A2 Basic Other 1979 Folder Collection
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Hello everyone, my name is Laura Dekker, I'm 18.
2 years ago I became the youngest ever to circumnavigate the globe single handed.
Like any of these young inspirations today,
I just had a dream and I just went for it.
I'll start with a short video to give you a little impression of what I did.
Nice, take off of Ashes Bay! Sailors...
Fishes would get into your shoes...
(Makes animal sound)
And now I am going to offer my pancake to Neptune!
Oh, it landed on the deck!
♪ Rushing feet ♪
♪ An offbeat man ♪
♪ I barely even leave a footprint ♪
♪ Dancing as fast as I can ♪
From the age 6 I've always been on the water and dingy boats.
By the time I was 7, I was competitive racing.
By the time I was 10, I had bought my own seaworthy yacht,
that I'd bought with my own money that I'd worked for for the past years.
My mom isn't really a sailor, my dad is, he builds his own boats,
and for 7 years, they sailed around the world,
even though my mom didn't like it.
Quite impressive.
After a couple of years, when they were in Whangarei, in New Zealand, I was born,
and the next 5 years I sailed with them, back to Holland,
where they originally came from.
There, my mom really was fed up with the sailing,
and by that time, my sister Kim was born as well,
and living with two little kids on a small boat,
I guess she did not like it anymore, so we moved into a house.
But the marriage of my parents, sadly,
did not seem to cope as well with the land life as life on sea,
and they divorced.
So, as a 6 year old I had a choice, who I wanted to live with.
And I chose my dad.
My sister automatically went to my mom, and our lives separated us.
My dad had started building his ninth boat for himself,
this time a little bit bigger than the others,
a 60 foot Norwegian fish cutter, which by now is almost finished.
And he started that one when I was six, so...
So, I grew up on that boat.
I grew up on shipyards, around boats, and the water,
so, soon enough I started sailing, right?
As a ten-year-old, having my own seaworthy yacht,
I sailed around the whole Holland,
where I pretty much grew up after the big trip.
I sailed mostly alone, together with my dog,
but he was a bit of a useless crew.
I mean, he protected me well, but he didn't really help in sailing much,
so I really had to do everything myself.
And so, over the years, I learned everything I had to know
about navigation, weather systems,
really, all the things I could learn about sailing.
I've learned a lot from my dad,
but, actually, I've learned most from just doing it, because I wanted to.
By the time I was 11, I did that again,
went a little bit further, to the islands above Holland, and the ocean.
At the age of 13, I sailed to England alone.
I didn't think my parents would think that was a good idea,
so I just did not tell them anything!
The police had to pick me up in England, and deport me back to Holland,
but I knew that I wanted to go further!
That trip... I knew I was ready for it!
I had crossed the English Channel and that was something I wanted to do.
The English Channel is very busy, there's a lot of boats,
it's very difficult navigating, the weather isn't exactly great either.
So having achieved that, I thought: "All right, I can sail around the world."
And I started to get my boat ready,
which was quite a small boat, 22 feet.
There weren't really a lot of people who liked my idea as much as I did.
The whole Dutch government, and all the people in Holland,
who got to know about my plans soon enough
after someone had heard of it, threw it in the media.
Not exactly good for me!
So, a whole year I had to fight against the government.
8 court cases, but I kept going, I wanted to do this,
this was my dream, my goal, and I kept going.
So, I fought, and fighting against the government is quite hard,
but I found a little gap and I left.
By that time I'd upgraded my boat to a 40 foot ketch,
also named Guppy,
and I still live on her.
So at the age of 14, I left from the south of Europe, alone,
went to the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, on to the Caribbean,
learning that a home, for some reason, doesn't really clean itself.
You've actually got to do the laundry. How does that work?
Cooking food... Spaghetti?
So yes, no fridge on the boat, no shower on the boat,
just basic navigation, because I don't like sponsors,
I don't like people telling me where to go and what to do.
Well, that means you have to do everything yourself.
Well, I learned really quickly.
I cooked for myself, did the laundry for myself,
there were no people when I got to shore,
so I had to repair everything myself as well.
Through the Caribbean, on to the Pacific,
to the top of Australia.
By that time I'd sailed quite a bit and I knew the boat quite well,
so I wanted to have the next challenge.
I sailed from Australia to South Africa without stopping.
6000 nautical miles, 48 days.
Why? Just because I wanted it!
My boat is not really set up for long trips,
I mean, it has under 50 liters of water, 100-200 liters of fuel,
that's it, and then a bit of food, a lot of spaghetti...
So I thought I would just go for it
and if it does not work out, I would just go and sail to an island.
There would probably will be enough rain so I can drink, I'll be fine!
So I just went for it.
And that was one of the greatest trips ever,
because to be out there, just with nature, going with the wind...
I had 2 weeks of no wind, which was very frustrating,
then I had a couple of storms,
which I was really happy about after having no wind,
even though I was not coming closer to my goal.
But, mentally, that trip was awesome, because I got to know myself so well,
and I got to fulfill this dream I had,
I had set my goals and I just went for it.
Arriving in South Africa after 48 days was the best feeling ever!
I did not want to come back on land, I was happy on the ocean,
just being out there, with the peace, it's quiet, it's awesome!
In South Africa I stayed for a week, then I went on, back to the Caribbean,
also another 6000 miles straight, 41 days.
A year and a day later after I left the Caribbean,
I came back, even though I'd sailed longer alone, of course,
and, yes, fulfilled my dream that I had all my life.
"What the heck I am going to do now?"
I was sitting on a pier there, thinking:
"Oh, man, I don't really want to go back to Holland.
What am I going to do there? Study? Nah!"
I mean, I'd studied a bit on the boat, I had done my high school,
but it sounded a bit boring to me.
So I just kept sailing, and I kept going to New Zealand,
just to see where I came from, where I was born, and I loved it here!
Last year, I arrived here, and I simply stayed.
I traveled a lot, I wrote a book about my story,
and, well, I still have a lot of dreams,
you can never have enough of them,
but the thing is to actually go for it.
So my next big dream, is to become a skipper, a captain on bigger ships,
so I don't have to go back to land to work,
so I can just stay and do what I love.
This is what I want to give to you all today.
If you have a dream, and I know that every single person has a dream,
even though you might not realize it,
there is something that you really, really, really want...
Go for it, don't be afraid!
It might be hard, yes, it will be hard.
I had to fight a long way.
But the harder it is, the more rewarding it is to fulfill your dreams.
Thank you!
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【TEDx】Youngest solo sailor, around the world at 16: Laura Dekker at [email protected]

1979 Folder Collection
Joseph Shen published on July 9, 2016
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