Paolo Zeriali, Italy

    Her spirit of adventure should be supported, she should be allowed to do it. This story reminds my young age. When I was 13 yrs old, I too wanted to do something like this, maybe on the land not in the sea. I was not allowed and I ran from home, seriously risking my life. Repression is not the solution. If we want to defend our civilization, first of all we must defend freedom.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:26 am | Reply
  5. Evert

    Let her go. I've heard/seen her in various interviews and I think she can pull it off.

    Pretty soon it's out of the hands of the Dutch government anyway. Laura has a double nationality and is planning on simply 'emigrating' from the Netherlands. Then it's up to the government of her other nationality (New Zealand) to stop her... 😉

    August 27, 2009 at 10:27 am | Reply
  6. Michalis Kotzakolios

    I agree it's a decision best left to the parents and the young lady herself. As a teacher, I've encountered many 13 year olds who were physically and emotionally well beyond their years.

    One would assume that appropriate precautions will be taken and that she is a compentent sailor with the training needed to achieve her goal.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:30 am | Reply
  7. Rainer Hoppe

    A sailor educated in overcoming those challenges presented by the Atlantic ocean is not limited by age. If a 13 year old girl passed all tests required and received all permits neccessary to sail the open ocean she should be allowed the same rights as a 30 year old; as long as the courses missed in school are made up at a later time.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:31 am | Reply
  8. Lerner Lone

    In ancient times, doing this would be no big deal: younger persons set sail acround the globe (as it was) and younger still made discoveries. The question that arises is: "Who is Laura Dekker: can she do this?" If she can, if she, and her parents and her supporters, know she can, then go for it! Age (either younger person or older person) should never limit human adventure, human ambition, human achievement. Age, as the saying goes, is only a number. Nothing more.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:32 am | Reply
  9. Daphne

    The main thing is that's she plans to sail alone, if there would be rescue teams present at all times just in case, why not.
    She's thirteen but probably has better skills in sailing than most adults. I think it should be up to her and her parents but for safety there should be a vessel near her al the time.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:36 am | Reply
  10. Angela

    the girl should be allowed to sail around the world if she feels confident enough about it and she's experienced enough. I think it's great that her parents support and more adults today should be promoting it, if their child is up for it. Yes, the sea is a dangerous place but anywhere in the world is. She could get kidnapped off her doorstep.People have to weigh the pro's and con's. It would an experience of a lifetime, give her a chance!

    August 27, 2009 at 10:38 am | Reply
  11. Michael

    The decision should be left to the parents of the girl to decide whether she is capable and what degree of risk they are willing to let her take. Whether I, or the Dutch authorities agree with their decision or not is largely irrelevant provided the parents are not neglecting or abusing the child and provided her actions do not put others at risk. I'm sure they have considered this decision very carefully and will do their best to plan and ensure she has enough provision to undertake the trip. You don't do this kind of thing from ignorance or by whim. Given the moral decline of the West and Europe in particular, I can't think of a safer place to be than all alone at sea. It worked out well for Robinson Crusoe.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:39 am | Reply
  12. nancy koper

    She is a child. Too young to make these decisions-this isn't the Middle Ages or 'ancient times' anymore. She was planning to go through the Panama and Suez Canals - ideal stopping off places to meet pirates. Storms on the Atlantic? Long periods of being alone...read what adult solo sailors have said about these.

    Let the parents try the solo voyage with the same boat, same equipment, etc., etc., one after the other (so one will remain behind to care for Laura). See how they feel afterwards.
    By then she ought to be about 16 .

    August 27, 2009 at 10:42 am | Reply
  13. Jordi

    I think it's irresponsible for such a young person to solo around the world.

    No matter how well prepared she may be, there's always the risk of something going wrong. I agree those risks are also present if she were 18 instead of 13, but she way she'd react to them may not be.

    Suppose she goes, and everything goes right. That would be great. Now suppose something goes wrong and she gets hurt or killed. How would the parents feel about letting her go then?

    I consider myself an openminded person, but I just cannot understand why any sensible parent would support a scheme that puts a 13-year-old at risk.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:53 am | Reply
  14. cologneami

    Fine let them go on their adventures but I personally feel they and their parents are being reckless. I think there has to be a point when society/governments need to draw the line and say "no" to such stunts. Sure, when they accomplish it eveyone will consider them heroes and they'll go from one TV show to the next basking in praise and glory. BUT when it goes wrong there will be an outcry that something should be done to save these poor "children". Why should rescue teams risk their lives for because these kids want fame and glory. Will their parents pay the costs? Imagine when a rescuer loses his/her life? How will these kids and their parents feel then? Also where does it end? The girl is 13 and wants the record, in a few years how do tell an 11 or 12 he/she is now too young.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:55 am | Reply
  15. Mark

    She will learn more on her 2 year journey than she ever would in a class room. People talk about the dangers but the dangers are the same if she is 13 or 33. My daughter is 6 now and if she would like to do the same thing when she is 13 I would stand behind her 100%.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:56 am | Reply
  16. MIKCTR

    Heaven help a world where governments are allowed to make decisions like this – if it is right that it should do so. Granted, there are idiot parents out there, but the governments are not going to corral them all up and protect us from stupidity. I applaud parents who know their child well enough to believe that they have the ability and the stamina to do something 'out of the ordinary'. Plus, is it REALLY that dangerous? The world now has "911" services and boats to follow and all kinds of 'safety measures' that it used to not have. Robin Lee Graham had to NAVIGATE! Now there's GPS and all kinds of gadgetry that lowers any kinds of risks. Maybe the question should be: Is it that big of a deal anymore if she succeeds?

    August 27, 2009 at 10:58 am | Reply
  17. Ed. Fern

    My daughter is 13 and I would not let her put herself in harms way like that. Day to day living does enough of that. There are just too many things that can go wrong. How would the parents justify this to themselves if it all went horribly wrong? "She was doing something she loved", with an undercurrent of, "we could have prevented this"? That will haunt them forever.

    The power of nature is enough to make me say no, never to this idea. Then there's pirates of course. And what about the loneliness? Is this 13 year old equipped for that?

    Please don't let this happen. There's no need for it. No one really cares about those records.

    August 27, 2009 at 11:01 am | Reply
  18. Arnout

    A little more background would make it easier to judge on this. Here goes. Laura Dekker's parents are both professional sailors. She was born mid ocean while her parents were sailing around the globe. She's been sailing since she was 4, and has successfully sailed from country to country all by herself. I must admit, when I first heard the story I thought it was irresponsible on the part of the parents. But now I know the background I am in favor.

    August 27, 2009 at 11:02 am | Reply
  19. Olivier

    If she is marooned or captured by pirates or even decent-looking people on yachts, what is to stop her being brutally assaulted? Who would protect her?

    August 27, 2009 at 11:09 am | Reply
  20. Dag P. Froehmcke

    Netherland's authorities shouldn't stop her from sailing. If that would have been done in past the Netherlands would never have become the seafaring nation they used to be in the past. Some people have short memories. Let her sail !

    August 27, 2009 at 11:13 am | Reply
  21. Johan

    I would like to point out something completely different. According international regulations, it's not allowed to sail solo around the world at all. All vessels are required to keep a lookout at all times. Something which is quite hard to do considering a persons needs sleep as well.

    As Chief Officer on merchant vessels, I have had (many) close encounters with sailing yachts. In rough weather and/or poor visibility, it is hardly possible to distinguish a sailing yacht from waves. Add a poor rigged lighting with a minimum visibility range, and you've got all the ingredients for a mystery.

    I can already see the headlines, a year after her departure, on CNN.com: "Solo-sail adventure turns into mystery as yacht disapears"

    Laura Dekker shouldn't sail solo. Nobody should!

