Teen sailor sets record, vows to never go home

A Dutch teenager who is on the verge of becoming the youngest person to sail around the world single-handedly has vowed never to return to her homeland because she faces being taken into care.

Flagging off: Laura Dekker waves goodbye as she leaves the port in
Den Osse on August 4, 2010. She will become the youngest to solo-
circumnavigate the globe. File Pic/AFP

Laura Dekker has torn down the Dutch tricolour on her yacht, Guppy, to protest against the social workers who have tried to stop her solo voyage.

In her last blog posting as she crosses the Atlantic for her finish line on the Dutch Caribbean island of Sint Maarten yesterday, Laura complains of "intimidating, frightening and traumatic" treatment.

"From the moment my plans became public, youth care and other government organisations tried to stop me. They asked the judge to take me away from my father and to lock me up in a secure clinic!" the 16-year-old wrote.

The Dutch authorities, who tried to put Laura into care two years ago to stop her sailing solo, have claimed that the teenager is not doing enough school work.

Laura added, "I feel that the nightmares the Dutch government organisations put me through were totally unfair.  I am seriously thinking about not returning to the Netherlands."

Laura announced her plans to become the youngest person to circumnavigate the world single-handedly in 2009 when she was 13. Dutch social workers then intervened after a tip-off from the British police following her practice voyage across the North Sea.

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