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Interesting.

Her age and her boat's capabilities notwithstanding, a couple of things struck me.

From a legal stand point, it's amazing to this American that a court in the Netherlands could presume to strip the parents of their guardianship and make the girl a ward of the state, all for something that has not even happened. They are simply discussing plans and taking steps which would lead to her sailing around the world solo -- is this a thought crime in the Netherlands now??

There is no mention of any prior history of parental abuse. Unless they allege that her prior seven-week solo trip, which was successfully completed with no harm coming to the child, amounts to abuse and or neglect? If so, that is an extraordinary leap. What next? Was I abusing my children by letting them solo sail our dinghy when they were 5 years old?

And why is it that parents must get the permission of the State to withdraw their children from the school system? Have the European governments really intruded this much into their citizen's private lives? Here in the U.S., no such "permission" is required. Parents have the final say on their children's educational pursuits.

Couldn't her parents simply travel with her to another country and have her depart from there? Or will the State actually block their right to travel, as well?
 

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Bad idea.

Some guy on SA nailed it when he posted the "news" story of the first fetus planning to circumnavigate in 2012. It's turned into a real debate.

Stop the madness.
 

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Without making any judgements if it is good for this little girl or not. In the Netherlands all kids 16 and under must go to school by law. Education duty. You need a permit for every day off. If not you risk a fine and even an arrest as a parrent.
 

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Without making any judgements if it is good for this little girl or not. In the Netherlands all kids 16 and under must go to school by law. Education duty. You need a permit for every day off. If not you risk a fine and even an arrest as a parrent.
"Education duty"!?!?

When the government usurped the fundamental rights of parents, was there not even a whimper of dissent, much less a revolution?:eek: :confused:

P.S. I agree, there are two discussions here, and I am focussing only on one side of it for present.
 

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"Education duty"!?!?

When the government usurped the fundamental rights of parents, was there not even a whimper of dissent, much less a revolution?:eek: :confused:

P.S. I agree, there are two discussions here, and I am focussing only on one side of it for present.
What you describe as "fundamental rights" of parents is the real issue here. I suspect the majority of us (parents) would consider the safety and welfare of a child as a predominant responsibility parents have.

It makes no difference whatsoever if this child can sail.

the responsibility of a parent is to ensure the well-being of their children.

How some idiot can think sending their 13 year old girl off on any boat and have here survive not only the ocean but the people she will meet in port who could easily threaten the safety of a child alone is a "fundamental right" which should be questioned.

On it's face, these parents shouldn't be allowed any rights if this is an indication of their judgment.
 

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First of all, I cannot imagine letting my son do that.

However, why is it that modern society views maturity by years of age and not by how they act? Some of the most immature people I know are well over 21. In fact, I have one at 29 that I know personally that my 9 yo is more mature than.

My grandmother was married and had her first child at 14. Yes, 14. I did not miss-type. Do a little history and you will see that many of the officers on the old wooden boats were well under the age of 18. They started them young and based their decisions on their suitability by their child and not so much his age. I think Master and Commander did a good job at presenting this. If I recall, I believe they had to be 13 or 14 to serve and they often lied about their ages. And read back to some of the history of the US and the old west and the ages of children when they were out trapping and building homesites. It is eye-opening. What about the kids who in Congo and other parts of Africa are handed a rifle at age 9 yo's and told to fight or die?

I realize the difference between serving in the military and taking a choice-trip around the world is very different. But I would not say that serving on a British Man of War was any less dangerous and maybe more dangerous. Being a child in Africa is certainly no less dangerous.

All that said, I cannot see me doing sending my kids around the world on some publicity stunt. What is the point? Is it for the child or a 30 minute claim-to-fame? I know John would not do it either.

My only frustration is that I hate the way our society has cataloged each of us based upon the number of years we have on the planet versus who we are. And I especially hate the way governments (ours or others) have unilaterally taken over from the parents as knowing what is best for children. These same governements not a hundred years ago were sticking their kids on frigates and sending them to war. It's still happening in Africa. And given the same circumstances, I would not be surprised to see them do it again for their own personal agendas or for what they feel is best for their country. Double standard if yiou ask me.

- CD
 

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This is one of those issues where some consider government should not be involved in parenting as a matter of principle.
Sometimes common sense has to over-ride principle and this seems like a great example.
 

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Just heard that Laura (her parents, actually) won the case. She is allowed to go, according to the popular press...
Okay, that's a relief. Now we can discuss whether she SHOULD go, which is an entirely different question from whether she is ALLOWED to go, or whether the State should be taking custody of a child because her parents choose to raise her in an unconventional way that potentially loosens the grip of the State's stranglehold on her education....


I went to her website, but for some reason I only got the front page and couldn't enter beyond. The article linked above indicates she will be sailing in an 8.3M yacht ("Guppy"). Beyond that I don't know much about her boat, equipment, preparations, planned route, etc.

