Tech Support Guy banner
1 - 20 of 54 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,286 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
there's a girl in the netherlands who will be 14 next week...who wants to sail around the world solo

it's not a whim....she was borne in NZ while her parents were sailing around the world, and has been sailing solo since she was 6

Peter de Lange, the family's lawyer, told The Associated Press that both parents had tried to discourage Laura but that she had convinced them that she was emotionally and physically ready. "There is no legal debate about her skills," he said......

........She has been practicing her solo skills. Earlier this year, she was picked up in Britain after she was discovered sailing alone to the port of Lowestoft, on the east coast of England. The British authorities ordered her father, Dick Dekker, to go get her. He went, but Laura ended up sailing home alone, according to news reports.http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/29/world/europe/29dutch.html?
the lawyer is involved because in her homeland -the netherlands- a court ordered that any decision be postponed for two months. the state had argued that
Laura was too young and the voyage too arduous. The isolation....would be damaging at an important stage in a girl's development......
the judge agreed
The Utrecht court ordered Dutch authorities to take temporary guardianship of Laura until psychologists could determine whether she is able to undertake such a difficult voyage, charging parental neglect
In a coincidence, the ruling came a day after a 17-year-old Briton, Mike Perham, braved storms and mechanical failures to become the youngest person to sail around the world. It took him nine months.http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/29/world/europe/29dutch.html?
at 14, Perham sailed across the atlantic solo.

there's obviously a good deal of trust in her parent's decision...even with superb skills, -and ignoring the dangers of the open ocean -she'll make landfall, a 14 year old alone in a foreign country.....i can't find any info about what, if anything, has been done by Laura or her parents about that, except this snippet
Appearing poised and confident, Laura countered criticisms that it would be unhealthy to be alone for that length of time. "The longest stretch I will be at sea is three weeks, and when I stop I will have so much contact with people in different places," she said.....
She added that she was pleased the court did not ban her trip outright, but was apprehensive about their imposed conditions. "A child psychologist will be looking over my father's shoulder and telling people what I'm like," she said. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article6813281.ece
and this has become the larger issue.....if it were another issue, we might just scoff at this as more "socialism"

but.....would american social services make the same arguement?
should it?
should parents be allowed to support this risk without governement intervention?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,159 Posts
and this has become the larger issue.....if it were another issue, we might just scoff at this as more "socialism"
:D This is purely a child protection issue. Even the most rabid right winger would be pushed to find any redistribution of wealth principles in this decision, but I get your drift about the encroaching power of the state over individual choice. But you either have an age of informed consent, as to when assessment of risk and subsequent action can be made by the young person, or you don't. In the UK this age is 16.

but.....would american social services make the same arguement?
I don't know what would happen in the US, but in the UK the child would probably be made a Ward of Court, following an application by social services or the NSPCC to the High Court. This would allow the child to remain living at home as normal but would prevent major changes to lifestyle - such as sailing around the world - without the leave of a High Court judge. Whether the court would countenance an assessment such as in this case - no idea

should it?
Yes

should parents be allowed to support this risk without governement intervention?
No. At least not on the story I've read. Is she going to be met in every port of call? Possibly the riskiest part of the expedition: she might make landfall somewhere completely grim and dangerous like Florida:eek: Attempting to discourage the child and then giving in is an abnegation of responsibility, not supporting risk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,286 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No. At least not on the story I've read. Is she going to be met in every port of call? Possibly the riskiest part of the expedition: she might make landfall somewhere completely grim and dangerous like Florida:eek: Attempting to discourage the child and then giving in is an abnegation of responsibility, not supporting risk
this is pretty much the central issue here, imo, wrt to her parent's "supporting risk"....
it's wierd to me there's been no details released by the parents or the court....makes it sound like her folks just "caved in" to their daughter's persistance and ambition.

