Last week we talked to Yosh and Bonita who left everything behind and went on the adventure around the world with their dog Marley and their sailboat Nandji. This week we bring you an interview with the youngest person to ever sail the world on her own – Laura Dekker.
When did you first start sailing? What was the first sailing trip you took on your own? When did you buy your first sailing boat?
I have always sailed with my parents from when I was less then one year old. I first got on board when I was just a one week and bought my first boat when I was 11.
How and when was this idea (of you sailing the world on your own) born? What was everybody’s reaction? How were you preparing for this adventure?
Just slowly when I was around 8 years old I knew that I wanted to sail around the world when I was big. And so I started preparing for it. Most people thought it was crazy and I would surely die. To prepare, I was reading, practicing (sailing everyday), sailing to England and to the Islands north of Holland. I studied navigation and asked a lot of questions. And worked very hard to earn some money for my boat.
What are some things you will always remember from your trip around the world? What did you miss the most from home?
The people I met along the way, all the beautiful lessons I learned from them and the cultures I saw. But also the time I spend alone and the valuable time to learn about myself and the world and have time to think. I missed my family, good food and a warm fresh water shower.
What happened to Guppy? We’ve seen you have been trying to get her to L.A. and from that point the story goes downhill? What are the latest updates?
Sadly, not really any further updates, all I know is LifeSail put her on a reef, left her there, so now she is a total loss and they didn’t tell me anything about it…
What have you currently been up to? Where your interest lie nowadays?
Working hard to make the Laura Dekker World Sailing Foundation reality! :D Still sailing as much as possible.
Could you tell us a bit about World Sailing Foundation?
Our vision is to take groups of young people, 9-17 years old from a diverse range of backgrounds onboard a ship that we have designed for this purpose and want to get build. Through the challenge of sailing & land based adventures they will gain lots of life skills and discover new horizons. A range of longer ocean voyages and shorter coastal trips aboard our purpose build sturdy training vessel will provide a uniquely powerful and extremely effective environment for the personal development of young people from all walks of life.
We’ve seen you’ve been to Dusseldorf boat show. How was it? What did you do there?
I was there to promote the foundation and lay new contacts. It was really tiring but also very great! Many new contacts to sponsors and people who could help, but also new insights for us as to how people look at it – which is very positive!
Can you name all the awards and achievements you’ve accomplished? What do you consider to be your biggest one?
Record holder youngest to singlehandedly sail around the world, from 2010 – 2012 (age 14 – 16), author of the book called ”One Girl One Dream” now published in 4 languages including Dutch, English, German and Polish, 2014 Winner of Expedition Poolcirkel, competition, doing extreme physical task in extreme environments of Iceland, 2013 took part in Expedition Atlas. Competition, doing several extreme physical and mental task in Morocco, youngest to get Yacht Master Ocean 200gt Certificate, Award of Merit, received in 2013 by the Ocean Cruising Club in Whangarei, New Zealand, Challenger of the Year Award, received in 2012 by Faust A.G in Tokyo, Japan. I am happy with all of them. I can’t really compare the feeling of accomplishment of writing the book with winning expedition Poolcirkel although I’m very proud of both of them :)
Some might say that you’ve already achieved your dreams? Is that true? If not, what is your dream now since you accomplished your original one of sailing the world?
I achieved a few dreams yes, but there is many many more! :) The one I’m seeking to accomplish now is the foundation and helping other kids and teenager to reach believe in themselves and reach their own dreams and goals.
What are the values you want to teach the kids with your project? What is the most important thing you’ve learnt while sailing?
Self confidence, fighting through hard times, learning to live without technology and therefore having to trust yourself, learning about other cultures and people teamwork and communication.