As 16 year old Jessica Watson approaches Sydney Harbour near the end of her circumnavigation of the world, Abby Sunderland is halfway around the world at Cape Town and Laura Dekker will set off in September on her attempt at being the youngest to complete a circumnavigation.
Last year Laura was prevented from setting sail by the Dutch Authorities on the grounds that she was too young, but she has now acquired a larger yacht and she has overcome the bureaucracy that was preventing her from embarking on her voyage. Recently after fitting out her yacht, a 38’ Jeanneau Ginfizz ketch, she started conducting sea trials.
Currently the English lad Mike Perham holds the record for being the youngest person to sail around the world single-handed, but it looks as though Jessica will take his crown when she arrives in Sydney in a couple of days time. Mike was 17 years, 5 months and 11 days old when he completed his circumnavigation, whereas Jessica will be 16 years, and 11 months. Laura was born on 20th September, 1995; therefore she is aged 14 years, 6 months and 20 days (as I write). If Abby Sunderland succeeds in her attempt at being the youngest circumnavigator, Laura will need to complete her voyage before July, 2012, which gives her 2 years and 2 months to do it. Abby Sunderland was born on 19th October, 1993, which means she’s 16 ½ years; therefore she’ll have to finish her circumnavigation within 5 months to steal the record from Jessica., but the older girl will retain her record for being the youngest to sail around the world without stopping and without direct assistance.
What is it that motivates these young people to undertake such difficult and dangerous ventures? I would suggest with all four of them they want to prove that despite the odds being against them, they can accomplish something that was previously thought to be impossible for people of their age to do.
Mike Perham’s Website
Abby Sunderland’s Blog
Laura Dekker Video
Laura Dekker Wikipedia
My Previous Blog about Laura