if my daughter had this dream, and i had the means, i'd certainly require considerable measures of support....letting her do it "all by her lonesome" is not a concept i'd endorse for a 14 year old, regardless of how capable i thought she might be...but it isn't something i'd just rule out because "she's still a child" either.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
13,115 Posts
this is pretty much the central issue here, imo, wrt to her parent's "supporting risk"....
it's wierd to me there's been no details released by the parents or the court....makes it sound like her folks just "caved in" to their daughter's persistance and ambition.

if my daughter had this dream, and i had the means, i'd certainly require considerable measures of support....letting her do it "all by her lonesome" is not a concept i'd endorse for a 14 year old, regardless of how capable i thought she might be...but it isn't something i'd just rule out because "she's still a child" either.
No way would I let a 14 year old take on such responsibility like this. While she may have a lot of experience and know-how that most all adults don't have, she lacks the discernment and wisdom that comes with age. There is a lot of that gained from 14 to 17; enough to keep her alive should everything not fit in exactly with her existing 10 years of experience.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,159 Posts
this is pretty much the central issue here, imo, wrt to her parent's "supporting risk"....
it's wierd to me there's been no details released by the parents or the court....makes it sound like her folks just "caved in" to their daughter's persistance and ambition.

.
Hadn't really thought about the publicity angle on this but it's relevant. Certainly in the UK, court proceeding such as these are usually held in secret: parents who go public with ongoing court proceedings regarding a minor can be held in contempt of court. Perhaps the whole thing is a publicity stunt? :D

if my daughter had this dream, and i had the means, i'd certainly require considerable measures of support....letting her do it "all by her lonesome" is not a concept i'd endorse for a 14 year old, regardless of how capable i thought she might be...but it isn't something i'd just rule out because "she's still a child" either.
If I could guarantee perfect sailing conditions for the trip, if I could be certain she'd be chaperoned every time she touched land, if I could be certain her route would not take her near any threat of piracy, and if I thought she was capable of surviving the rigours of the trip, I'd consider it. Just for a moment, and then I'd say sorry, wait a couple of years because I'd be the one who would have to live with the consequences
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,286 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
No way would I let a 14 year old take on such responsibility like this. While she may have a lot of experience and know-how that most all adults don't have, she lacks the discernment and wisdom that comes with age. There is a lot of that gained from 14 to 17; enough to keep her alive should everything not fit in exactly with her existing 10 years of experience.
as a general rule, i'd agree Drabdr....social services exist for more than just cases of outright abuse or neglect....it exists to enforce the general rule......

this situation is interesting to me, because -theoretically...if you assume the parents have some wherewithall wrt it- it presents a challenge to the general rule

not an arguement to overturn it -to give all 14 year olds the right to assume any hairbrained risk they choose- but the potential to argue an exception....

that's why the lack of specific details about her itinerary and possible support measures that her parents may have undertaken baffles me....

maybe there really aren't any -maybe her parents just caved in and are willing stand at the end of the dock and wave goodbye while Laura sails off by herself....in which case, the court was likely right to step in....given MY daughter at 14 (or 17), that would be neglect, regardless of what she thought.

but if her parents have some "plans", then it could be a different story
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,286 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hadn't really thought about the publicity angle on this but it's relevant. Certainly in the UK, court proceeding such as these are usually held in secret: parents who go public with ongoing court proceedings regarding a minor can be held in contempt of court.
yeppers....a good point :up:
makes it a toughie to decide this case out of court ;)
Perhaps the whole thing is a publicity stunt? :D
i thought about that, too....what better way to get worldwide attention when she does set sail (and she will, someday) that to generate a storm of interest in her ambition?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
13,115 Posts
a general rule, i'd agree Drabdr....social services exist for more than just cases of outright abuse or neglect....it exists to enforce the general rule......

this situation is interesting to me, because -theoretically...if you assume the parents have some wherewithall wrt it- it presents a challenge to the general rule

not an arguement to overturn it -to give all 14 year olds the right to assume any hairbrained risk they choose- but the potential to argue an exception....

that's why the lack of specific details about her itinerary and possible support measures that her parents may have undertaken baffles me....

maybe there really aren't any -maybe her parents just caved in and are willing stand at the end of the dock and wave goodbye while Laura sails off by herself....in which case, the court was likely right to step in....given MY daughter at 14 (or 17), that would be neglect, regardless of what she thought.

but if her parents have some "plans", then it could be a different story
Really good points. Are you thinking $$$$, book deals, interviews, $$$$?

