Laura Dekker's book, One Girl, One Dream is the inspiring story of how the Dutch skipper sailed solo around the world as a teenager, says Julia Jones
One Girl, One Dream
Harper Collins, £9.99
I had no hesitation choosing Laura Dekker’s One Girl, One Dream as Yachting Monthly’s Book at Bunktime for June 2022.
It was just over ten years ago in January 2012 that Dekker sailed into Saint Martin at the end of her year-long, 27,000 solo circumnavigation.
A significant achievement for anyone at any age: Dekker was just 16.
The controversy that had surrounded her going had been deeply unpleasant and had left lasting emotional scars.
Her book – as well as her achievement – is the perfect rebuttal.
As one follows her voyage, day by day, it’s obvious that her age is completely immaterial.
She has sufficient physical strength and sailing knowledge to manage the systems on her 33-year old ketch, and is conscientious dealing with maintenance and repairs.
Her great qualities are her resilience and her positivity.
She can get depressed or irritated but picks herself up and usually finds the bright side in difficult situations.
I would say that her youthful outlook, allied with such strength of character, is a tangible asset.
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She relishes new places and new people, is friendly and ready for fun.
She doesn’t make as much fuss about discomfort as a middle-aged person might and is also remarkably good at occupying herself during long periods at sea.
She does her school-work, writes her blog, reads, watches films, chats over the SSB radio, plays musical instruments and watches the waves.
She also develops a delightfully affectionate relationship with her yacht, Guppy.
By the end of the book and the end of the circumnavigation Dekker is clear that the voyage has given her what she wanted: not a place in the record books (though she has this) but increased understanding of herself and the natural world – and the satisfaction of having followed her dream.
Her success seems to have healed some rifts within her own family.
In the wider context of relationships between older and younger people, her book may remind us just how competent teenagers can be, if they are supported to take risks and make decisions, not bossed and smothered.
We can all learn some important truths from reading her book.
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