Dutch Girl Attempts To Sail Around The World

Laura Dekker is only 14-years old and is about to attempt to sail around the world alone.  She is aiming to beat the record for youngest sailor  that was set by 16-year old Jessica Watson of Australia.

Laura's departure is actually a year late.  She had hoped to set out on her voyage at the ripe old age of 13.   The Dutch courts, however, prevented her departure on the grounds that missing school and being alone for such a long time would harm her education and be psychologically damaging.   After completing additional coursework in safety, acquiring a larger vessel, and preparing for sleep deprivation she was released from guardianship.
But her plans and legal wrangles have contributed to a global debate over the wisdom of allowing ever-younger sailors to take on the risks of sailing the high seas alone.

This of course begs the question of what type of pronged test do you develop for determining whether a child is allowed to attempt such a feat.  Clearly, age should just be one factor in the analysis.

Arthur Max has more: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5i2PUhRibN-l9UVKecyuyuzHrexIwD9HA4UUG0

Photo: AP/ Evert-Jan Daniels

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