Dutch teen sailing epic makes world headlines

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News of Laura Dekker’s record as the youngest person to sail solo around the world has drawn global media attention. After completing her voyage on Saturday afternoon in the Caribbean island of St Maarten, the 16-year-old received over 300 requests for an interview.

In addition to her 366 days at sea, most media also report on her legal battle with the Dutch Child Welfare Council and its attempts to stop her from undertaking the perilous journey before completing her secondary education.

The BBC, for example, recounts how Laura isn’t having nightmares involving pirates or coral reefs but is haunted instead by her dealings with the Dutch authorities. CNN hails her achievement as both historic and controversial. German daily also lauds her victory, not just over the elements of nature but especially “over all those who refused to have faith in her."

Non-stop The Australian newspaper the Herald Sun, however, is at pains to emphasise that Laura made several stops during her voyage around the world, in contrast to Jessica Watson, the Australian 17-year-old who had held the world record as the youngest person to sail solo around the world until she was beaten by Laura on Saturday.

Papers in New Zealand focus on the fact that Laura’s boat didn’t fly the Dutch flag but that of New Zealand. She was born off New Zealand’s coast on the boat her parents sailed during a voyage around the world that lasted seven years. Laura has announced her intention of settling in New Zealand once she graduates from secondary school later this year.  cl

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

1 Comment To This Article

  • Bob posted:

    on 23rd January 2012, 08:36:28 - Reply

    She is not Dutch..she is a Kiwi...