"Mais aux âmes bien nées, la valor n'attend pas le nombre des années". This quote, by French author Corneille, which would roughly translate as "But to well born souls, value does not await the number of years." could be fitting for Laura Decker, who left last summer for a two year single-handed Round the World Tour on a sailboat ... at the age of 14!
The story alerted the press because in the end it was the Dutch justice system who had to authorize the girl's departure. And this appears to have been a wise decision considering how ready Laura was for this journey. Her lawyer describes her well: "Laura was born on a boat off the coast of New Zealand; she has salt in her blood. She knows exactly what she wants, she is a top athlete; the qualities she possesses practically make her an adult. In fact, one is struck by Laura's composure, poise, and maturity at first meeting.
Laura is embarking on Guppy, a Gin Fizz ketch, whose qualities, Dick, her father, can appreciate since he sailed on a Gin Fizz with friends on his own around the world tour between 1991 and 1996. The ketch rigging is easier for Laura to handle. "This boat is my second home. Guppy means everything to me, says Laura. "When I'm not surfing or sailing, I'm usually at the port working on her."
The boat dates back to 1973. Dick, Laura's father, just lengthened the rudder, which makes the boat more stable; the boat can practically sail itself. The hull was reinforced in several areas and a second generator was installed in case of emergency.
Laura's goal is to beat the Around the World record as the youngest sailor. The actual title holder, Zac Sunderland, a 17 year old Californian, is old compared to Laura who turned 14 the day she left on her journey.
We wish her Fair Winds on this adventure and invite you to visit her site http:/www.lauradekker.nl.