    August 27, 2009 at 11:16 am | Reply
  22. Dennis

    I've spent 17 years of my life in the Netherlands.
    In general, the government is way too involved in issues of child rearing – and not doing very good at it either.
    On the other hand, this girl is a minor, and a minor should not be given the choice to risk their lives.
    This "adventure" is potentially deadly to even the most skilled of sailors and to allow it simply because she has sufficient skill to have a high probability of being able to pull it off just doesn't cut it in my book.
    Sounds like a bunch of glory seekers (emphasis on the parents) that need their heads examined.
    Might be something for social services to look into after all...

    August 27, 2009 at 11:25 am | Reply
  23. Katie Malone

    It's entirely up to the parents of course, but personally I think it would be an amazing adventure for her.

    August 27, 2009 at 11:28 am | Reply
  24. Marijn Rongen

    It shouldn't be allowed, there is a 'learning duty' in the Netherlands which states that a child should be in school until the age of 18, or have a steady job.
    She has the Dutch nationality and lives in the Netherlands, so she and her parents know very well that this attempt would spark controversy.

    If they wanted, they could've emigrated and got on with their attempt unhindered. In my opinion this is a deliberate act to gain national and international attention for her attempt and it seems to work.

    Removing this child from her parents' care is a bit of an over-reaction but the position of the parents in this matter do make you think about their sense of responsibility, or rather the lack thereof.

    August 27, 2009 at 11:30 am | Reply
  25. Bob Medrala

    As a parent, I would never permit my 13 year old child to undertake this "challenge" when there are so many more meaningful and developmentally beneficial challenges that this young teenager could and should take on at this time of her life. There are good reasons why most modern and civilized societies do not allow their children to do some of the riskier things that adults are allowed to do. Laura Dekker can pursue her love of sailing while staying in school and experiencing all the wonderful things that teenagers should be enabled to experience instead of a life alone on the high seas for the next two years. When she becomes an adult at the age of 18, Laura can then pursue such life-threatening challenges. Till then, her parents should do their job of doing what's in her best interests. And by the way, they should enjoy their time with Laura now because they won't have nearly so much of her time when she becomes an adult.

    August 27, 2009 at 11:32 am | Reply
  26. Frank van Rhee

    Laura should be allowed to sail solo around the world, but at age 18, not at age 13. Her main motive for doing it is not the trip itself, but that she will be the youngest person ever to do it, thereby securing herself a place in the Guinness book of records. A very dubious motive. Soon we'll have a 12 year old who wishes to break her record. Laura thinks she's a very gifted and rare talent and that's OK, but she and her parents may be experienced sailors, but I think they underestimate the dangers.

    August 27, 2009 at 11:37 am | Reply
  27. Jason Zaffuto

    I'm sure her parents saw the previous record and thought, "Hey, my 13 daughter could do that and we wouldn't mind the attention and money that would come from this". There is absolutely no way a parent in their right mind, who loves their child, would let them do this. Its no wonder child services wants custody of this kid. This is clearly the parents wanting attention from everyone in the world and for the world to see their kid. If something happens out there, by the time rescue comes it will be too late.

    August 27, 2009 at 11:46 am | Reply
  28. Dr. Tarun Kumar Sheel

    I certainly don't think that 13 years girl should be sailed by herself. It is dangerous and will encourage other underaged children in future.

    August 27, 2009 at 11:50 am | Reply
  29. Hans Mekenkamp, Almelo, the Netherlands

    A 13 year old child is still growing. Fysically and psychologically. That is the reason why it is irresponsable to let her sail arround the world a a young lady. Let her finish school and sail then accross the planet. She can enjoy it then much more.
    Futhermore the law says that she has to go to school till her 16th birthday.

    August 27, 2009 at 11:52 am | Reply
  30. Dalibor Posta

    I do not think 13 year old can make qualified jugment about spending next year lone on a boat battling seas. Thats where parents should step up.
    It is one thing if a grown up person makes something very dangerous to be famous (which I think is foolish) and if such decision makes a child.

    August 27, 2009 at 11:55 am | Reply
  31. Nakimandu, barbados

    At least she's doing something positive and not making babies. It's up to her parents what she does. Children are being abused and no one tries to get temporary custody of them. If that what the girl wants, she would need to understand no one is feeling for her and she needs to do hardcore training like anybody else, both mentally and physically. If anything happens its her parents business and their fault. And if she still wants, let her go.I'm behind you all the way baby girl!!!!

    August 27, 2009 at 12:12 pm | Reply
  32. Alfredo Morales

    I assume that this teen has been extensible and rigorously trained in all ocean and sea navigation aspects as well as great skill to control the vessel she will navigate through the definitely dangerous marine conditions she will surely encounter. Is the vessel at hand fit for this endeavor? Are the provisions carried to survive such a colossal feat adequate for this trek? Does it have an emergency beacon device as well as a good working emergency communication system? If all this is readily available, will she be escorted in some manner, in the event she runs into trouble? Remember the pirates? Would she be protected from the potential of piracy? These questions answered might give most, a more reassuring confidence in the parent’s decision to allow such a journey to be undertaken by their child. I do believe that this child has the will and the determination to complete this rare achievement since her parents have agreed to let her do it. If she is ready, I encourage and admire her adventurous spirit! We all have that will in us in some way or another; we just have to execute it!
    Good luck Karen! You are what encourages others to follow their dreams…God be with you!

    August 27, 2009 at 12:24 pm | Reply
  33. G Lauprecht

    It is up to her parents to decide according to the level of risk. This level depends on diverse factors such as the extent of her experience, health, intellect and the degree of support she will have during her voyage.

    August 27, 2009 at 12:26 pm | Reply
  34. Steph

    My 6-year old wants to fly to the moon...Mmh, what should I tell him?

    August 27, 2009 at 12:33 pm | Reply
  35. Francesca Agrusa

    Dutch people are very brave and by history they have proved to be one of the best nation of sailors discovering and settling in new lands across the ocean. It is part of who they are so I am not surprised if this little girl has in her blood the call of her ancestors. I can only admire such a spirit but more so her parents to encourage and support her early freedom. I am sure they know she has the capability and the strength for this adventure. We should be all pleased to hear that in this doomed to end society we live in, where our planet has been fogotten by many, there are still few young hearts out there willing to even lose their life for the last glimpse of our mother earth.

    August 27, 2009 at 12:35 pm | Reply
  36. Savio Lopes

    It would be a great idea to give the child an oppurtunity, however with all this media attention it is now unsafe if not earlier.

    August 27, 2009 at 12:46 pm | Reply
  37. Bob

    I am surprised at the interpretations which hint at a pushing role of the parents. It is the other way around, rather: A typically modern, overly spoilt girl who has set her mind on something ridiculous. She probably has the skills to sail. But that is not the same as having a 100% insurance for survival. If she is assaulted or has an accident and survives the ordeal, she will always say to her parents: I was thirteen! How could you let me do it?

    August 27, 2009 at 1:13 pm | Reply
  38. Michelle Bester

    The issue is not her sailing around the world. Sure, she may be experienced, she may be mature for her age.

    The issue is her going SOLO. If any other child of that age were left on their own, whether it be in a house, cave, boat or car for a long period of time, everyone would be crying abuse.

    August 27, 2009 at 1:18 pm | Reply
  39. Paul

    The world is full of people – both private and public – who want to tell others how to live. In some places, it could even be said that everything which isn't forbidden is mandatory.

    If we assume her parents are reasonably responsible, it should be up to them to decide.



    August 27, 2009 at 1:35 pm | Reply
  40. Jay

    Let her, what's the difference between a 13 and 17 year old kid??
    It's as dangerous to a 30 year old to sail the world as to a 17 or 13 year old.
    She has all the necessary diploma's
    Her parents think she can do it... what more do you need....
    It's narrow minded persons who stand in the way of greatness

    August 27, 2009 at 1:46 pm | Reply
  41. angelus domini

    i feel that the girl is too small in age to embark on such a voyage she should become at least 16yrs in age to go on such voyage.meanwhile she can mentally prepare herself as the voyage is pretty tough.parents should discourage her and not support her.

