See: Dutch teen arrives in Portugal ahead of solo sailing bid
Dekker wants to break the record for the youngest world solo sail set in May by Australian teenager Jessica Watson. Watson completed a non-stop, unassisted round-the-world trip a few days before her 17th birthday.
Dekker turns 17 on September 20, 2012, allowing her a little over two years to complete the trip, during which she intends to stop at several ports along the way.
Dekker has said her route from Portugal will take her across the Atlantic Ocean and into the Pacific via the Panama Canal. She plans to stop at the Galapagos islands before heading to Australia, Thailand and through the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden back to Europe.
This is not the same race as Jessica Watson's. It is similar, but it is not the same.
Jessica Watson sailed The Three Capes route. Laura Dekker is sailing the equatorial route. Another difference is that Jessica Watson sailed non-stop and Laura Dekker will make port in several places.
I am less comfortable with Laura Dekker's adventure then I was with Jessica Watson's.
Laura Dekker is very young. Many people will object on that alone. While I find her age to be a little worrisome, I am more concerned about the route that she will travel. Jessica Watson traveled south and sailed around the three Capes, Cape Agulhas, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn).
Where Watson had to brave stormy seas, Dekker will have to brave filthy pirates. I would prefer storms over pirates. Where as the sea and the storms are indifferent and lack malice, pirates are the scum of the planet. Pirates are malice.
Training can solve most problems associated with age, storms and seas. Pirates are different. With Pirates, age becomes a problem.
Laura Dekker will be at sea for over a year. She will travel around the equator and pass through some of the most pirate infested waters of the world. She will avoid the physical dangers of the three capes. Hopefully she will be able to avoid the Pirates as well.
May she find easy sailing fair winds on her way.