PDA

View Full Version : Dutch teen who sought solo sailing trip disappear



Ted Hoppe
12-20-2009, 12:20 PM
AP – FILE - This Aug. 24, 2009 file photo shows, from left, Dick Dekker, his daughter Laura Dekker and her …
By MIKE CORDER, Associated Press Writer – 2 hrs 9 mins ago
THE HAGUE, Netherlands – Laura Dekker, the 14-year-old Dutch girl whose bid to sail solo around the world was blocked by a court, has gone missing, leaving behind her boat, police said Sunday. Dekker appears to have left her father's home on her own, Utrecht police spokesman Bernhard Jens told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. Her boat, Guppy, is still moored at its usual berth.
"We do not believe this is a crime," Jens said. Jens would not comment on a report in Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant that Dekker withdrew euro3,500 ($5,000) from her bank account a few days ago. Dutch broadcaster NOS cited a family spokeswoman as saying that Laura left a letter for her father before disappearing. It did not say what was in the letter.
The spokeswoman, Mariska Woertman, did not return calls seeking comment.

In October, Utrecht District Court refused to let Dekker embark on her attempt to become the youngest person to sail alone around the world, and placed her under the supervision of child care authorities until next July, meaning she could not leave the country without their permission. Jens said Dutch authorities have alerted neighboring countries to monitor airports.
"That happens with missing minors — if she is seen somewhere else or tries to leave via an airport or something like that, authorities know we are looking for her," he said. Dekker has joint Dutch and New Zealand citizenship because she was born on a yacht in New Zealand waters. She said earlier this year she might try to go there if Dutch authorities refused to let her sail. "We are doing everything we can to make sure we can get her back," Jens said. "We are certainly concerned about her health — we are talking about an underage girl."
After the October court ruling Woertman said Dekker remained confident she would be ready to sail next July and would still be able to set the record as the youngest sailor to circumnavigate the globe.

The Utrecht court first blocked her departure in August out of concern for her safety. The decision sparked a worldwide debate on how much authorities and parents should limit children's freedom to undertake risky adventures.
Laura's parents, both veteran sailors, are separated. Laura's father supported the attempt but her mother said in a newspaper interview in September she thought Laura was too young.
________________________________________

There are many issues beyond being a willful teenager.

John Turpin
12-20-2009, 01:12 PM
Oh my. This story just gets stranger. I hope the young lady is safe.

ishmael
12-20-2009, 01:36 PM
Hm. Sounds like a young lady a mite upset. I hope nothing more nefarious.

How did the Dutch courts get involved with this? Fourteen is pretty young, but if her parents were OK with it? How old was Robin Graham when he set out? Maybe sixteen?

Nanoose
12-20-2009, 02:09 PM
How did the Dutch courts get involved with this? Fourteen is pretty young, but if her parents were OK with it? How old was Robin Graham when he set out? Maybe sixteen?

Legally, at that age, she is supposed to be in school. Telling the school she was going to be absent for two years became the issue.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8423325.stm

Ian McColgin
12-20-2009, 02:24 PM
The school bit is a total after the fact crock of a rationalization. English authorities essentially incarcerater her in foster care and returned her to the Dutch after those authorities agreed to a coercivly supervised situation.

It sounds as if she's run away, whether to New Zealand or some place else remains to be seen.

This is a good example of state intervention turning out to be really destructive. I hope she somehow finds the freedom of the seas.

ishmael
12-20-2009, 02:28 PM
That's kinda what I figured, Nanoose.

If she's capable of circumnavigating, keeping a course, reading a sextant and doing the sight reduction geometry, not to mention keeping an accurate log and knowing how to sail, I say she'd learn as much at sea in more than a year than she would in school.

I can, however, understand the concerns of the law. A rather tough nut this one, and she has apparently run away from it. I hope she makes it back home and takes another stab at this.

Nanoose
12-20-2009, 02:29 PM
The school bit is a total after the fact crock of a rationalization.

Must be nice to be so 'in the know'...:rolleyes:

jonboy
12-20-2009, 02:58 PM
If she's capable of circumnavigating, keeping a course, reading a sextant and doing the sight reduction geometry, not to mention keeping an accurate log and knowing how to sail, I say she'd learn as much at sea in more than a year than she would in school.



I sincerely hope she's ok of course as I am concerned in a vicarious way about anyone in even vaguely my field of interest who is in a tricky situation... If she has Ish's quoted skills fantastic and if she hasn't well she' ll learn soon enough ... I haven't met anybody under fifty who isn't reliant on electronic nav. except the offspring of sailors like I guess this girl is... she's obviously mature well beyond her years...good wishes and thoughts, and if she has simply succumbed to incessant media pressure may she keep her head and spirit down and cool until this blows over. good luck kid.

jonboy
12-20-2009, 05:12 PM
They've just found her in St Maarten... quote 'they don't know how she got there' sure as s..t is brown she didn't sail there or she's even better than we all thought....

