14-year-old Laura Dekker sets out on a two-year voyage in pursuit of her dream to become the youngest person ever to sail around the world alone.14-year-old Laura Dekker sets out on a two-year voyage in pursuit of her dream to become the youngest person ever to sail around the world alone.14-year-old Laura Dekker sets out on a two-year voyage in pursuit of her dream to become the youngest person ever to sail around the world alone.
Laura Decker announced her intention when she was only 13. Right away the Dutch government tried to stop her, even taking the case to court. But after almost a year of haggling the court finally did the right thing and said it was a decision Laura and her parents had to make.
The yacht might seem large to some, but for sailing the mighty oceans a 40-foot boat is pretty small. But she and her dad, a boat builder, outfitted it specifically for the trip and sponsors gave instruments for her navigation. But I was impressed to see that she also had old-fashioned charts and a sextant so that she could navigate even if the instruments with GPS guidance failed.
All the filming at sea was done by Laura herself. Often she would mount the camera at a strategic spot to film what was going on but the camera was not mounted rigidly and the slight to-fro movement added a lot of the sense of being there. Much of the filming was done in her cabin and kitchen area and in most respects what we see is your typical teenager, acting goofy like a typical teenager, but on a fantastic trip. And relishing the alone time.
At times the water and winds were too calm for days at a time and boredom set in. At other times windy storms came up things get real exciting but Laura simply sailed smartly with no time for fear. And when she was on deck she always had on her harness and safety rope. It is very clear that she knew what she was doing.
The other nice touch, she didn't try to sail around the world as fast as she could, instead she took almost 2 years and stopped along the way many times to spend time and enjoy the local sights and culture. By the time she got to Darwin, Australia her sails were ripped and several parts of the boat were damaged. Her dad flew there to meet her and together they spent most of 4 weeks completely renovating the boat for the rest of her journey.
Laura Dekker is not your ordinary teenager, and as she was nearing completion of her trip at St. Maartens she decided she didn't want to return to Holland. Instead she kept going, until she arrived in New Zealand, a country she already had citizenship by virtue of her birth there. Getting a job to earn money and continue to become a better sailor.
My thoughts would have been quite different if she had perished at sea, but she didn't. Some people are just born to do things that others would not. It reminds me of a young Charles Lindbergh who flew solo across the Atlantic in 1927, or a young Mozart who was composing before he was 10.
Quite a nice film, I found my self watching it twice on Netflix streaming films. Now my public library has the DVD so I can re-watch it any time I want.
- Sep 9, 2014