    August 27, 2009 at 1:50 pm | Reply


    August 27, 2009 at 1:56 pm | Reply
  43. Anti

    I think it is irresponsible because tax payers' money of other countries would have to be used if the girl gets into trouble and has to get assistance or be rescued. The parents would not pay the costs!!!! If one does a daring thing, then be prepared to face all consequences and not rely on the kindness of other citizens.

    August 27, 2009 at 1:59 pm | Reply
  44. Bob

    I know a girl with an IQ of 130 who decided at the age of twelve to follow 'housewifery school' instead of going to high school and university.
    Just because she wanted to be with her girlfriends in the peer group.
    Never trust the judgment of pre-adolescents.

    August 27, 2009 at 2:07 pm | Reply
  45. Richard

    A 13 year old child isn't even able to sign a contract! She needs to have excelent navigation skills and technical skills aswell. She can damage propperty an get raped by pirates or worse. One of the most stupid things i have heard for a while!

    August 27, 2009 at 2:12 pm | Reply
  46. Steve F

    Without taking risks, we'd still be living in the Stone Age. This girl is representative of those heroes who dare to think differently, who dare to do what others fear to do. If the parents are convinced the individual knows and understands the risks, then it is THEIR choice.

    If we allow Child Protective Services to interfere, then where do we draw the line? Will they begin to DICTATE at what age we can leave our kids at home? When they can watch their first PG-rated movie? When they are allowed to stay out late? What their curfews should be according to age?

    Let's use some common sense and let the parents decide with the child. That girl could be the next Einstein, Bill Gates, or Henry Ford...

    August 27, 2009 at 2:36 pm | Reply
  47. Ger

    Driving a car can be more deadly and dangerous than sailing a boat, yet I do it every day. Danger is a very subjective perception. If I have the proper training I wouldn't consider a task dangerous, you learn to deal with risky situations and you avoid getting into one. I'm assuming she won't sail in a boat the size of a shoe box and it certainly would be a sea worthy vessel that can hold enough provisions, tools etc to deal with most situations. If she isn't scared to cross the North Sea which is a very busy shipping lane, why should a longer trip be any different. We hail a 17 yr old and appose a 13 yr old with the same level of experience. Is it because it is a girl? Apparently her age is being judged more than her capabilities. Dangerous coastal areas are usually patrolled and I don't think she is that stupid to sail into storms rather than go around them. It's wrong to think something is dangerous if you yourself are too scared to do it. For the other reasons, she can attend school by radio, the teacher can give her plenty of homework and she'll have plenty of time to do it. She'll have a better story to tell about her life than most other people.

    August 27, 2009 at 2:56 pm | Reply
  48. Karen

    She may well have all the necessary diplomas and technical skills, but does she have the physical strength to do battle with an often-violent ocean? I read that at one time a wave tipped the 17 year-olds boat on its side, and he was barely able to right it. Would a 13 year-old-girl be capable of it? I don’t think so.

    August 27, 2009 at 3:03 pm | Reply
  49. Yemi

    Why not???
    I am from Nigeria in Africa, and we have a proverb that says "There is no crime if a child insists on getting leprous, provided the same child can live alone in the forest as a result...." The Girl should not be stopped by any means, before you know it, the same record will be broken by toddlers soon.
    But frankly it sounds ridiculous!!!
    Yemi, Lagos, Nigeria

    August 27, 2009 at 3:23 pm | Reply
  50. Martin Ghéczy, Switzerland

    Even if she is very mature for her age, 13 seems extremly young for confronting the many dangers of the open sea. It is good to encourage young people to discover the world but it should be a fairly reasonable risk. At 13, this task just seems too tall. Also I think the parents will never forgive themselves should anything tragic happen. All the best, Martin Switzerland

    August 27, 2009 at 4:01 pm | Reply
  51. Maaike

    She could also die, riding her bike – all by her self ! – thru the beautiful streets of Amsterdam. Would her parents be to blame? "Trafic" IS potentially deadly...

    She is well trained, eager and bright : I wish her good luck !

    August 27, 2009 at 5:18 pm | Reply
  52. Bettina

    I think in the UK you're not allowed to leave a 12-year-old on her own in the house ... This is just a desperate try to get publicity (do they have a book deal signed?) and cash in on it. Also, I doubt that she would be physically strong enough for this voyage. And then, what's next? A 9-year-old from Kentucky single-handedly flying around the globe in a hot air balloon?

    August 27, 2009 at 5:29 pm | Reply
  53. joao

    For me this is absurd. People started to do strange thinks sometimes only to prove their capacity or curiosity. The guinness obsession get peoples trap in their own egocentrism.

    August 27, 2009 at 6:05 pm | Reply
  54. Lionel De landtsheer

    We fight since years for our freedom, people are too jealous cause they can't do it , if it is her dream let her go. Sometimes children are more mature than adults.

    August 27, 2009 at 6:33 pm | Reply
  55. Heather

    A 13 year old child cannot possibly be mature enough to fully understand the risks and dangers involved in such a quest. In my opinion, her parents should go to jail for child neglect and endangerment if they were to actually let her go on this journey. Her parents can support her either by going along for the ride or hiring a skilled sailor to go along with her. I would comprimise and take my daughter on a cruis ship aroud the world:)

    August 27, 2009 at 8:16 pm | Reply
  56. Jude

    Dutch Government should never allow her do such a things,is she drunk or is she on drugs what is she and her parents thinking that's does not sound good to me as a human being please dont let her kill herself please.

    August 27, 2009 at 8:30 pm | Reply
  57. Jamil

    She said that at court that "she never sailed a meter", so how could she said around the world alone!
    they shall not let her do so, there difference between dreams and rationality

    August 27, 2009 at 8:31 pm | Reply
  58. Chris

    Laura has seawater in her veins instead of blood. She should be allowed to make this journey. She is mature and experienced enough to pull this off. More so than
    many older then her. I am in my forties, but I wouldn't attempt this.

    But this has become a political issue. She is an easy target.
    Government officials here in the Netherlands should make more effort to target
    11, 12, 13 year old (little) criminals. But in those cases they prefer to turn a blind eye...

    August 27, 2009 at 8:43 pm | Reply
  59. pj

    We need more people like this.

    The only issue I have is that we'll have to pay for rescue if something goes wrong – but that's a call for privatisation of rescue services, not a reason to limit personal initiative.

    August 27, 2009 at 8:48 pm | Reply
  60. Huw Thomas

    Let her go and see how far she gets.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:46 pm | Reply
  61. Jakub

    Absolutely let her do it. I'd love to get back 10 years in my life and pursue all the exciting things that I dreamt of instead of listening to my parents who kept saying "study, study, you will get a good job". Got my MSc in a top school in UK and my employment prospects look as gloomy as after my high school.

    Let her do what she wants to do. I admire her parents that they allow her to do it. This may be a life changing experience and may shape her for the rest of her life, instead of making her another average person in this world.

    August 27, 2009 at 11:51 pm | Reply
  62. Lilia

    I hope the the dutch Council for child protection, takes permanent custody of the teen. After all no one really cares about those records.

    August 28, 2009 at 12:32 am | Reply
  63. Nakimandu, barbados

    I believe she should do it if she thinks she can but she would have to be as confident and competent as the others members of the competition. If her parents are fighting for it then they dont see anything wrong with it. At least she is not having sex and making eight babies at a time. It is something positive. I f anything happens its her parents fault. I say she should go if she thinks she is ready.

