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14 Year Old Girl Wants to Attempt Solo Circumnavigation

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Kevin, Jul 17, 2010.

  1. Kevin

    Kevin YF Moderator

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    LINK

    At least her mother was opposed to the idea... unlike the Sunderlands. :rolleyes:
  2. PropBet

    PropBet Senior Member

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    Oh boy- Here we go again!
    If you want to support your child sailing the world, that's fine. But if he or she needs rescuing, you need to post a cash bond before she sets sail. No more picking up the tab for these failed attempts.
  3. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Mom's opportunity to "give up" on trying to contro her daughter was before she got pregnant. Now she stuck with the job. If she doesn't want the responsibility let her make the child a ward of the state. If she just abdicates her responsibility I hope CPS throws her lazy butt in jail. Enough of the idiots willing to sacrifice their children because they're too lazy to do their job.:mad:
  4. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    There are plenty of 14 year olds fighting and dying all over the world for one cause or another. The US awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor to an 11 year old drummer boy for his service to the Union Army. There is a 15 year old being held in Guantanamo. International law allows 15 year olds to participate in armed conflict.

    New York City, among other world capitals, is home to countless 12 year old and even younger prostitutes of both sexes.

    So, what's the outrage about some overindulged teenage girl wanting to go sailing? There are far better outlets for those who profess a desire to protect children.
  5. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    When 15 year olds were alowed to serve in the Union Army (1865) 12 year olds were permitted/encouraged to marry and have children because the life expectancy was 45 or less. Prostituting 12 year olds is not condoned in any country that I'm aware of and I don't think the Netherlands has any 15 year olds serving on the front lines. Aspiring to reach the lows of the worst society has to offer is not aspiring at all.
  6. Mark I

    Mark I Member

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    There is a good article in this month's Soundings mag precisely on this topic.

    Specifically how a 14 year old can not possibly have the experience necessary to deal with what might befall them on a trip like this.

    Sooner or later luck is going to run out and one of these kids is going to die.

    What ever happened to a parent saying NO and that's it? Case closed.
  7. rocdiver

    rocdiver Senior Member

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    14 YearOld Girl Wants to Attempt Solo Circumnavigation

    Just when it appeared that the brouhaha over teenage solo circumnavigators might die down, a Dutch court earlier this week cleared the way for a 14-year-old girl to head offshore alone.

    Laura Dekker, who lives in the Netherlands, was granted permission by the courts to depart on her round-the-world journey, which she hopes to do over the course of two years, finishing in September 2012, when she turns 17. The decision comes shortly after the attempt by 16-year-old U.S. sailor Abby Sunderland to become the youngest solo circumnavigator was cut short by her dismasting in the Indian Ocean in June. Dekker says she can be ready to sail in about two weeks, according to news reports.

    Not surprisingly, reaction from the sailing community has been less than enthusiastic.

    "I think sending a 14-year-old daughter - as a father of three daughters - is completely irresponsible," US Sailing president and noted sailing commentator Gary Jobson says. "She can't possibly have the experience to do this. We've learned from Abby Sunderland that lots of things can happen."

    Dekker is thrilled about the chance. "I'm so happy, just really, really happy," the young sailor said at a press conference held at her marina shortly after the court decision. "I didn't know what would happen next, but now it's all over."

    Although Dekker's mother originally opposed the voyage, she has also given her blessing for the trip. Dekker's parents are separated.

    Dekker has been working toward this goal for more than a year. At 13, the girl who was born at sea on her parents' boat declared that she wanted to sail the world alone. Concerns about her age prompted Dutch child protection authorities to go to court to stop the voyage. The court placed Dekker under a guardianship order, which it lifted this week. Dutch authorities had hoped to place her under supervision for another year, which would have delayed the circumnavigation.

    Dekker has been nothing if not headstrong in her desire to set off alone around the world. Last December, after the initial court decision, she ran away to the Caribbean, where she planned to buy a boat, according to news reports. She was discovered and sent home.

    Dekker sails a 38-foot Jeanneau Gin Fizz ketch that she has named Guppy.

    Dekker's father, an experienced sailor, says his daughter's journey is no more dangerous than life in the Netherlands.

    "If she rides her bike to school, that is probably more dangerous," he told reporters.

    U.S. solo sailor Brad Van Liew says he's glad the decision has reverted from the courts to the parents, but he's uneasy about the notion of 14-year-olds tackling the Southern Ocean alone.

    "I wouldn't be letting my kid do this at 14 years old," says Van Liew, who has an 8-year-old daughter and is preparing to enter a solo around-the-world race in October. "It's good they've decided to let the decision be up to the family. And the family might be making a pretty scary decision. But I don't know Laura Dekker. I don't know her maturity level or her experience. I don't know her motivations or her personality. ... I just hope she's going into this with wide-open eyes."

    By Elizabeth Ellis from Soundings Magazine
  8. Kevin

    Kevin YF Moderator

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    Beat ya' to that one a little while back: LINK

    I'm merging your post with the existing thread.
  9. Marmot

    Marmot Senior Member

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    The MCA lets a teenager with 7 weeks sea time get paid to take a 200 ton yacht 150 miles offshore with 12 passengers plus crew onboard.

    So, at what magic age does an older teen with zero experience at all trump a younger teen with literally a lifetime mucking about in boats?
  10. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Probably at the age the first one dies at.
  11. Capt Bill11

    Capt Bill11 Senior Member

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    They die in cars, on a scooter, on bikes, on skateboards, etc., etc.

