14-year-old departs for staging point of solo voyage

Published online: Aug 06, 2010 News Trade Only Today
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On the heels of 16-year-old Abby Sunderland's June dismasting and rescue in the Indian Ocean, Laura Dekker and her father sailed out of Amsterdam Wednesday and were bound for Portugal, where the 14-year-old Dutch sailor plans to begin her attempt to become the youngest solo circumnavigator.

Last week, a court released Dekker from the guardianship of Dutch child protection services, which had blocked her initial plan to depart at age 13 over fears for her safety and psychological health during the trip.

Dekker plans to put in at ports along the way to meet up with family, rest, reprovision and make repairs, according to an Associated Press report. She may also return home to catch up on her studies, if necessary, and resume her trip at a later time.

She is sailing a 38-foot Jeanneau Gin Fizz ketch that she has named Guppy.

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