Dutch Teen Sails 'Round the World

Laura Dekker completes voyage in Caribbean
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2012 3:00 PM CST
Laura Dekker, center, is surrounded by media as she walks to her boat in Den Osse, south west Netherlands, Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010.   (AP Photo/Bas Czerwinski)
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(Newser) – Dutch teenager Laura Dekker sailed into the Caribbean harbor of St. Maarten to a cheering crowd today after circumnavigating the globe, the Telegraph reports. Controversies surround the 16-year-old sailor, who fled Holland in 2010 when officials tried to stop her voyage. Dekker claims to be the youngest round-the-world sailor, but it's unofficial: Guinness World Records stopped recognizing "youngest" sailors after Dekker announced her sailing plan at age 13.

The free-spirited teen won a 10-month court battle with Dutch authorities before embarking from an undisclosed port in Portugal in August 2010. In blogs she wrote at sea, Dekker expressed her anger at Dutch officials and said her five court appearances would “haunt her for a long time." She added that the controversy has grown so tiresome, she may move abroad—to New Zealand, say, where she was born on a boat during a 7-year trip made by her parents.

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