I'm sorry, but I just cannot see sending any 14 year old into something like that. Universally we see children's developmental states are reasonably constant. If everything goes perfectly, she'd be OK. But how many times do things go perfectly?

Is she proficient in those kinds of waters? What about if the waves/winds get a little rougher than she is used to? Ok, I'm sailing stupid; I can't even keep which is Port or Starboard. :p:D:D But... I do understand the level of variables that make up a challenging endeavor like that. And I don't think she could cut it.

I do hate to see courts overrule Parent's Rights. But maybe some parents shouldn't have that many rights.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,159 Posts
Topical in other ways this thread

Teenage sailor Mike Perham received a hero's welcome when he returned back to the UK after becoming the youngest person to circumnavigate the world.

The 17-year-old arrived to cheers from hundreds of people who gathered at Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, where he set off from in November last year.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/8228146.stm

There's a map on the link which shows his route.

A quick burst of Rule Britannia is in order I think:D

Seriously though, heard this kid interviewed on the radio today. Way older than his years. But then there's a big leap in brain development between 14 and 17
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
13,115 Posts
Seriously though, heard this kid interviewed on the radio today. Way older than his years. But then there's a big leap in brain development between 14 and 17
Exactly. And we all know that too.... We need not try to escape that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,161 Posts
It really runs along the lines of what would one let one's daughter do in other cases. Solo holiday flying to Mallorca or Miami at age 14? Nope. Heck I wouldn't allow ANYONE at ANY age to fly to Mallorca.

There are (over here and elsewhere) not only provisions for the state to step in when there is suspicion of bad parentage. The state is required to act.

That opens a whole new kettle of fish for sure since the original design is for cases of abuse or neglect (which are basically the same). And even in such issues the line between intelligent assessment and simply nannying is often thin.

No socialism involved here (an amusing concept if someone wants to have it).

I agree with Slack, one's whole life's happiness is not ascertainable at age 14 and just because somebody wants to be the youngest solo sailor to have circumnavigated the globe (and just because a 17 yr old male has just gotten himself that record) doesn't mean that they need to already have everything in life from Go.

Her sailing abilities or provision of chaperoning all along the way have nothing to do with this.

She can always comfort herself with having gotten more press than most 13 (still) yr olds.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,271 Posts
I would trust her at sea more than myself.

In the US, one can fly a plane solo at the age of 16. Children can own guns or do other dangerous things like scuba diving or spelunking. Then why not sailing? I had my first motorcycle license at age 14 and could have easily headed in any direction.

At what age in Europe can a child get a pass to travel the continent by train? Is Napoli or Moscow any safer than Panama? What about other EU destinations?

I say let her spread her sails but keep constant radio contact, weather tracking, and someone trusted at every port (but these would do for an adult except for the last).

However, I do agree that the court should have discretion and that the situation should be evaluated by a third party. Child neglect cases often require court discretion. Otherwise, I don't see this as neglect at all. I see parents allowing their child to go for it.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
13,115 Posts
I would trust her at sea more than myself.

In the US, one can fly a plane solo at the age of 16. Children can own guns or do other dangerous things like scuba diving or spelunking. Then why not sailing? I had my first motorcycle license at age 14 and could have easily headed in any direction.
Yea, but we are not talking about taking the boat out into the bay. You're talking about sailing around the world... by herself. To me, there are some degrees of distinction.

Even riding your motorcycle at 14... are you going to sleep in hotels, or sleep out by yourself? Are you going to be riding across desert, or in the snowy mountains? What kind of decisions are you going to be having to make while riding, in every mile?

