Sailor girl not Panama bound yet
UTRECHT. A 13-year-old Dutch girl seeking to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world, won’t be following the path of M...
UTRECHT. A 13-year-old Dutch girl seeking to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world, won’t be following the path of Mike Perham through the Panama Canal any time soon.
A Dutch court has put her under state care for two months, stalling her bid. The decision by three Utrecht judges means Laura Dekker's parents, who support her plans, temporarily lose the right to make decisions about her.
A child psychologist will now assess her capacity to undertake the voyage. Miss Dekker, who was not at the court, will continue to live with her father, Dick Dekker.
Dekker had earlier had a request for her to miss two years of school turned down.
Miss Dekker had planned to spend about two years aboard her 8m boat, Guppy, to break the record set this week by 17-year-old Mike Perham who passed through the Canal in July after tackling 50ft waves, gale force winds and technical problems during his round the world saga.
The Dutch Child Protection Agency had requested Miss Dekker be made a ward of court because, it said, it was "irresponsible for such a young girl to make a two-year solo trip around the world".
The judges agreed, ruling Miss Dekker would face mental and physical risks if she were allowed to go ahead with her planned record attempt.
"The parents are going to have to negotiate all important decisions regarding Laura [Dekker] with the child protection services," said a court statement.
Miss Dekker has been put under the guardianship of the Utrecht Youth Care agency - which will not allow her to set sail - and the case will be reviewed after two months.
Miss Dekker was born on a yacht off the coast of New Zealand during a seven-year world trip.
She had a yacht by the age of six and began sailing solo when she was 10.
"I want simply to learn about the world and to live freely" she said.