Ian McColgin
12-20-2009, 06:29 PM
It only takes reading the news to be this far "in the know." She had an approved education plan and when the English first accosted her and then when the whole bit with Dutch authories got involved there was nary a hint of concern about her schooling, just her sailing off solo. The schooling was just ex post facto added rationalization to buck up the rather weak case that the parents were somehow negligent or worse in supporting her dream.

I can understand, though obviously I disagree with, people who think that she might be too young to take such a risk with her life. But that is the legitimate concern, coupled with the question as to whether the state has or should have the power to control access to such a risk, as opposed to the very real risk of death in a parent's auto, or the risk of being alone as opposed to the risk of being assaulted in society.

The risks this young woman is wittingly facing are likely lower and certainly more noble that the accidental risks of life ashore.

Ian McColgin
12-20-2009, 09:38 PM
From BBC news

DUTCH GIRL FOUND SAFE IN ANTILLES

A Dutch teenager barred from sailing solo around the world because of her age has been found on a Caribbean island after disappearing, police say.

Laura Dekker, 14, is in police custody on the Dutch Antilles island of St Maarten, three days after relatives in the Netherlands reported her missing.

A Dutch police spokesman said the girl had been found "safe and sound".

Miss Dekker has been under supervision since a court blocked her bid to be the youngest person to sail the globe solo.

“ When did she leave the Netherlands? Why? How did she get to St Maarten? Did somebody help her and was she alone? ”
Bernhard Jens police spokesman
Police said earlier they did not suspect any crime had been committed.

The court order in the city of Utrecht placed Miss Dekker under state supervision, while living with her father, until the end of her school year in July 2010.

After she vanished on Friday, her boat was found moored at its berth and she appears to have left her father's home on her own.

An unconfirmed Dutch newspaper report said she had withdrawn 3,500 euros ($5,000) from her bank account.

Questions

Utrecht police spokesman Bernhard Jens said the girl had been recognised by a woman living on the island who had been alerted to her disappearance by media coverage.

"We have lots more questions," he told AFP news agency.

"When did she leave the Netherlands? Why? How did she get to St Maarten? Did somebody help her and was she alone?"

At the time of the much-publicised court ruling in October, Miss Dekker's spokeswoman said she was disappointed but that the teenager could still set the record if she were to sail next year.

Miss Dekker is a seasoned sailor who was born on a yacht off the coast of New Zealand during a seven-year world trip.

She had a yacht by the age of six and began sailing solo when she was 10.

Her father, Dick Dekker, supports her attempt at the record, while her mother has expressed some concerns.

Miss Dekker had planned to spend about two years aboard her 8-m (26-ft) boat, Guppy, to break the record set in August by a 17-year-old UK boy.

Mike Perham tackled 50ft waves, gale force winds and technical problems during the 45,000-km (28,000-mile) circumnavigation, which took him nine months.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/8423325.stm

Published: 2009/12/20 23:55:02 GMT

BBC MMIX

L.W. Baxter
12-20-2009, 09:50 PM
I hope she somehow finds the freedom of the seas.

Clearly, she already had that. And she could have set off around the world any day of the week if it hadn't been publicized, right? There's no rule that says you have to declare your intentions of sailing around the world, if that's what you really want to do just for the sake of doing it. But obviously, this is about some asinine record, not "freedom".

I support people doing extraordinary things but if one wants to live outside society's norms then maybe one shouldn't go looking for official record keeping.

Ian McColgin
12-20-2009, 10:17 PM
People who did great things without publicity - Scott, Adumson, Tillman, Hillary, Chichester, Hiscocks, Pardeys, Smeetons, Byrd, Perry, Lindberg, Earhart . . . .

Unlike Mr. Baxter, I am not surprised, offended or put off by elements of self-publication, ego gratification, grandstanding, writing about it to make money, or making a profession of achievements. If it's a feat I admire, then the human elements both noble and base that came together for that feat are part of the whole story from which we may learn.

Phillip Allen
12-20-2009, 10:30 PM
I don't like circus...

rbgarr
12-20-2009, 10:45 PM
Scott didn't seek public acclaim?? News to me.

Ian McColgin
12-20-2009, 10:49 PM
Could my sarcasm have been insufficiently dripping?

