Court OKs Girl's Global Solo Sail

Dekker, 14, was made Dutch ward for protection
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 28, 2010 2:21 AM CDT
Court OKs Girl's Global Solo Sail
Laura Dekker was made a ward of a Dutch court last year when her father said the then-13-year-old girl could sail around the world alone.   (AP Photo/Gromyko Wilson, File)

(Newser) – A Dutch court has given the go-ahead for a 14-year-old girl to sail alone around the world just weeks after an American teenager attempting the same goal had to be rescued at sea. Laura Dekker's plan ignited a storm of controversy about the risks younger and younger children face as they try to set new records. Dutch authorities made Laura a ward of the court last year after her father approved the arduous trip. A youth assessment organization finally determined this year she was ready to sail and the court agreed, the Guardian reports.

"She will be unbelievably happy with this. Justice has been done," her attorney said when the decision was announced. The young sailor will likely leave on her odyssey within the next few weeks. The trip is expected to take two years. The current record holder is 16-year-old Austrailian Jessica Watson. Californian sailor Abby Sutherland, 16, was rescued by a French fishing boat last month when she ran into trouble trying to circle the world alone.
(Read more Laura Dekker stories.)

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