Judges have given the green light for a 14-year-old Dutch girl to sail solo around
A court in Holland rejected a call by social services to extend Laura Dekker’s supervision order because of fears for her ‘social and emotional wellbeing’.
Laura, who has the backing of her parents, needs to complete a solo round-the-world trip before she turns 17 in September 2012 to set a world record.
Laura Dekker first made headlines last year when a Dutch court barred her from attempting a solo round-the-world voyage. Now she is 14, the ban has been lifted.
She hopes to embark on her voyage within two weeks.
Judges at Middelburg Family Court said they believed a guardianship order imposed
Presiding judge Suzanne Kuypers said: ‘With this decision, the responsibility for
Laura’s lawyer, Peter de Lange, said she was not in court because she was on her boat, Guppy.
‘She will be unbelievably happy with this. Justice has been done. She is looking forward to making the journey.’
The Council for Child Protection, the Dutch government's umbrella childcare agency, had asked the court to extend for another year a guardianship order that had prevented her from setting sail.
But the youth protection group looking after Miss Dekker had disagreed with authorities and said she was 'ready to sail.'
Writing on her blog last weekend, Miss Dekker was hopeful the court would lift the order, saying she took comfort from the fact that the welfare workers who have monitored her education and preparations for months believe she is ready.
Since making headlines around the world last year as a 13-year-old, Miss Dekker has obtained a bigger boat and equipped it with modern navigation and safety equipment.
She has also studied everything from how to stitch her own wounds to how to cope with sleep deprivation and how to put out fires on board her 11.5-metre twin-mast ketch.
'Laura has worked very hard in recent weeks on her survival techniques,' Mr de Lange said.
“If everything works out the way I want, I can leave for Portugal sometime in the next two weeks,' Laura wrote in her blog.
Laura and her supporters have carefully plotted a nearly two-year route from port to port around the world, including an alternative path around Africa to avoid the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden.
Laura was born on a yacht in New Zealand waters while her parents were sailing around the world and holds New Zealand and Dutch passports.
While her father has always backed Miss Dekker's plan, her mother initially opposed it before giving her daughter her assent earlier this year.
Laura could now become the youngest person to sail solo around the world, beating the mark now held by Australian 16-year-old Jessica Watson.
She spent 210 days sailing her yacht, Ella's Pink Lady, around the world.
杰西卡曾驾驶着自己的“Ella's Pink Lady”号游艇环游世界，一共花费了210天的时间。