L.W. Baxter
12-21-2009, 02:37 AM
People who did great things without publicity - Scott, Adumson, Tillman, Hillary, Chichester, Hiscocks, Pardeys, Smeetons, Byrd, Perry, Lindberg, Earhart . . . .

Unlike Mr. Baxter, I am not surprised, offended or put off by elements of self-publication, ego gratification, grandstanding, writing about it to make money, or making a profession of achievements. If it's a feat I admire, then the human elements both noble and base that came together for that feat are part of the whole story from which we may learn.

Mr. McColgin misinterprets me.

But, he wants to compare this 14 year old girl (and her $5000 personal bank account) to a list of great explorers and adventurers? Oh, lets!

Would any of the people on this hallowed list have been stymied in achieving greatness by government social workers? In the first test of their will to greatness, this girl and her dad failed to outwit a bunch of mid-level civil servants. It makes one wonder if they are really ready to blaze trail.

If you re-read my original post, you will see that I merely suggested that the girl and her "supportive", knucklehead father could have carried out this grand scheme before bragging about it. Daddy could have had the media waiting at the finish line if that's what it's all about. At that point, they would have been at least one step up from balloon boy's family in my estimation.

Phillip Allen
12-21-2009, 08:01 AM
Seeking stardom is a progressive disease...youngest to circumnavigate...14? Well then, let us make it 13...then 12...11...10...Then when the edge of that particular envelope is found shall we send a progression of younger and younger virginal sacrifices to the alter of fame? I can see it easily; parents finding ways to cheat death for their child until he/she can get them on the current iteration of reality TV...

I dislike circus because it brings out circus goers…the absolute dregs of earthly society…to be looked to, tea leaf-like, as a harbinger of our bleak future.

We drink down the best we can find and then study the waste we leave behind seeking enlightenment…

Sorry…bit of a rant…this stuff is SOOO foolish!

botebum
12-21-2009, 08:19 AM
Mr. Baxter, It's my understanding that what tripped them up was jumping through the hoops required to keep the girl out of school for 2 years not the seeking of fame. So, what you advocate is that they should have broken the law in order to achieve their goal?

Doug

Phillip Allen
12-21-2009, 08:26 AM
there are laws and then there are laws...there have been laws requiring people to turn in their Jewish neighbors...I reserve the right to judge laws

botebum
12-21-2009, 08:44 AM
Phillip, Do you feel that laws requiring children to get an education are unjust? If so, as unjust as laws requiring you to send your neighbor to a certain death?:rolleyes:

Doug

paladin
12-21-2009, 08:55 AM
Ian...I think you will find that Amelia Earharts trip was orchestrated by her husband as a "publicity stunt......He published her book, "20 hours and 40 minutes" as the first woman to cross the Atlantic in a plane.....what they didn't mention in the publicity info was that she crossed sitting in the back as a passenger....I have her autographed books.

Hwyl
12-21-2009, 08:57 AM
If she is in Sint Maarten she has not left the Netherlands but has left the EEU, but she can walk there.

ishmael
12-21-2009, 08:58 AM
I finally got around to reading the BBC blurb. She sounds like a high-spirited lass, and it sounds likely there are some family issues lurking. Who can blame her for wanting to sail away?

Maybe some compromise? Last I looked there were programs for troubled teens where they spend a semester at sea, with teachers who keep them up with their studies.

From the sound of things, if you put too tight a bridle on this colt further rebellion will ensue.

John Turpin
12-21-2009, 09:55 AM
Somewhere in her future is a husband that had better buckle his seatbelt.

Phillip Allen
12-21-2009, 12:22 PM
Phillip, Do you feel that laws requiring children to get an education are unjust? If so, as unjust as laws requiring you to send your neighbor to a certain death?:rolleyes:

Doug

no...

I do think laws that require you to educate your children according to fashion are unjust...laws that require you to buy your childs education from the law makers outlet store are unjust...do I need to go on?

Phillip Allen
12-21-2009, 12:23 PM
Ian...I think you will find that Amelia Earharts trip was orchestrated by her husband as a "publicity stunt......He published her book, "20 hours and 40 minutes" as the first woman to cross the Atlantic in a plane.....what they didn't mention in the publicity info was that she crossed sitting in the back as a passenger....I have her autographed books.

Beryl Markham...

L.W. Baxter
12-21-2009, 01:42 PM
Mr. Baxter, It's my understanding that what tripped them up was jumping through the hoops required to keep the girl out of school for 2 years not the seeking of fame. So, what you advocate is that they should have broken the law in order to achieve their goal?

Doug

I don't advocate spit, Doug. But if these folks--and their sympathizers-- think that an age-related stunt is somehow groundbreaking or important, they can all have at it. Most stunts require some skirting of the technicalities; these people should have realized that.

