22 Jan 2012

Teenager completes solo world voyage

6:08 pm on 22 January 2012

A Dutch teenager who set out to become the youngest solo around-the-world sailor has completed her voyage.

Laura Dekker, 16, was greeted by a cheering crowd as she sailed into the St Maarten harbour in the Caribbean after a year at sea.

She left on 20 January 2011 aboard her boat Guppy, 11.5 metres.

The BBC reports that before her trip, Ms Dekker won a court case against Dutch social services, which argued that the voyage could harm her emotional and social development.

Her mother had expressed concerns about the solo voyage, but later lifted her objections.

Ms Dekker was born on a yacht off the coast of New Zealand during a seven-year world trip.

She is the youngest person ever to circumnavigate the globe solo. The previous title-holder was Australian Jessica Watson.

Ms Dekker says that although she loves the Netherlands she finds life too stifling there and does not wish to return.

She says would rather go back to New Zealand.