    August 28, 2009 at 2:10 am | Reply

    She should be allowed to go, anyone who has hopes and dreams should be allowed to chase them, who are we to shatter them if she wants to follow in her parents footsteps let her. I think she deserves it 100% and if i were her parents i would be proud to have a daughter with as much courage as laura Dekker to know that there are dangers she will face and is still willing to put up one hell of a fight to achieve her goals.you people out there trying to stop this 13yr old girl from conquering her dreams of being the youngest girl to sail around the world, you have dreams yourself, go after them one of my goals in life is to help this girl wake from this dream of hers and some day soon find it achieved. may God be with her.

    August 28, 2009 at 3:41 am | Reply
  65. glenn

    you yanks are unbelievable! with your hypocritical sense of parenting and what a child should/ should not do.

    You people have the highest rate of teenagers having guns and incidents of school/ college shootings through the roof, but hey.... atleast they weren't allowed to do something "risky and adventurous" right?


    August 28, 2009 at 5:39 am | Reply
  66. John Doe

    Calm down people. Look at the boat these rich kids drive. They look like space shuttle cockpits with all sorts of electronic gizmos. They are not alone. They are in constant contact with their handlers. Then the western navy would escort them when in trouble! Put things in perspective. 15 minutes of glory requires some effort.

    August 28, 2009 at 5:58 am | Reply
  67. Raphael Kahn

    Any one who has crossed the oceans in a sailing yacht will know how insane this is. I have the greatest respect for those solo sailors, as I have crossed various oceans by sailing boat as crew. I also know it is totally irresponsible of the parents to allow a 13 year old girl to do this solo trip. Hope sanity prevails above sensationalism.

    August 28, 2009 at 6:05 am | Reply
  68. Fred

    It amazes me that the government steps in to prevent extraordinary individuals from pursuing great deeds and yet does not step in to prevent dead beat dole bludgers from having child after child to follow them into poverty. Perhaps this is why we are descending into mediocraty, governments only act to protect the "rights" of the criminals and cons, I will include bankers and their ilk as well.

    August 28, 2009 at 10:08 am | Reply
  69. Matthew Marsh

    I remember a case similar to this 10 years back. Some jackass wanted his 8-9 year old to be be the first pilot to cross the US for the world record. The girl was so small her feet could barely reach the rudder pedals. Around the 3rd leg of the trip the plane crashed on takeoff, killing her, the idiot father, and her flight instructor.

    On a personal note my uncled crossed the Atlantic solo on a smail sailboat, the experiance nearly killed him -he never did it again. The Altantic is no joke.

    So is this a good idea? Absolutely not. Incarcerating the parents seems like a much better one.

    August 28, 2009 at 10:09 am | Reply
  70. philippe mihailovich

    Yes of course, BUT she should simply have a protection boat following nearby. simple. what's the problem?

    August 28, 2009 at 10:27 am | Reply
  71. Robinson Crusoe

    She is too young for this ardous journey and sent her on her way is like sending her to the concentration camp.Such a journey need a person who is more experience and strong to take on hard decisions like encountering problems and pirates along the way. Been so young and inexperience will make her more prong to mistakes which will lead to lost of life and will scare her for the rest of her life.

    In a expedition like this, it's more of experience than age.Still I say she is too young and I will grieve if she lost her young life at sea while trying out this stupid dream.

    August 28, 2009 at 10:46 am | Reply
  72. Jan

    402 years ago. Michiel de Ruyter was born. Sailed out as shipsmate when he was 11. Captured and used as slave at age of 16 in Spain and returned trough Portugal, Spain and France (all countries with different language where the Dutch were in war with) home. Dit this affect his live?? Michiel is one of the most best sailors of the world. Defeated the English 3 times, Invented the Marines,freed by his own money and courage 12 Christian (Hungarian Munks) out of Muslim area and was one of the few peaople allowed into Japan. He died at age of 69 during a battle in Italy. He is still honored in numerous cuntries for his bravery, intelligenge en social capacities.

    The prime minister has said the Dutch should show their VOC mentality. Laura and her parents do what he wants! Unfortunately the grown up politicians can not be trusted.

    August 28, 2009 at 2:02 pm | Reply
  73. Tsalhatu

    Should a13 year old have chocolate? Should a 13 year old have a gun? Answer these questions then weight the outcomes for a 13 year old all alone at sea; certainly a reckless ambition with a child being heralded as the ‘front’ by the parents.

    August 28, 2009 at 2:46 pm | Reply
  74. yankcolt

    I certainly don't think this is only the parents decision. Who pays for her rescue should she flounder at sea? The parents? Of course not...we all do. That in and of itself widens the decision making base.

    I have a hard time believing that this young girl one day said to her parents "gee, you know...I have always wanted to sail around the world by myself...can I do it now, mommy and daddy?" I cannot imagine allowing a 13 year old daughter wander off on her own to circumnavigate the earth. It is just plain irresponsible. If she has the will now and it is genuine then she should have the will in a few years and can, in the meantime, challenge smaller goals....and go to school. If she cannot do this then it is just a whim and all the more dangerous.

    August 28, 2009 at 5:25 pm | Reply
  75. James

    When I was 13 I spent most of my time out in the woods, I completely dropped out of school when I was 14 and spent even more time in the woods. Later I got my HSED through home schooling when I was 19. Let kids be young and explore, kids are smarter than their own parents now a days anyway.

    August 28, 2009 at 5:47 pm | Reply
  76. yankcolt

    James, I'd say wandering around the woods and circumnavigating the world solo is a little bit different, wouldn't you? I am a sailor and a woodsman. I can tell you which is more perilous. It's not the woods. And I am not 13.

    August 28, 2009 at 6:36 pm | Reply
  77. Jay Young

    This is what happens when we promote world records for the youngest, oldest, or first anyone to accomplish such daring feats. We set the stage for a younger, older, etc. persons to come along and challenge the current "record". So why should it shock us that a 13 year old now has her sights on beating this young man's record? With all the negativity in the news I am impressed with children who take an interest in the world around them outside of video games. However, while I support her desire to achieve her goal, I do believe it would be a mistake to allow her to attempt it at 13 years of age. The parents should sit her down and explain the dangers and maybe agree to help her get the experience she needs to top Perham's record when she is a little older and experienced. All the previous entries calling for punishing her parents for allowing her to consider this is nonsense. They shouldn't be punished but perhaps educated on the dangers.

    August 28, 2009 at 9:03 pm | Reply
  78. Sherry Wu

    Maybe it's not good for child. I think parents should not let their children go.
    It's too dangerous for a 13 years old child to travel around the world,
    In the trip, he may suffer many difficulties when he could not solve. The spirit of this brave is good but the truth is that world is not what you think.

    August 29, 2009 at 2:08 am | Reply
  79. Georges Collier

    I was at sea for 12 years myself and i have seen some rough weather especially the atlantic and the golf of biscay . i was on merchantshipping and i have seen waves that came as high as 60feet and over so imagine a little girl in a sailboat handle that and as for the lawer that went in to court to plea on this matter i'll take him with me on a trip for a month and i'll bet ya he will call for his mama within the first week, people like him should be barred for even taking this to court. And the father should have his head examined for even contemplating to let her go. just wait untill she gets to suez see what happens there or the red sea well the list is long and prosper of dangerous places. i only have 1 word for this NUTS

    August 29, 2009 at 4:37 am | Reply
  80. krishnan

    tell her parent to give her a good education instead breaking the
    world records – it is stupidity.

    August 29, 2009 at 8:39 am | Reply
  81. Gaphils Matason

    The girl should be allowed to fulfil her destiny. This is a brave new world, as it were. Perhaps we may learn more about child psychology, human experience, reality, and much more besides, after her daring odyssey.

    August 29, 2009 at 1:20 pm | Reply
  82. Maurice

    I do think it is right for her voyage to happen so that her right to protection i.e Laura by her parents is not undermined by the authorities because her parents are in favor of her best interests that is much more above that of the authorities and provided it is up to authorities standards then it can happen over and over again for that right of parental guidance over her child to be felt that it has been strengthened by the authorities and hence both parent and child are happier and hence the authorities become qualified that they have offered much more better services i.e better child protection and hence Netherlanders parental society may henceforth become better out of that.