Although, she was born aboard and cruised with her parents during the first seven years of her life. And she has completed a seven-week solo trip. That puts her well beyond the vast majority of sailors as far as experience goes. Sounds like she has salt in her veins.

So until I hear compelling evidence that she is not adequately prepared or equipped for this voyage, or that her parents are pressuring her to make it, I will reserve further judgement and only wish her "godspeed."
 

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My only frustration is that I hate the way our society has cataloged each of us based upon the number of years we have on the planet versus who we are. And I especially hate the way governments (ours or others) have unilaterally taken over from the parents as knowing what is best for children.
I couldn't agree more. Laws about what somebody can and cannot do based on age are simply age discrimination. While people do generally become more experienced and responsible as they get older, the variation between different people is often greater than the change an individual makes with age.

A good example is the driving age- it's absurdly easy to get a drivers license once you are of legal age, but impossible before that. Just a few seconds of driving on the road here in Los Angeles will prove that simply being of legal age fails to provide people with the ability to drive safely. I am certain there are people much younger than 16 that are capable of driving safer than many adults, and would be able to pass a much more rigorous drive test than is currently given.
 

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Her webpage is open now!
Okay, thanks. Looks like the english-language version will be up soon too.

In the meanwhile, for those of you who like me are Dutch-challenged, her boat is a 1996 Hurley 800, new to her (but secondhand new). Here's a link to Hurley's website:

Hurley 800

and here are her vitals:

Net zoals Laura’s vorige boot is dit ook weer een S-spant:

Lengte over alles: 8,30 m (LOA 8.3M)
Breedte : 2,75 m (Beam 2.75M)
Diepte: 1,40 m (Draft 1.4 M)
Waterverplaatsing: 3200 kg (Displacement 3200 kg)
Ballast: 1600 kg (Ballast 1600 kg)
Doorvaarthoogte: 12,50 m (met antenne) (Bridge clearance with antenna 12.5 M)
Watertank: 120 liter
Bouwjaar: 1996 (Build Year 1996)
Bouwnummer: 357 (Hull Number 357)
Stahoogte:1.80 m (Standinghead room 1.8M)
Motor: Vetus Diesel (16 pk)
 

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Reisplan

And here is her intended route. It appears she is planning a two year circumnavigation, with stops, via the Panama and Suez canals, and the Med:


Reisplan

Het is moeilijk om precies aan te geven hoe de reis van Laura zal verlopen. Toch heeft ze al een voorlopig schema opgesteld:

2009
September: Vertrek Nederland
December: Vertrek Canarische Eilanden

2010
Januari: Aankomst Cariben
Mei: Panama
November: Aankomst Australië
December: Darwin

2011
Februari: Sri Lanka
April: Begin rode zee
Juli: Middellandse zee
Augustus: Gibraltar
September: Nederland
 

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To this Colonial there is nothing amazing about it. Sending a 13-year old alone and unsupervised around the world, presumably for a year on her own? Would qualify the family for legal intervention in the US as well. AFAIK most or all US "child welfare" agencies, in all states, would call the abandonment and lack of supervision and they'd seize the child, make her a ward of the state, and bring charges against the parents.

Whether that's right or wrong...that's what many modern protectionist (ahem, Socialist) states do, and have done for some long time now. Nothing amazing here, or there.

Since she is a minor, there's also a question of how she would enter various nations in transit--again, alone and unsupervised. Some may not allow a minor unaccompanied. Others will have a problem that she cannot make any legal contract, so who carries her insurance liability for marina? And so on.

It has been a long time since "child kings" were sitting on the throne of most nations, and these days a 13-year old is only an adult in places like the African bush.

Of course, if the parents are serious, they'll understand why they are wrong under Dutch (and many other) laws, emigrate quickly to someplace where their actions are legal and acceptable, and abandon their child from there. It's a quick and simple solution, isn't it?
 

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Good point hello. I hadn't thought about it that way.

This better than summer camp for parents! Toss your kid onto a sailboat, push it away from the dock toward Panama, wave goodbye, and party for 2 years! Just like being 20 again!

Nice.
 

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I've raised three kids and coached many 13 year old teams. I don't care how responsible or knowledgeable or mature she is. Any parent letting her go on a trip like that is a few bricks short of a load.
 

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Girl's mature faster than boys. I don't recall anyone making a fuss about Zac's trip (I believe he was just 15 when he left.)

I sense a double standard.
 

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Double standard?

I don't see that. I see one case (Zac's) where no one raised a point about his age, versus a second case (Holland) where the thread only was started BECAUSE "the state" was raising the point.

Hey, replacement kids are cheap, the Chinese export 'em by the boatload and in many parts of the world you can buy them for a lot less than the Chinese charge. The great (cough cough) concern and sanctity for each life is very much a luxury of recent Western European Civilization. There are parts of the world where breaking your baby's legs is a GOOD THING because it ensures they can have a job as a beggar.

No double standards, just different considerations in different venues. I suspect "Whoa! Dude!" plays differently in Dutch.
 
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