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14-year-old Dutch sailor Laura Dekker sets sail – despite growing controversy

Laura Dekker set sail from Portugal Saturday in a bid to become the youngest sailor to circumnavigate the globe.

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"Laura was born off the coast of New Zealand on the family boat when her parents were sailing around the world. While she may have a considerable amount of skills, she has also shown us her impulsiveness. In December, she ran away from home in the Netherlands to the Bahamas, where she planned to buy a boat.”

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And then there’s discussion of Laura’s route.

Laura Dekker is very young. Many people will object on that alone,” writes a blogger called Syrah. “While I find her age to be a little worrisome, I am more concerned about the route that she will travel. Jessica Watson traveled south and sailed around the three Capes, Cape Agulhas, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn).

Where Watson had to brave stormy seas, Dekker will have to brave filthy pirates.”

The route Laura has mapped out takes her across the Atlantic Ocean and into the Pacific through the Panama Canal. She plans to make a few stops along the way for supplies and schooling. One stop will be the Galapagos islands before she heads to Australia, Thailand, and through the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden back to Europe, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Laura has been aiming to begin this journey for the better part of a year and doesn’t seem about to give up now.

The current official record is held by Mike Perham, who completed his round-the-world voyage last year when he was 17-years-old.

Jessica Watson completed the voyage in May and holds the (slightly contested) unofficial record.

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