    August 29, 2009 at 1:28 pm | Reply
  83. Edda

    Let her parents take responsibility and when something goes wrong , let me be sarcastic they make another child to substitute the one thats gone. The life of a child, the most precious thing parents should enjoy and protect doesnt count any more in our time.

    August 29, 2009 at 7:40 pm | Reply
  84. Dimitrios Chronopoulos

    It is our society's clear failure to regard her as a "hero" in case she succeeds. We should definitely change our perception of valid objectives and achievements in life and stop seeking ever bolder so called challenges!

    August 29, 2009 at 7:52 pm | Reply
  85. Susan Hawkins

    It is not up to Dutch authorities to take on a patronizing role in a personal decision that, in addition, so bluntly ignores the experience and knowledge of the ONLY people that do matter in her life: her parents. If they think she has what it takes to undertake such a momentous journey and she herself believes she has than what are these authorities pretending to protect: mediocrity of the grey masses? I have no doubts she will be learning a lot more valuable Life lessons than she ever would by continuing her school – and that is freedom to live life. So whatever the result will be: follow your heart Laura: go for it!

    August 29, 2009 at 11:43 pm | Reply
  86. yachtyakka

    let her try it, after all the world will be watching so she will knot be alone.

    August 30, 2009 at 3:09 am | Reply
  87. Eric G

    Living is an extremely dangerous activity; it invariably leads to death.

    August 30, 2009 at 5:29 am | Reply
  88. GizmoTX

    Anyone remember Jessica Dubrof?
    She died while trying to be the youngest person (age 7) to pilot a plane across the US. Her death resulted in a law to finally prevent these attempts. She wasn't flying solo either, making it doubtful whether she was really "pilot in command". Her father also died in the plane, along with a licensed pilot.

    While the 13 year old may have superior sailing skills, it's unlikely that she has the physical strength, mental maturity, and stamina to complete a world voyage alone.

    (I do have a little knowledge of what's involved; I know how to sail, earned my pilot license at 16, & am female.)

    August 30, 2009 at 6:37 am | Reply
  89. ruthie

    As a mother, i fear these parents will never forgive themselves if something happens to her at sea. However, they will be able to live with postponing her trip around the world for a couple of years.

    August 30, 2009 at 7:29 am | Reply
  90. Sasha

    Why would sailing around the world be a dream that all laws have to be put aside for? We made rules for a reason. Where are the borders? What is a worthy dream and what is not?

    August 30, 2009 at 7:33 am | Reply
  91. Jaka Zupančič

    I think. If the girl knows well about the things she has to achieve to reach this goal of sailing around the world. And that her knowlidge can be determined by a board of experienced ppl. Then why limit the adventorous spirit of the girl. She may aswell surpass some of the proffesionals out there right now.

    If we do that its like saying that Mozart shouldn't have writen his first symphony at the age of 8 because he was to young.

    I think limitations like this to people with a vision are made by the blind.

    Greetz from slovenia

    August 30, 2009 at 10:20 am | Reply
  92. Jen

    If the parents find her capable don't let sexism stop her, if it was a young boy there would be no conversation.

    August 30, 2009 at 3:43 pm | Reply
  93. Sid

    Everyone knows that's their child, if something on the high seas happens to her, the parents should be charged with murder for allowing her to go solo.

    August 30, 2009 at 3:46 pm | Reply
  94. Bea Kibbard

    You know who else sailed at a young age? Christopher Columbus.

    August 30, 2009 at 3:46 pm | Reply
  95. Sylver

    Absolutely irresponsible for the parents to encourage such an undertaking! Fortunately the Dutch court has ruled against the venture. Nor do the New Zealander's want the responsiblity of this CHILD's early death on their hands.

    August 30, 2009 at 4:02 pm | Reply
  96. Simon

    Hello readers,

    thanks heaven US has only 300 or so mln habitants, cause otherwise our destiny would be doomed forever.

    Irresponsible you write on your blog title ?

    Isnt it irresponsible to kill people all over the world in name of democracy, which probably only ancient Greeks practiced ?
    No, that is criminal.

    My comment doesnt want to be aggressive, but let us set a more "open" title to such a blog without trying to set the pace of the discussion.
    Why not to use "crazy" or "terrific achievement" to describe this ?
    Children that age are under the supervision of their parents, so if the parents agreed I dont see any trouble.
    It seems to be more irresponsible to let a son go to school in certain neighbourhood alone, then sail solo.

    Men had always had a mystical relationship with waters, since the Phoenicians to Conrad, and if you are born on the seaside you will never discuss such an argument in a negative way.

    thanks for reading

    August 30, 2009 at 5:31 pm | Reply
  97. Loren

    Everything we do in life has a risk attached, that doesnt mean we just lay in bed all day. Sailing is about having the knowledge and experience to deal with those risks. Also you have to have guts. Parents have the right to decide what is best for thier child. As long as everyone involved is of clinically sound mind I dont see what the problem is.

    August 30, 2009 at 6:36 pm | Reply
  98. Anna Young

    It is nobody's business, but hers and her parents.

    August 30, 2009 at 9:21 pm | Reply
  99. pixie

    In a perfect world, the whole family should go, and let the
    young girl do the steering and orienteering. I could read a map at that age, and many in my town were sailing at that age. I do not sail, but know those who do and they started
    young. Too many "helicopter parents" and not enough supporitive adventurous ones. At that age they are not children. Yes more logic kicks in at 22. That is what brain specialists are saying now, but 13 years old have common sense given a chance to explore. This new generation is whimpier than ever and the parents are full of media spun fear. Survival of the fittest and the cleverist and this girl sounds like she has courage and moxie.

    August 30, 2009 at 10:28 pm | Reply
  100. Eric

    I am surprised that people in this blog can say anything for or against Laura's sailing at all, without having the slightest idea about who she is. To most, she will be 'a 13 year old', which makes her susceptible to stereotyping.

    So let's rephrase the question: is it a responsible to let 13 year olds sail around the world on their own? The reason for me to rephrase the question is that if you look at it in a general sense, I would agree that it is not a wise thing to let 13 year olds do such a thing.

    However, apparently, Laura is not quite average for a 13 year old, as she already has a tremendous sailing experience. How do I know this? Well, I got it from the media, which has shaped my idea about who she is. Truth is, until two weeks ago, I had never heard of her.

    So, I feel I should keep my opinion to myself about what she wants to do and why she wants to do it, and not judge her based on scanty information. I don't think I can know if she is a spoilt brat who just wants to have things her way; I can not know if she is mentally stable enough to undertake such a trip.

    I think that in general, 13 year olds should be strongly discouraged from doing what Laura wants to do. However, I am not sure if we should forbid them as a rule, because some 13 year olds may be special cases, and they deserve fair investigation. So should Laura.

    But there is another thing playing in the background here, which makes it tempting to support her, even if I do not want to do this for lack of knowledge about her as a person or her skills. The thing is that the response by the Dutch Child Protection Association has caused anger in the Netherlands, as they have a name for being overly bureaucratic, being aggressively meddlesome in cases they should keep their noses out of, and being seeing blind in cases where help is desperately needed. Admittedly, they do a lot of good work as well, but their reputation may work against them in this case.

    It has raised the question whether they are using the Laura case to polish up their name as responsible judges, when they had better spent their time on taking care of kids who suffer, because something is happening AGAINST their will. The latter is not the case with Laura at all, even if you think that what she wants may be irresponsible.

    August 30, 2009 at 10:53 pm | Reply
  101. Ian

    I love when people try to tell others how they should run their lives.

