Years ago I read what is still to this date my favorite book,Dove. The story of Robin Lee Graham’s 1965 solo sail around the world. The story is so amazing because it was completely inconceivable at the time. People latterly did not believe it or thought there was no way he would ever return. His journey is a sharp contrast to the voyages that set out in this day an age with massive boats and high tech gear. His boat was only 24 feet, the journey took him five years to complete, he got married along the way. It was the journey of a life time and once again the best adventure book I have ever read. It seemed that his point to setting sail was more to explore the world. He defiantly took his time doing it. I admire his journey over the current record breakers. All that being said, I don’t think anyone is in the position to look down or dis the feats that the following youngsters have accomplished. Sailing around the world in my mind is simple the greatest adventure possible and for those that are able to pull it off at such a young age requires something extraordinary. However, In my opinion Robin Lee Graham’s adventure will simply never be topped in todays day and age no matter how young you are. I would highly recommend reading this book (Dove)
The last few years you keep hearing about these crazy young people circumnavigating the globe solo. One of the most well known is Zac Sunderland who completed his trip after 13 months and 2 days at sea on July 16, 2009 at age 17. The record of youngest solo non-stop circumnavigate was previously held by
Australian David Dicks, and was surpassed on August 27, 2009 by Michael Perham of the United Kingdom. Sunderland is the youngest American to complete a circumnavigation under the age of 18, surpassing Brian Caldwell, who finished in 1996 at the age of 20. In between those to attempts was Jessie Martin who is virtually an unknown in comparison but probably twice as adventurous having gone on numerous follow up adventures. Zac Sunderland and Mike Perham seemed to have rekindled the fire inspiring a few others to attempt the impossible. In 2010 Zac’s younger sister Abby made and attempt, but failed. Her boat, Wild Eyes, was rolled 360 degrees by a massive rogue wave, tearing off the mast and completely disabling the boat ending her attempt in the Indian Ocean. Next was the amazing story of Jessica Watson who became the youngest person to sail around the globe solo, nonstop and unassisted when she cruised into Sydney Harbour in her pink, 34-foot yacht to a rock-star welcome. She successfully maneuvered her boat through raging storms, 40-foot waves and seven knockdowns during the 23,000 nautical mile journey that critics thought she wouldn’t survive. As long as there are oceans and a record to be broke people will continue to test them selves and face the vast unknown.
You can add Laura Dekker to the list. This January 2012 at the age of 16 years and 4 months she rightfully can claim the tittle Youngest person ever to circumnavigate the globe solo. The journey was a long time coming for Dekker who first announced the attempt at the young age of 13. Dutch Child Services threatened legal action and wasn’t allowed to set sail. After a 10-month court battle, Dekker was required to buy a bigger boat and advanced navigation equipment. She was also required to enroll in a special correspondence school. The Dutch government even threatened to arrest Dekker’s parents after they found out that Laura wasn’t keeping up with her schoolwork. Dekker relived the traumatic memory in one of her final blog post “From the moment my plans became public, Youth Care and other government organizations tried to stop me. During the first court case, in August 2009, (even before Youth Care had ever seen me, or had spoken to me…), they asked the Judge to take me away from my father and to lock me up in a secure clinic! By doing this they tried to stop me from sailing. Another five court cases followed and another five times Youth Care asked the judge to lock me up. I only wanted to go sailing! Well a year later we can all give the Dutch Government a big TAKE THAT. I have found that it is never wise to attempt to take a dream from someone who desperately has their heart set on a goal. It’s important to remember that everyone has their own dreams for a reason and while the Dutch Government saw no value and only death in her making an attempt. Dekker saw life and a pursuit of a passion. I have all the respect in the world for how she over came so many obstacles to even set sail. If you read through her blog a little bit you will not find someone who is just out to get attention by setting records. You will find a gifted young girl who loves to sail and live every day of life to the fullest. Because of the controversy, Dekker said that she may not return to Holland after her journey. “I do not want to be totally negative about Holland, I know I have many supporters there. I feel sad for them that I am not sailing into either Hoek Van Holland or Ijmuiden. That would have been a great party for everyone” Dekker plans to return to school now that her ’round the world’ journey is complete but she may not attend school in Holland. Dekker, who is also a citizen of New Zealand, plans to permanently move there now that her journey is complete. Congratulations Laura Dekker and all the sailer’s out there who have the courage to face the vast oceans and take on the great unknown. Simply amazing. (Interesting Article on Dekker running/sailing away at 14 and before welfare authorities took guardianship)
Here are a few of the books and Movies about these amazing journeys.