A battle is being waged in a court in Utrecht over the right of a 13-year-old girl to attempt a record to be the youngest person ever to sail single-handed around the world. The Dutch Council for Child Protection is seeking temporary protective custody of Laura Dekker to prevent her putting her life in jeopardy. Dekker lives with her father, an accomplished sailor, who is separated from her mother.
Dekker would follow in the footsteps of two sailors both vying to be the youngest solo circumnavigator. Zac Sunderland, 17, finished his record-breaking voyage in July, but his record will soon be eclipsed by British teen Mike Perham, who is three months younger and is about to arrive home in the Solent on his Open 60, Totallymoney.com.
Perham has backed Dekker's bid to sail into the record books. Perham's boat is a high-powered 60-footer, whereas Dekker would be sailing a relatively tiny 26-foot craft.
The court is expected to give its decision by the end of the week.