Saturday, August 14, 2010

Laura Dekker's Equatorial Circumnavigation

She is in Portugal now. The start date will be announced shortly.

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.


  1. Laura Dekker will be 16 years old when she will sail the last part of he voyage, and in her scheme are two options for that part to sail. Option 1 is the Suez canal route which has finer wheather, but leads trough the gulf of Aden, and option 2 is around Capetown in case piracy is a problem. In her scheme is written that a choice for option 2 is most likely in the current situation.

    She will follow the same route as all the other yachts on the same route, and as it looks now that route will be Mauritius, Durban, Capetown, saint-Helena. She will not sail through the gulf of Aden if there is a warning for yachts.

    And the route from Durban to Capetown (for all yachts) is in a wheather-window.

  2. Greetings Netherlander,

    I am happy to hear of the proposed route change.

    While Laura's age is a small worry, the pirates are a big one.

    Even Joshua Slocum had to contend with pirates, both off the west coast of Africa and around Cape Horn.

    The only places that Piracy is much of a problem today is around those areas where Islam is practiced. Sailing well away from South Asia and the East Coast of Africa would avoid most of the problem areas.

    Where as the Oceans test a persons metal, the Pirates test a person's luck. Suez is a bad gamble.


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