Laura Dekker (1995- ), the brave Dutch girl who wants to sail around-the-world single-handedly… bully for her! Fie on the judges, shrinkie-dinkies, and “child protection authorities”… let them go to their master (and it sure ain’t the Good Lord, that’s for sure)… and right smartly, too!
Update 20 December 2009:
Laura Dekker’s missing from her father’s home. No foul play’s suspected in the least. Here’s a link to the latest:
I thought that I’d seen it all… Well, live and learn, they say! First, read the news item below…
Dutch Court Nixes Teenager’s Round-The-World Sail
A Dutch court ruled Friday that 14-year-old Laura Dekker was still too inexperienced to be allowed to set off on her quest to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world. Judges at Utrecht District Court placed Laura under the guardianship of child protection authorities until next July to ensure that she can’t set off on her dream voyage. The ruling means Laura can continue living with her father, but, her parents must consult child protection authorities about all major decisions in her life. Laura and her parents weren’t in court Friday, but, family spokesman Mariska Woertman said the teenager was “disappointed that the court doesn’t have faith in her to leave now”. However, Woertman said Laura was confident she can be ready to sail soon after next July and still set the record as the youngest sailor to circumnavigate the globe.
The Utrecht court first blocked her departure in August out of concern for her safety. The decision sparked a worldwide debate on how much authorities and parents should limit children’s freedom to undertake risky adventures. Laura’s parents, both veteran sailors, are separated. Laura’s father supported the attempt, but her mother said in a newspaper interview in September she thought Laura was too young. Presiding judge M. Oostendorp said Laura’s mother has given her blessing “so long as she has assurances about the safety measures. At the moment, as far as she is concerned, they’re insufficient”. Child protection authorities welcomed the decision.
Judges said they were confident that Laura was emotionally ready for the trip, but questioned the safety precautions and her ability to continue her schooling while at sea. They said, however, her sailing skills weren’t in question. A psychological analysis submitted to the court said Laura’s planned trip wouldn’t impair her social or emotional development. “The good news today is that we have established Laura is capable of making this voyage”, said her lawyer, Peter de Lange. Laura told the three-judge panel at a closed hearing Monday that she was equipping her 26-foot (8-metre) yacht Guppy with extra security and communications equipment and learning to use it. “(The plans are still) too unclear, not concrete enough and too uncertain” to guarantee her safety, said Oostendorp.
Laura also told the court that she planned to wait at least until next May, after school ends, to embark on the voyage and will be guided by an experienced sailor in a separate boat. She also promised to take a sailor’s first-aid course and practice sleep management techniques. De Lange criticised the judges for questioning Laura’s single-handed sailing experience… which is limited to trips on Dutch rivers, close to the coast, and a single solo voyage to England and back. “They say she hasn’t got much experience of solo round-the-world sailing. That’s a bit weak”, he told reporters. “How do you get experience? By doing it”.
In August, 17-year-old British sailor Mike Perham became the youngest person to sail solo around the world. Earlier this month, 16-year-old Australian Jessica Watson also set off on a single-handed, round-the-world trip. De Lange said Laura can still break the record if she sets off next year. “But the record isn’t her primary goal”, he added. “Laura just wants to sail”.
30 October 2009
As quoted by Yahoo! News
This is utter stuff n’ nonsense. A judge (of all people!) issues an opinion on nautical matters… not maritime law… one expects that… but issues a ruling on the fitness of an individual to undertake a voyage. This is the sort of rubbish one sees routinely in American suburbia amongst the affluent effluent. Sadly, it means that the Americanist contagion has spread to parts of Western Europe. Legalism, not good-sense, underpins this madness. It leads to such things as the OCA claiming that it has no legal responsibility for the actions of its priests, as these fellows are, in essence, independent contractors and actors. What’s the difference? In the Dutch case, a court prevents a young sailor from departing on a risky journey by using questionable logic… all sorts of supposedly grown-up adults are wasting a good deal of time, effort, energy, and money on this. Let the young girl sail, I say… she knows the risks… it’s her life, after all. The “child protective authorities”, head-shrinkers, and judges should butt out (I believe that this is actually an episode in a dispute between the separated parents)… the court would do better to spend its time pursuing real child abusers and paedophiles (isn’t that the case… the legal system chases ridiculous will o’ the wisps such as this… and real abusers hop away, scot-free, because the court wastes its time and energy on such frivolities).
I bring the story of this court case up for a reason. One of my correspondents wrote, “The OCA should be taken to court for what its hierarchs have done”. I quite agree… but there’s a traffic-jam in the courts… caused by cases such as the one about Laura Dekker. Real child-abuse advocates will tell you straight-up that it’s hard to get the system to punish actual abusers because of the logjam of such frivolous cases. Another reason is that the OCA’s no major actor either in American religion or on the American scene in general. For God’s sake, its central budget is less than 5 mill, and most of that’s spent on salaries for a small set of dronish apparatchiki on the Island, where the cost-of-living is so above the national average that the cost of maintaining a HQ there is a criminal and egregious drain upon the donations of the faithful. That is, money that should go for charities and missions goes into the gaping and ever-voracious maws of Kishkovsky and Garklavs). In short, it isn’t worth the government’s while… at least, not yet (after all, the RCs are 20 to 25 percent of the US population… a major proportion by any measure… all Orthodox in total are about 0.3 percent (the OCA in toto is 0.03 percent… if we were disappear, America would not notice it). Even in Orthodoxy, it’s a miniscule voice… out of some 986,000 Orthodox in recognised Local Church bodies in the US (per Aleksei Krindatch), only 115,000 are in the OCA (and 27,000 of those are in its virtually independent Romanian branch and 20-30,000 are Alaska natives in the Russian Orthodox Diocese of Alaska, leaving only some 58,000-68,000 under Syosset’s direct rule in the “lower-48”).
Don’t hold your breath waiting for the courts to act (I do think that Kristi Koumentakos is going to get justice against Ray Velencia… but that isn’t striking at the root of the contagion). Certainly, I’d be pleased to see it happen… but let’s be frank. We’re just too unimportant as a group… except for a few isolated areas (such as north-eastern and western Pennsylvania, the industrial Midwest, and some cities in the Mid-Atlantic region), we’re so small that we’re invisible. Remember, the loudest noises issue forth from miniscule sets in Lilliputian mission parishes (something that Fr Alexander Lebedeff noticed in a post on the dissidents who protested against the MP/ROCOR reconciliation… the sociological imperatives in the OCA and ROCOR are almost identical as they are both “Russian Orthodox” bodies).
Is it, “Abandon hope, all ye that enter here?” NO… emphatically not. However, we must resolve this ourselves, not the courts. That is, a solution requires that we act to put it right.
30 October 2009