Saturday, January 21, 2012

Controversial Because People Don't Understand Sailing

Dutch teen completes historic, controversial solo sail around the globe - CNN.com The youngest person to sail around the world.
Some 518 days after she first set off alone in her sailboat, 16-year-old Laura Dekker glided into a Caribbean port on Saturday to complete her historic, and controversial, voyage around the globe.
Also a bit controversial because of the route she took. I won't bore you with the minutia of sailing records.

But it was controversial because she was taken away from her parents because they wouldn't stop her from starting the journey. And the court put a bunch of roadblocks in her way (for her own good - it's for the children) that apparently had nothing to do with the voyage.
"Now, after sailing around the world, with difficult port approaches, storms, dangerous reefs, and the full responsibility of keeping myself and the Guppy safe, I feel that the nightmares the Dutch government organizations put me through, were totally unfair," she added.
People have been sailing around the world in small boats for sometime, and doing it alone for more than 100 years (Look up Joshua Slocum. He was the first to do it alone, with pretty poor equipment. He went, mostly because someone told him it was impossible for a person to sail around the world single-handed.

Boats today are better than boats of 100 years ago. And the technology available to the sailor today - from GPS on down - is light years ahead of what had been available. (Slocum sailed around the world with some questionable charts and cheap wind-up clock for a chronometer. And a sextant of course, but have you ever tried to use a sextant from the deck of a small vessel?)

Anyway, she is home safe in just 518 days. 27,000 nautical miles. More or less.

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