    Kids die doing all kinds of "safe" activities everyday. If the possibility of death rules out kids doing an activity, then it's time for us to put them in bubbles till they reach 18. Or whatever age it is deemed OK for them to get out and do something that could lead to their death. Like walking across the street.
  12. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    You're absolutely right. That's why the law has no say in the matter. If the child were hired to do this they'd be all over it. Instead it's up to the parents and society to set the standard. A parent's job is to protect their child and the children will keep them busy from skateboarding to snowboarding. But those are activities with a million kids doing it and most successfully, and with that we try to promote helmets and pads. Enabling and encouraging your child to spend 3 months in isolation, facing the Southern Ocean during winter alone, doing what no child and very few adults have ever done is quite another matter. That's why I hope that the customers, relative and friends of people who don't have the brains god gave a billy goat should ostracize parents who abdicate their responsibility to their child.
  13. Kevin

    Kevin YF Moderator

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    I've come to think of it this way: If that's what a kid thinks they should be entitled to do, so be it. Let them put together an IMOCA campaign and enter the Vendee. If they can do that, then go for it. Do something that means something.... finish a sanctioned ocean race.
  14. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    There is also a Summer Season ,albeit short one and full of bits of drifting ice when the passage could take place.
  15. Kevin

    Kevin YF Moderator

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    Apparently this won't be the issue she'll face. According to another article I've read she'll be doing her circumnavigation via the canals (Suez & Panama) so she'll be trading icebergs for pirates.:rolleyes:
  16. Wavemkr

    Wavemkr New Member

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    As a father of three and grandfather of six (3 boys 3 girls) I have to say that our world has seriously changed. Or has it? Long before my time, there was a day when fourteen yearolds had families and what we call adult responsibilities but the need for that has all but disappeared these days. I suppose that responsible and capable fourteen yearolds exist today but let's face it, most of them don't even know how to spell their own names much less circumnavigate the globe. I'm not for one minute saying this young woman is incapable. Who am I to judge? However I think "PropBet" has it right when he says the cost of rescue should be born by the parents who allow such a thing.

    In the days when young people set forth to discover the world, there was no coastguard, no GPS, sattelite; hell most of them didn't even have maps or charts, so one could argue that it is much safer now. Nevertheless when these intrepid explorers set forth, they did so knowing full well that their only help would come from whatever god they prayed to and that it might not come to them even then. The risk was simple - they might never be heard from again.

    My days in the navy taught me that the oceans are a cruel and frightening place, unpredictable and totally unforgiving. I'm sure our intrepid young sailor believes that all will be well but I wonder if she'd be as brave if she knew no one would be available to help when she gets into trouble. It's my guess that this adventure will be so closely monitored that she will never be truly alone. Between the media and the support crews she's likely to have and the tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars that will be spent, this feat of daring isn't so impressive. National Geographic or Discovery channel will probably record the whole thing for prime-time which is what I bet this whole fiasco is all about. After all, fifteen minutes of fame can add up to million$$ in sponsorships and endorsements and that's a risk virtually anybody might take.

    Just my opinion of course, I guess the world has changed. I wonder what Captain Cook would think of all this.
  17. yotphix

    yotphix New Member

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    Anyone who has spent time on a sail training ship will realize that it is quite possible for mid teens to be both experienced and responsible enough to undertake a voyage such as this.
    We never hear outrage when an couple with virtually no experience set out to sea for adventure and bring their young children along, and this happens with regularity. I remember a cruisers party in New Zealand where a group sat in a circle with rapt attention to one fellow who was explaining to them what a sea anchor was and how to deploy it. Most of them had made their way their from America. Someone said that parents have the responsibility to protect their children, and this is absolutely true. They also have the responsibility of encouraging them to achieve, to learn and to experience the world. This girl was born at sea, and would, I expect, sail circles around the lot on this forum.
    I wonder what the accumulated ocean miles of the naysayers would amount to?
  18. revdcs

    revdcs Senior Member

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    When an English teenager crossed the Atlantic a couple of years ago, his father and a crew sailed a much larger boat behind him. In this case I would suggest a flotilla of support vessels, perhaps crewed by ex Marines!

    Is there any indication that she will have close support?
  19. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    You may have missed the stories of the thousands of boats that have disappeared beneath the waves or of the experienced seamen who have gone overboard or lost body parts. You may have missed the articles about the effects of solitude on the mind or how early celebrity adversely affects people. Taking a family on an around the world sailing adventure is dangerous which is why it's not done all that often relatively speaking, but at least the parents are there, on the spot, lending their years of accumulated wisdom, to do their best to prevent disaster. We can't take all risk out of growing up. But to sit back and say "go for it kid. I'll sit home, bask in your glory any collect the money. If you die I can cry poor me and sell the story", is wrong. Some activities are age appropriate and some are just not. You don't stick a kid who is too short to make the height requirement onto a roller coaster because "my kid is mature enough to know to hold on and he wants to do it".
  20. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Hi,

    I don't think there are many who contribute here who have done much on boats with sails for the main propulsion.

    I do not wish any ill will to the attempt but have to echo others concern about the ability of a teenager or any solo sailor to handle big problems at sea especially those involving the equipment well above head height on deck.

    I was once on a delivery from NZ to Panama on a 50' Ketch, the biggest single challenge was when we were approx 500 nm south east of Easter Island and broke the forestay.

    This took two days of running back down wind towards NZ to come up with and implement a jury rigged stay so we could continue on with the journey albeit with some seriously re configured sail arrangements.

    There were four of us on there with 3 of us in our 20's, the skipper turned 50 on the way, all of us had a lot of blue water mileage under our belts ,it was a fulltime battle for all of us to get the problem overcome with us having to take turns at the top of the mast that was pitching around quite wildly, not something I would recommend for anyone sailing alone.