An Incredibly Normal Trip Around the World

Sailing vessel Guppy has made landfall (in case you haven't already heard)!  And her captain, Laura Dekker, is now the youngest person to have circumnavigated the Earth single-handed.  Laura completed her circumnavigation on January 21, 2012 in Simpson Bay on Sint Maarten.  I've written before about sailing records and my mixed emotions when it comes to young sailors (Laura set out when she was just 15 years old!) and these mind-blowing attempts.  The bottom line is that I couldn't possibly support such an attempt by one of my own daughters.  But if I'm completely honest, there's also a part of me that is majorly impressed with Laura's accomplishment.

Here's a bit from Laura's blog about the end of her amazing journey:

"The dark and starry night sky slowly vanishes its floating lights sprinkling to dust as small islands appear on the horizon. I can see Sint Maarten very far in the distance. St. Eustatius is behind me, Saba is abeam and St. Bath is on starboard. The Simpson Bay bridge opening is for 3 pm this afternoon so I have to keep at a maximum speed of 4 knots but even with the mainsail reefed, the Genoa furled and the mizzen Guppy is still going at 5,5 knots... 366 days ago I was sailing by on the opposite side of those islands heading southward as I watched Sint Maarten fall over the horizon. Now I recognize the shape of the islands and it sinks into my mind that Sint Maarten is just ahead, that I have circumnavigated the whole world in one year... solo. I decide to bring about Guppy as a strong squall is coming on us and anyway she is already going too fast. A heavy curtain of rain hides the islands from me and I am annoyed that even though Sint Maarten is right there close, I still have to wait. But two more hours are nothing to 41 days of sailing. So I am an hour away from St. Barth, and I have stopped our progression to wait for the signal from Sint Maarten to come in. I sailed around the world and I am still surprised that it just feels so incredibly normal..."

Amazing that she now belongs to a club with just one member but still feels "incredibly normal".  I'm also impressed that of the multiple youngsters who have attempted to set this record recently, Laura's attempt came with the least fanfare.  I believe Laura when she says this wasn't about publicity, money, or the record per se.  Rather, she wanted to see if she could rise to the challenge and learn a thing or two about life.  Mission accomplished.  As if sailing around the world wasn't enough, Laura and her father  have already sailed on from St. Maarten aboard Guppy and have now recently arrived in Bonaire.  Apparently sailing is incredibly normal for the Dekker family.

So what's your opinion of Laura's circumnavigation?


  1. Anonymous20 February

    I admire Laura's efforts. We first met her in the San Blas islands, then again in Panama. I take my hat off to her for the circumnavigation, but I also think there's no way I'd let me daughter sail alone around the world when she's 15.
    S/Y Connect4\connect4


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