    August 31, 2009 at 4:05 am | Reply
  102. GILLIAN

    The question we should be asking: Is Laura Dekka ready and confident that she can do this? If YES, then why not? We are always teaching our children to be responsible – if she can do this responsibly then let her. There is always a crew not too far away for emergency purposes aren't there? I am sure her parents who know her best would be the better judge of if she can or not. My son is thirteen and if he should show the initiative to do something like this, I would be the proudest parent as I would know that at least he tried.

    My family and I wish her the best, she is in our prayers.

    August 31, 2009 at 4:29 am | Reply
  103. GILLIAN

    Further to my comments, I have just read what Sanjay Manhar had to say. Think about this Sanjay:

    In your native country India – a child of six, eight, twelve is married off to men more than twice their ages. These men and their families treat these girls like slaves ( in most cases – there are the few exceptionals I admit) but for the whole they are mistreated and sometimes even killed – how much different is this to Laura Dekka trying to sail around the world solo? Why are the parents of those child-brides not being sentenced for child neglect or any of the crimes that you think Laura's parents should be punished for???????

    August 31, 2009 at 4:39 am | Reply
  104. James P. R.

    "Would parents be approving of their talented sports atlete,an 18 year old..(a major)..daughter attending college with their financial support ,marrying a 70 year old professor with an illness?"

    Will parents consider comparing the following before they make their judgement and decision ;
    Compare the 13 year old sailor with the 18 year old wanting to marry.

    13 YR OLD SAILOR ...1).... The dangers and uncertainties of the sea and oceans...weather,climate,huge mammals ,accidents,freak storms etc.

    18 YR OLD STUDENT 1).... The uncertainties of an unwell, 70 year old living another 10 or 20 or 30 or years or even for less than a year.

    13 YR OLD SAILOR 2)...The fragility of a small vessel..its structure, it's communication system,it's dependability in a treacherous stormy sea ,that may last days and weeks and other matters like jammed communication systems,jammed winch,breakages of vital parts and failures of navigation system etc.

    18 YR OLD STUDENT.. 2)..Living together with a 70 year old ,who is unwell,will require patience,nursing care,stress and anger management ,fortitude,resilience and other characteristics that comes with experience and sacifices.How long will you last?

    13 YR OLD SAILOR.. 3)..The oceans coastline is an area of busy sea traffic.Other than the huge ocean going vessels,there are,pirates,abductors,kidnappers ,smugglers,drug traffickers and other criminal minded sea-farers mingling with good sea-farers.
    Will you be innocent or vigilantly consious of 'good" and "bad"people and to know the difference between the two?

    18 YR OLD STUDENT..3)..Will you not,as an 18 year old,be afraid of going into an unknown i.e. living in an adult world almost nearing it's end, when you should be opening doors and windows to a bright and illustrious future of an Olympic gold medal,World Championshps,modelling as a winner to the world
    etc etc.and then take the challenge!

    The 18 year old can still take the choice of marrying,even without parental approval.She maybe of value to others from this experience.

    The 13 year old is too young,the parents ,should stop the youngster from this record breaking adventure till she is of adult age and therefore can make her own choices.

    August 31, 2009 at 4:40 am | Reply
  105. Mehreen

    i guess it is more important to the parents to try and break the record and put her name in history (if she makes it) then her personal safety. 13 year olds do not have the capacity to make informed decisions especially when it will be in the open sea. If she wants to do this, let her wait a couple of years. What is the rush. Again it is about breaking the record, nothing else.

    August 31, 2009 at 4:51 am | Reply
  106. Mike Veltman

    Well as a Dutch I have a simple view on it. She is under age and has by law to go to school. So she can not go for two years like that it would be a free card for other people.

    Secondary, I think the risks are to great, and that has nothing to do with her ability or sailing skills. The world and the sea are dangerous places.

    So if we want this to be ok, make 13 year to be the age that children reach legal maturity and she can do whatever she wants.

    just for the record in New Zealand she also has to go to school until 16.

    August 31, 2009 at 5:58 am | Reply
  107. peader

    Forget about the dangers of the sea. This is a solo voyage! what 13-year-old has the psychological capacity to spend 1 or 2 years ALONE?

    August 31, 2009 at 6:19 am | Reply
  108. Wilfredo

    If a teen below 18 can't be legally allowed to drive on a city street, how can a 13 year old child be allowed to sail the oceans?

    August 31, 2009 at 7:51 am | Reply
  109. Dale N. Bickenbach

    Interesting worldwide comments, but the bottom line is "why"? There is no purpose for a 13 year old to do this. It has been done by many people. The young woman has better skills to learn at her point of life than to tack.

    August 31, 2009 at 8:03 am | Reply
  110. BJ

    As a fifty something cynic, I can'believe that her parents are thinking of anything except the cash rewards that go hand in hand with this sort of thing. At 16 I ventured out to be a soldier, but would hardly have been given command of a tank even if I had the technical knowledge to do so. I still had to be in bed by 11pm and had to live by normally accepted teenage rules.

    What about a 13 year old that wants to drive or fly around the world? Oh there's that need for a licence as they may injure themselves or others, now how did I forget that?

    To me it's a nonsense. She's a kid, she can't legally drink, drive, vote or have sex, so why is such an incredibly risky venture OK? I thought that the 17 year old boy who recently broke the record was pushing it, this is simply ridiculous. She will have 50 or 60 years for adventures such as this after she turns 18.

    August 31, 2009 at 9:00 am | Reply
  111. Ana Paula

    and it is not a metter of a couple of days by herself, but a 2 YEARS trip. all alone!

    it is sheer nonsence!

    August 31, 2009 at 10:42 am | Reply
  112. darrenN

    I would like to point out that on sailing records such as this there is a chase boat, this acts as an independent observer and rescue boat should the need arise, (normally a parent is onboard).

    The sailor will also have access to a sat phone/sat web cam.
    So they are not really on their own on the other side of the world and they do have a safety net (sort of).

    Some thirteen year olds are mature beyond their years and can handle it, I think it’s probably a lot more dangerous to be an eight year old biplane wing walker (that’s another kid from the uk).

    August 31, 2009 at 11:08 am | Reply
  113. Joseph

    Dutch welfare authorities today are very, very afraid to be seen as to lax. Some years ago a toddler named Samantha was tortured to death by her (step)parents and the welfare services were caught nodding. Now they tend to overreact. I can imagine that they would like to prevent the girl from sailing the world but in court they tried to achieve this by having the parents (bad, bad parents) relieved of their parental authority and the girl forcibly removed from her home and put under surveillance. A clear overreaction in an already stiflingly over-regulated country.

    August 31, 2009 at 12:44 pm | Reply
  114. JamesE

    Does she know how to sail? OK then, why does everyone have to hate on people when they do something amazing? Everyone's a critic these days. People are just made cause their lifes suck and they will never do anything like that in 10 lifetimes. You go little girl!

    August 31, 2009 at 2:56 pm | Reply
  115. tomohiro

    I totally agree to support her adventure.
    I think this case will be a turning point of child protection in the future.
    if the court won't allow her to go, it will be a starting point to protect child from undangerous behavior.
    And it is now happening in Japan.
    We care about their safety too much.
    it makes them weak.

    August 31, 2009 at 4:32 pm | Reply
  116. RV

    The governement should always be very wary when deciding for others. But this really is a no-brainer : the governement should protect children's lifes, even against their own wishes and that of her parents.

    It is as simple as that : you are either in favour of a governement protecting children's life or you are against such governement.

    Maybe some groups think that governements should not protect the lives of their citizens, but I think that that is a very, very small minority (altough very vocal, apperently).

    August 31, 2009 at 6:18 pm | Reply
  117. mathblog1234

    She Should be allowed to go. This is not a measure as to whether the government is trying to protect the child's life or not. If that were the case, then the 17 year old Briton would also be deemed too young.

    Rather, this should be seen as whether the girl can live her dreams

    September 1, 2009 at 4:24 am | Reply
  118. smith lady

    It's so ridiculous. She's too young to know how much risks will come. And finally, that's her parent's reponsibility because she is not grown-up yet.

