>The Young & The Restless


13-year-old Laura Dekker: http://www.lauradekker.nl/

I met Darrel Nicholson who’s now the senior editor for ‘Practical Navigator’ magazine when I was in Vanuatu in 1995. He recently contacted me for a magazine feature regarding the recent spate of youngest solo circumnavigation records by- American Zac Sunderland, Britian Mike Perham, Australian Jessica Watson & 13-year-old Dutch-woman Laura Dekker. The focus of the article is whether there should be age-limits imposed on solo circumnavigation record attempts… Illustrated below are some of my beliefs.

Brian, thanks for your help, its just my one page editorial written by the editor, so there won’t be any opportunity to write. But I will be sure to promote your current exploits. Could you answer these three questions briefly?
1. What are you doing now?

“Cruising my Albin Vega 27 on a meandering double-handed circumnavigation as my (away from France base)- while doing as many yacht deliveries as possible (just deliveried the Spencer 65 “Ragtime” from New Zealand to LA) to try to finance my continued presence in the French Mini Transit circuit aboard #433 – the winning boat of the 2005 Mini Transat.”
2. Could you elaborate any more on your response? Why you feel this way, etc.?

“There should be no age limits for too many reasons. For one, because I could and wanted to leave much younger when we returned from cruising at age-15. Finding the money was by far the hardest part! There was nothing between age-15 and 19 that helped me on the circumnavigation other than gathering the necessary funding! I’ve known many talented young cruising kids more mature than your run of the mill land-folk. Parents, not governments should decide whether to allow their children to live their dreams. Besides, Alexander the Great won his first battle when he was 16! Who are we to judge the limits of the Bell Curve?!

…Today wine bottles come with warning labels. Everyone has become too safety conscious! Besides, its safer for “At-Risk-Youth” than sitting around on the street corner having a go at drugs or prostitution at the tender age of 15 or younger! As my parents said – they felt safer knowing I was out there versus hanging around at the shopping mall with no dreams.”

– bj caldwell

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