16-year-old sails into the record books

HER quest has divided her homeland – but last night 16-year-old Laura Dekker completed her 27,000-mile, one-year sailing journey around the world, becoming the youngest person ever to do so single-handedly.

She hugged her family and wept before addressing the crowd after arriving on the Dutch Caribbean island of St Maarten.

“There were moments where I was like, ‘What the hell am I doing out here?’ but I never wanted to stop,” she said.

“It’s a dream, and I wanted to do it.”

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The case has caused controversy because her young age led to the Guinness Book of Records removing the “youngest sailor” accolade.

Welfare officers in the Netherlands had tried to stop the trip. Even as the journey went ahead after a court case, Dekker’s father was reportedly issued with a summons by truancy officers.

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