Laura was first introduced to this wonderful and crazy planet in 1995, born in New Zealand during a seven year circumnavigation of her parents. Her love for the ocean was instant and only grew over time. Having lived in a house for only one year of her life, the ocean naturally felt like her home. When Laura was 6 years old her parents got divorced and she decided to stay with her dad who had started building a 70ft Norwegian Fishing cutter on his own - from scratch. Laura helped him often and got inspired to build her first little sailing raft at age 6 - from then on she was hooked. Soon she was racing her own Optimist and later a Mirror on the Dutch rivers where they were living.
Why you should book Laura Dekker for your next event
- Record holder youngest to singlehandedly sail around the world. from 2010 – 2012, Age 14 – 16
- Author of book called ”One Girl One Dream” now published in 4 languages including Dutch, English, German and Polish.
- 2014 Winner of Expedition Poolcirkel, competition, doing extreme physical task in extreme environments of Iceland, made for Dutch Tv.
- 2013 Took part in Expedition Atlas. Competition, doing several extreme physical and mental task in Morocco, Made for Dutch TV.
- Youngest to get Yacht Master Ocean 200gt Certificate
By the time she was 10 she had managed to convince a friend of her father to let her fix and use his old Hurley 700 (a 7 meter seaworthy sailboat). The following summer Laura sailed this boat solo around Holland and the Wadden Islands for seven weeks. She loved to sail alone, well almost alone… her dog Spot was with her wherever she went, whether it was on the water or on land. Since the age of 8 Laura had done various jobs like cleaning shops, street-performing on a unicycle, delivering newspapers – and saving every cent so she could eventually buy my own yacht. This happened at age 11 – She bought my own Hurley 700 and then spend all her free time maintaining and sailing this boat. By the time Laura was 13, she sailed alone to England.
It was then that Laura wondered why she should wait any longer to fulfill her dream of sailing around the world. After all she had a seaworthy boat, some money saved up and enough skills to navigate her boat to anywhere she wanted. So she figured she could sail up and down to England a 100 times or put these distances all behind each other and she will be in southern Europe already. Laura felt like she needed to do this! She was well prepared and felt ready to take on the challenge. However the Dutch childcare and government thought differently about her plans and tried to stop her by starting a series of court cases, which eventually took over 10 months! Eight court cases later the judges gave responsibility over Laura back to her parents, who then allowed her to leave on her trip. Aged 14 she set off on the biggest journey of her life onboard a 12 meter, bright red Ketch called Guppy. She was 16 years old when she arrived back in the Caribbean, successfully finishing my solo circumnavigation of the world, which made her the youngest to ever do so.
After her world voyage Laura continued sailing to New Zealand, so she actually ended up circumnavigating one and a half times. She went back to the town she was born and decided to make that her home base. By now she had sailed more than 80,000 NM, still counting. Laura is a motivational speaker, author, world traveller, professional yacht- skipper and still chasing her dreams. This trip that she undertook as a teenager gave her the building blocks that she needed in life. Her dad and the ocean are the best teachers she has ever had.
On the ocean Laura learned to stop fighting against everything: Life isn’t always fair and neither are the waves and the wind always doing what she want them to. So she learned to make the best of it and accept the situation as it is, to be happy with what she have at the moment and to respect and appreciate her surroundings. The ocean also taught Laura the extreme fulfilment one can get from fighting through hard times and coming out stronger on the other end. She gained more self confidence. She learned a lot about herself. And had time to think, without the distractions from the mainland. These are just some of the wonderful gifts the ocean and the people she met along the way have given her.
Laura is expressing that it has been wonderful to give presentations and sharing some of these gifts that she has received with others, but while she did some work with High School students in the outdoor sections she often found myself wishing she could just take them out to sea for a while so they can learn these valuable lessons that she learned. It has been such a joy to teach and see people learn, she is very thankful to her sponsors and supporters that have helped her set up this program. Showing the coming generation what this world has to offer and how they can be a strong part of it. .
Laura worked for a high school in de outdoor education occasionally and had a job as marine electrician.
See keynotes with Laura Dekker