Laura Dekker has completed the first stage of her journey by crossing the Atlantic Ocean and reaching the island of St. Maarten over the weekend. It took her 17-days to sail from the Cape Verde Islands aboard her 38ft yacht affectionally named Guppy.
Reaching the Caribbean is a milestone for the teen, who hopes to set a new record for the youngest to sail solo around the world. It has been a turbulent path for the Dutch girl, who saw her departure blocked by authorities on more than one occasion due to her young age. Earlier this year she was finally granted permission to sail, and set out for the Gibraltar. She then spent two months in the Canary Islands, preparing for the voyage ahead. Once the Guppy was sea worthy, and her skills were finely honed, Dekker hit the open ocean on December 2nd.
Clearly Laura is in no hurry, and she still has nearly two years to break the youngest record, which is currently held by Australian Jessica Watson, who completed the solo sail a few days shy of her 17th birthday. Dekker currently plans to sail the warm Caribbean waters for a time, with an eye on passing through the Panama Canal in the April/May time frame.
It is "so far, so good" for Laura. There hadn't been much news on her progress until now, but it seems that she is doing well and enjoying the experience. Her unhurried pace reflects a course that has been designed for her to avoid some of the perils of the high sea as much as possible. For example, Watson had to deal with the notoriously bad waters off of Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope, which can be very dangerous, but Dekker's route will allow her to bypass those hazards.
Congrats to Laura for completing the first phase of the journey. Well done!