29 Aug 2009

She can do it - Dutch girl's lawyer backs global voyage

5:19 pm on 29 August 2009

The lawyer for the 13-year-old Dutch girl who wants to be the youngest person to sail around the world alone says he's confident a psychological report will enable her to make the journey.

A court in the Netherlands has made Laura Dekker a ward of the court for two months, and ordered a report to assess her ability to cope with the trip.

Miss Dekker planned to spend about two years aboard her boat.

The judges say it's too risky, but the girl's lawyer, Peter Delanger, says the assessment will show that she is mentally and physically prepared.

But the first man to sail solo around the world non-stop, Robin Knox- Johnston, says emotional maturity is needed to cope when things go wrong, and he thinks 13 is too young for that.

Laura Dekker, an experienced sailor, was born on her parents' boat off the coast of New Zealand. She had planned to begin a two-year voyage on 1 September on her 8m yacht Guppy.