    September 1, 2009 at 7:58 am | Reply
  119. Geoff

    How can anyone not knowing her answer that question?

    September 1, 2009 at 9:30 am | Reply
  120. MINA


    September 1, 2009 at 10:26 am | Reply
  121. m tati

    Watch Laura's own statements on this issue before judging. She's an amazing kid with amazing mental skills that will help her through this adventure. I agree with those who state that age is but a number. Hopefully Laura will be able to board in the near future. She'll make it there, out on her own, definitely!

    September 1, 2009 at 11:45 am | Reply
  122. Dalibor Posta

    re: "she should be allowed to live her dreams argument"
    If the dream means putting the child in 50/50 risk of losing life (estimation), then definitely do not let her pursue her dream.
    PS: When I was 13 I dreamed of being the garbage man.

    September 1, 2009 at 12:44 pm | Reply
  123. Miranda

    Most 13 year olds don't want to go to school; they have better things to do. We might as well abolish the law that says that children HAVE to go to school until they are 16. If you let this girl go, you have to let everybody who has better things to do , go. Abolish the system then?

    September 1, 2009 at 1:08 pm | Reply
  124. Kyle Sexton

    Who's life is it again?

    She has a chance to do something great,
    To not let someone live is to keep them in a cage.

    Shame for those who wish to stop someone from living out their dreams.

    Congratulations on surviving, not living.

    September 1, 2009 at 1:40 pm | Reply
  125. Angel1

    Without getting into the debate of whether Laura Dekker should or shouldn't be allowed to sail around the world solo, those of you who think its acceptable to do, how young would she have to be for you too think she was too young to go it alone. 12? 10? 8? I know 10 year olds who appear to have the mental and physical maturity of a 18 year old, does that mean its okay for them? Maybe? As far as I know the Dutch Govt hasn't yet said no they are assessing her ability for the task.

    September 1, 2009 at 2:56 pm | Reply
  126. Regina

    This young woman, who her parents have cared for since her birth, obviously know here better than any of us; therefore, her decision to circumnavigate the globe, which she has most likely discussed in great detail with her parents, should not be hindered, or put down in any other way. I am the mother of a 10 year old and a 4 year old; if either of my children put this kind of thought into something they seriously desired to do, I would do everything in my power to make their dream happen for them. Parents holding children back from things of this nature, sheltering them, and squelching the spirit of their children, is a decent percentage of what is wrong with some kids these days. This is what is causing kids this girl's age to go into a school and open fire; that never happened when I was a child; oh, wait, I was also disciplined as a child, and taught right from wrong. Parents are not allowed to teach their child right from wrong anymore, hence the school shootings.

    This young woman has the same right as anyone older than her to decide what she wants and needs; leave her be, and let her soar to whatever heights she apsires to.

    September 1, 2009 at 4:16 pm | Reply
  127. Nik Skarlatos

    Anyone who fits the physical and phycological capabilities of 17 year old Mike Perham is automatically able to sail the world alone, although that person wouldn't be alone, as in Mike's trip, there was a support team every step of the way, so Laura Dekker's parents shouldn't be fully worried, and as for the government of the Netherlands, they should be proud that such a young sailor is up to the task and is willing to embark on such a journey of epic proportions.

    September 1, 2009 at 9:45 pm | Reply
  128. Al Munroe

    And Mary mother of Jesus was only 16 years old when God picked a teenager to give birth to His son.

    Is the question, Can a teenager to it or Can this teenager do it? If she is qualified and has passed all the requirements, then who is anyone to hold her back? You can try to talk her out of making the trip but the final decision should rest with her.

    September 1, 2009 at 11:32 pm | Reply
  129. Aditya Meti

    I really appriciate the confidence and the preperation/hard work done by this child. As well as I appriciate her parents for the support and providing such hard training and encouragement.

    But, I dont have much knowledge about the dificulties, routes and method etc. So still, I think, may be 13 years of age is less to face some unexpected dangoures situations during the process. But I saw her photographes, she looks healthy and strong. I feel, one should check her strengths by examining her with dangourus and similar situations as a test before decide. But I feel, it is a dificult decision for her parents, because, if they deney then, she will be feeling un happy and may loose intrest in challanging things. If thay allow, it is risky. But her parents decision should be the final, because they know her from in and out, more than any one in this world.

    September 2, 2009 at 5:22 am | Reply
  130. Haresha

    i think its upto the parents to decide. personaly 13 is a very young age but then so is 17!

    if the parenst accept responsilibity, yeah why not?!

    September 2, 2009 at 7:37 am | Reply
  131. American living in The Netherlands

    Most of you commenting don't even know the whole story. SHE wanted to sail around the world; her parents are not pushing her. She's bright, well trained and fully aware of the dangers as well as the adventure. She is not just "any" 13 year old wanting to sail around the world- she's a natural born sailor with a talent at a young age and yes- she wants to be the youngest to sail around the world. Saying she can have her adventures when she's 18 is short-sighted and typcial "adult thinking". She has thought this through and is not taking anything lightly.

    The current status is that the courts are reviewing it- if she can pass both psychological and technical tests (is she sound and thinking straight and does she REALLy have the knowledge to handle the boat) then the Judge has given the impression she will okay this adventure. She (the Judge) has basically said, "Let's stop talking about the fact that she's 13 and talk about if she's qualified."

    There are child prodigies in many fields- why not sailing as well? The argument she could be captured by Pirates is comical- they want goods, money and riches and are not willing to risk all that they've done so far on a 13 year old girl. They capture her, you can rest assured that even the tame and dignified Dutch Navy would blow the next Pirate ship they see out of the water. With this much press, the eyes of the world are on her- who's going to risk hurting her when basically everyone is watching?? You are far more likely to meet kind strangers than serial killers a la Hollywood on the open seas... she will be safe. Mother Nature is her biggest enemy and frankly she's got as big a chance to be hurt in a traffic accident or flooding or weather related sailing accident here in The Netherlands as on the open sea.

    Her parents raised her well- they fed her, clothed her, educated her and gave her a loving home to live in. Just because you don't agree with them letting her sail around the world doesn't make them bad parents. I think if she had NO sailing experience or knowledge and wanted to undertake this trip and they said yes, THEN we could speak of bad parenting. Instead we have two loving parents supporting and encouraging a childs dream... how is that wrong?

    No, I would not want *my* children to attempt to sail around the world at 13... but my children don't even know how to sail and neither do we. So bringing up your own children as an example of why this Dutch girl shouldn't be allowed to attempt it is short-sighted. Like most children are not musical prodigies or outstanding mathematicians or olympic level athletes, most are not able to sail like this at 13 years of age. So, no- my children are not qualified to circumnavigate the globe– but they have their own talents and I would hope I would be as encouraging of their dreams as Laura's parents are of her dream.

    Best wishes to you, Laura! We're cheering you on from the shore!!!

    September 2, 2009 at 11:06 am | Reply
  132. Sam

    Let her go.. and lock up the parents if she does not come back – they are responsible!! maybe then lessons will be learned.

    September 2, 2009 at 11:27 am | Reply
  133. cologneami

    I wonder if she and her father would still be interested in doing this stunt if the Guiness Book of Records refused to recognized it as a "record".

    September 2, 2009 at 1:32 pm | Reply
  134. makanjuola

    Am a nigerian and belief children should not be expose to danger no matter the fortune or glory that might come thereafter. Even i refused to buy a bike for my 6 years old son because of the tendency not to control his hyper-activeness, and may end up having an accident with it.

    September 2, 2009 at 2:32 pm | Reply
  135. leslie

    i think that she should be able to because this might just be a once in a lifetime thing asa 14 year old i would love to do that it's mostly up to her if i met her i would tell her "right on" if she does go i wish her luck if it was my child i would let her go and i understand why a lot of people are against the idea of it but if she doesn't go now she probably never will be able to go

    September 2, 2009 at 8:30 pm | Reply
  136. Alimul Razi

    I do not support. Life is more important for her than record.

