There now appears to be as many young sailors seeking to be the youngest to circumnavigate the world as there are routes to do it. In the past year we saw Zac Sunderland (USA) do it with stops, heading west from Los Angeles and using the Panama Canal. Mike Perham (GBR) did it with stops from England, going east and around all the Capes (correction: he went thru Panama Canal rather than around Cape Horn). Jessica Watson (AUS) also went east and around all the Capes, but began from her country in the southern latitudes and made no stops. Then of course there was the train wreck - aka Abby Sunderland - that tried to go solo non-stop from Los Angeles, but her failed easterly route around all the Capes was plagued by boat failure, and arguably, brain failure.
The latest seeking to join this party is Dutch teen Laura Dekker, who just arrived in Portugal from the southwestern Netherlands to complete a 10-day test cruise with her father leading up to her bid to become the youngest person to sail around the world solo. Sailing her red-hulled 11.5 metre (38 foot) ketch Guppy, the trip was meant to iron out any technical problems before launching her official solo bid, which will leave from Portugal sometime within the next week.
Dekker wants to break the record for the youngest world solo sail set in May by Australian teenager Jessica Watson. Watson completed a non-stop, unassisted round-the-world trip a few days before her 17th birthday. Dekker turns 17 on September 20, 2012, allowing her a little over two years to complete the trip, during which she intends to stop at several ports along the way.
And for the latest variation of world circumnavigation, Dekker has said her route from Portugal will take her across the Atlantic Ocean and into the Pacific via the Panama Canal. She plans to stop at the Galapagos islands before heading to Australia, Thailand then through the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden, up the Red Sea to the Suez Canal, connecting to the Mediterranean Sea for her return to Portugal. -- Scuttleblog
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