I do have a 13 year old daughter, though. I can identify with the feeling of the father that his daughter is special, exceptional, wise and capable well beyond her years, and so forth. My girl is smart, tough, creative, physically and emotionally mature, and the apple of my eye. All the same, I know what my duty to her is. It's my watch, so to speak. She'll have her turn at the wheel soon enough.

I know that there is more to the development of a whole person than indulgence, exceptional treatment, and unlimited "freedom". A person does not become whole until he or she internalizes the ways in which she is just like everybody else. No 13 year old girl needs help feeling different, isolated, or alone at the center of the universe. She needs help to see that she is part of a larger whole, other people and their troubles have a value equal to her own, and that the earth does not revolve around her.

This Dutch girl's father is a fool. He doesn't know his own place as a father. He thinks he is raising a free spirit but he has raised a thoughtless runaway, by his license and funded with his cash.

botebum
12-21-2009, 01:57 PM
I can't judge the abilities of the daughter. She may be capable. I can't imagine allowing my daughter to do it but I get terrified watching my kids on the trampoline. I'm just looking at the legal issues and it seems they tried to follow them and were thwarted.

Doug

TimH
12-21-2009, 02:04 PM
I think kids who are born and raised into a gypsy lifestyle cannot be expected to adhere to the same standards as ordinary kids. They arent necessarily smarter or dumber, but have different synapse connections.

Ted Hoppe
12-21-2009, 02:37 PM
I think she believes the hype that surounds(ed) her. One granted the limelight rarely fares well. Cases in point - Tiger Woods, any notable star, profiled politican, big high school quarterbacks, first draft choices, most chess masters or even Global Company CEOs. The corrupting effect when put in the larger pubicity machine makes our most often heroes into flawed mortals. It is by way of money and power that dirty laundry if kept from view.

Steve Paskey
12-25-2009, 08:41 AM
This is a good example of state intervention turning out to be really destructive. I hope she somehow finds the freedom of the seas.

She'll get there eventually, but what's the rush?

According to some stories I've read, the Dutch court's inquiry found that she's never received any first aid training and has never practiced the sleep management techniques required for safely doing a long-distance solo voyage. And the court apparently has said that it's willing to revisit the issue after the current school year ends.

So instead of better preparing herself with the hope of going next year, she's run off to the Bahamas. That's not the sort of emotional maturity and discipline I'd want to see from a 14-year-old who thinks she's ready for a solo circumnavigation.

And let's not forget that her mother doesn't think she's ready and is opposed to the trip. Sorry, but when you're 14 years old, the wishes of your mother trump your own.

Steve Paskey
12-25-2009, 10:40 AM
She needs help to see that she is part of a larger whole, other people and their troubles have a value equal to her own, and that the earth does not revolve around her.

That seems to be very true. Apparently she told her mom: "If you ban me you will ruin my life." What does a 14-year-old know of life?

Here's the view of her mother, Babs Muller:


“She can sail like the devil — that’s not the problem,” said Ms Muller, in an intervew with the Dutch daily De Volkskrant. “But I see problems when she stays in Third World ports, and in the psychological challenge of being alone at sea. She is not yet grown up.”

Ms Muller, who has only limited access to Laura under the terms of the divorce settlement, said she was afraid that her daughter would sever all contact. “Laura said: ‘If you ban me you will ruin my life’.” However, she believed that she had to speak out now — even if it meant jeopardising her relationship with her daughter.

“It breaks my heart that I may lose contact with her,” she said. “I have never in my life had to take such a difficult decision. But I would rather have a living daughter whom I do not see than a dead daughter.”

downthecreek
12-25-2009, 11:09 AM
English authorities essentially incarcerater her in foster care and returned her to the Dutch after those authorities agreed to a coercivly supervised situation.


I don't think you are quite as much "in the know" as you think.

English authorities did not "incarcerate" or "accost" her. She turned up alone, having sailed across the North Sea, and the English authorities simply did what the law required in respect of unaccompanied minors and placed her briefly in foster care until her father gave permission for her to sail back, which she did. As far as they were concerned, the young lady was the responsibility of her legal guardians in the Netherlands. What she did after she had moved out of their sphere of responsibility was of no concern and there were certainly no conditions set as to what the Dutch authorities might decide about her future.

Edited to suggest - that most parents whose 14 year old daughters turned up unannounced and unaccompanied in a foreign land would probably be quite pleased that the relevant authorities in that country took some interest in the situation and made sure that the child was travelling with their knowledge and agreement before allowing her to continue on her way.