    September 2, 2009 at 11:45 pm | Reply
  137. James

    I'm a professional mariner. I believe 13 is too young to face blue water alone (boy or girl). That is a long time spent by yourself with an enormous responsibility not only to herself but to other craft on the water. Why not wait a year or two and gain a bit more experience?

    September 3, 2009 at 5:47 am | Reply
  138. Ger

    How poor judgement can be when it is based on assumptions. I read that she will be alone for 2 yrs during her trip. Now that would be a feat. Unless she has a desalination machine on board, which I doubt, the amount of drinking water she would need would sink the boat. 20 boxes of cornflakes and 40 boxes of white beans in tomatoe sause wouldn't do it either. A journey is usually planned with different legs from point to point where she can replenish supplies and get her stuff sorted out (customs, port authorities, mail, souvenirs etc) there are ship agents that take care of a lot for you. If she should decide on quitting, there will be plenty of opportunities. There are shipping lanes to sail in so there will always be assistance. I've been a merchant sailor as well and I've been on the Atlantic several times when it was as flat as a table top. Sure, sometimes there were waves but it's not always as people try to tell you to make their point more dramatic. For some people it's always worst case scenerio. Some people judge on the amount of money it will cost the government if she needs to be rescued. How much is it costing already with all the court hearings, investigations and social welfare trying to stop it. She hasn't even sailed a meter and it has already cost a fortune. Judge on what you know as a fact, sail with her and let her prove herself. Then decide what is right and what is wrong.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:40 pm | Reply
  139. Bill Dingle

    It's not about age. It's about skills. I'm not hearing that she has the big water skills, the bad water skills and the long time on water skills to justify the trip. No word on navigation skills, piloting skills or communication skills. Since help can't always get to her in time, no word on her rescue deployment skills or emergency self-care skills. Has she even taken a big trip with her parents and been given responsibility for the trip as a test of skills? Do her parents even have the ability to evaluate her skills? Has anyone of ability evaluated her skills?

    September 3, 2009 at 7:33 pm | Reply
  140. Anne

    If she has the skills, she should do it. Government shouldn't have a right to interfere, especially not for the reason that she's missing school!!! It doesn't seem like they're concerned about her well-being, just about her missing school.

    School can wait, this chance and challenge doesn't, not like this.

    The Dutch government should look for children who are really in danger and really need their help. This looks like ruining the girl's goals just because they can. She's exceptionally talented and worked hard for this. If the government spoils her plans, the one lesson she will have learned for sure in the school of life is that the Dutch government denied her her reward for talent and hard work.

    She should leave the country asap, if she has the option, as someone indicated.

    September 3, 2009 at 11:40 pm | Reply
  141. James

    The Southern Ocean will be the testing ground (unless she plans to cheat and use the canals, panama/suez). I say do some short handed races followed by some single handed races, then in a few years she could still break the record.

    September 4, 2009 at 2:16 am | Reply
  142. Antonio Machado

    This is a parent's decision. If they are confident about the girl's skills, why not? No parent is crazy to take a decision which will put a daughter's life in risk.

    September 4, 2009 at 12:37 pm | Reply
  143. Capt Mehran Wahid

    It is criminal negligence to allow anyone to sail single-handed around the world whatever their age – there is a 'rule of the road' at sea requiring every craft on the water to 'keep a proper lookout' which certainly is not possible if one sails alone for log periods. This can be hazardous to the craft itself and to other vessels at sea. And a 13-year old? That is absolutely ridiculous.

    September 4, 2009 at 10:49 pm | Reply
  144. Michael Shisia

    If the parents are o.k. with her sailing alone-which i think most parents won't, she should be allowed to. This is of course she has been deemed capable of doing so by experts. Imagine if Tiger Woods' parents made him not pick up a golf club!!!

    September 5, 2009 at 11:54 am | Reply
  145. Andrew

    If I thought my eleven y/o daughter was fit for the trial we'd do it and that's it. Ok, the courts have a responsibility to ensure her education–I'm sure we could work that out. If not we'd move to another country and go from there. Besides, it's not like she'd be completely on her own–very few of these 'record breakers' are–they all have support in some form or another. But hey, I'm an American and I don't like being told, "You can't do that!" As they say, "Where there's a will, there's a way!"

    September 7, 2009 at 12:22 pm | Reply
  146. David

    This situation is beyond ridiculous, the government has no right to interfere with this girl's dreams. Do Dutch citizens have rights? If I was this family, I would get out quick, before the government takes custody of their daughter for having incredible dreams.

    September 9, 2009 at 4:41 am | Reply
  147. Allen

    If she can do it, let she go....

    September 10, 2009 at 4:09 am | Reply
  148. Wolfy

    In the water or in the air, both are dangerous. As stated about the 17 year old, he had a support crew FOLLOWING him but he piloted his craft solo.

    If the PARENTS feel (arent they the ones who know their kids capabilities better than any government employee?) that their child has the mental and intestinal fortitude to take on a project like this, then by all means they should be the ones who decide if their child should be able to do it.

    As for her missing two years of school, she needs to get her Amateur Radio license before going, and maintain contact with a school or teacher who will give her answers to tests and work she SHOULD have on board with her.

    Not everyone grows and matures at a GIVEN rate. Some of us 43 year olds think we are still kids, and I know some 20 year olds who handle more life concerning responsiblities better than some 50 year olds do.

    More power to her!!!!

    As for age, just google Youngest solo pilot and you get the following:

    Byline: Dennis Rockstroh Knight-Ridder Tribune News Wire

    As about 100 people and an equal number of Jersey cows looked on, third-grader Dusty Howell of Discovery Bay officially became America's youngest known solo pilot as he soared for 20 seconds Friday morning in an ultralight

    Dusty joins a long list of youngsters who have made aviation history, performing such feats as flying around the globe or across continents or oceans. There's Vicki Van Meter Van Meter may refer to:
    Van Meter, Iowa, a town in Dallas County, Iowa, United States
    Homer Van Meter (1906-1934), an American criminal and bank robber
    Vicky van Meter 12; Rachel Carter, 9; Xavier Govin, 12; Tony Aliengena, 11; and George Bush, 18. That's right, the one who later became president of the United States The head of the Executive Branch, one of the three branches of the federal government.

    The U.S. Constitution sets relatively strict requirements about who may serve as president and for how long. . At 18, he was the youngest pilot in the Navy.

    September 12, 2009 at 1:54 am | Reply
  149. DDames

    Are there are restrictions as the age when you are allowed to drive alone, shouldnt the same restrictions hold on sailing alone? Just a thought.

    September 12, 2009 at 9:23 pm | Reply
  150. Saira Hurley

    As a parent of a 13 year old girl myself, I truly believe they are not capable of making decisions. My daughter can hardly wake up by herself for school. Yes, there are children who are quite mature for their age but to circumnavigate the globe on your own at 13 is a silly idea for any parent to support. What are they thinking? Is this another gimmick to get 15 minutes of fame?

    September 12, 2009 at 10:12 pm | Reply
  151. AMDunlea

    As parents our role is to protect our children while encouraging them to grow and dream. While this girl may be technically capable, who can judge if she could mentally or physically handle a challenge like this? Not even her parents could know, which begs the question-why let her? Why not give her education, training, support, and love until she becomes an adult, and then she will be so much better equipped to handle a solo trip around the world. I mostly hate the thought of government interference in most matters, but sometimes someone has to step in if a child is not being protected – and I think Laura is not.

    September 13, 2009 at 12:22 pm | Reply
  152. J. Zalidee

    If it was a 13-year old teenage boy, I doubt that people would have so many problems with this.

    September 17, 2009 at 5:04 pm | Reply

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