I just think this one should wait a couple of years.. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20,583 Posts
The question of letting a young person (14) sail around the world (by themself) is not without presedent. The support system, i.e. sattelite communications gear, and top navigation gear and training for adversity, such as the recent WR holder (17) just faced when his main sail was torn in rough seas, and how much sailing at sea by oneself the young person has with all the gear necessary to support them is IMHO factors that shold help decide whether it is a go or not. Also, why not let them sail alone, but be followed by a crew (on another sail boat) equipped to help in a dire emergency, never interfering according to the rules (that would break the record) but keeping them in sight, just in case.

It is a question of maturity beyond one's years that needs evaluation, i.e. can she handle it all. Some can, and some can't.

-- Tom
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
13,115 Posts
Also, why not let them sail alone, but be followed by a crew (on another sail boat) equipped to help in a dire emergency, never interfering according to the rules (that would break the record) but keeping them in sight, just in case.
Ahh.... with that, I would agree. But I don't think that is what they are talking about. My impression is: here are the keys. Call us when you get there.;):D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,286 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
However, I do agree that the court should have discretion and that the situation should be evaluated by a third party. Child neglect cases often require court discretion. Otherwise, I don't see this as neglect at all. I see parents allowing their child to go for it.
i tend to agree....
it's obvious to me that this girl grew up with adventurous parents...folks who enjoy the experiences that are borne in taking risks.....
not surprising that their daughter shares that passion.

i can only ASSUME, however, that -as parents- they also have a set of somewhat "normal" and socially shared reservations about this.....and that those reservations have translated into support

if those assumptions are true, then i can't help but wonder why we are so quick to judge ANOTHER family's decision based on the perceptions of our own....

why, if a 17 year old can be "wise beyond his years", it's not possible that a 14 years old is, as well?.....why, if they've pursued this with a diligence that we all believe is necessary, their conclusion can't be "right"?

just because -generally speaking- it's true that individual developement between 14 and 17 is immense, that doesn't make it universally true....particularly when the family itself may be outside "mainstream" activities wrt to life in general and specifically their approach to parenting....as a civilization, we've arrived at set of conclusions about what is best and normal for children.

having adopted them doesn't make them the "only way"....what it does make them is something that we are obligated to accept, at the risk of prosecution....and that works in the vast majority of cases involving children.

it'll be interesting to see what that psychiatrist comes up with after evaluating them for 2 months.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,161 Posts
I would trust her at sea more than myself.
So, probably, would I. I'm an only average sailor.
In the US, one can fly a plane solo at the age of 16.
If it is a no engine glider you can also do that in most EU countries. Under an instructors supervision (he has to be on the plane) you can fly your lessons on an engine job earlier. But most don't since they have to wait for the right age to get their PPL. It's linked to the legal age for getting a driver's licence (18).
Children can own guns or do other dangerous things
Well, not in the Netherlands nor anywhere else in the EU.
like scuba diving
yep, same here, but not alone
or spelunking.
Not in the Netherlands nor.......
Then why not sailing?
Same reasona s with the plane. NOT alone.
I had my first motorcycle license at age 14 and could have easily headed in any direction.
And what would have happened in a traffic control 500 miles from your home???

At what age in Europe can a child get a pass to travel the continent by train?
Earlier. As long as they're on the train it is assumed that they'll be picked up by authorized adults at their destination. They've got a tag around their neck. And train personnel is supposed to keep an eye o them.
Is Napoli or Moscow any safer than Panama? What about other EU destinations?
If I leave my pool uncovered and, more importantly, unfenced and the neighbors' child stumbles in and drowns, I am responsible. I shoulda known and watched out. The neighbor's are equally to blame, more even. If it's my own child I've really had it for having a pool at all since I felt no need to secure it.

Napoli, Moscow, Panama have got nothing to do with it. If I don't provide it doesn't matter WHERE I don't do it.

I say let her spread her sails but keep constant radio contact, weather tracking, and someone trusted at every port (but these would do for an adult except for the last).
Having gotten this far let me point out that the whole thing is moot anyway.

Being Dutch she requires a licence for any motor driven boat or anything over 15 m. This thing will have a motor. It had better have because if her way around it is sailing a boat that has no auxiliary at all that clinches it for me. NO TRIP. Not even on an inland sea.

And by Netherland law you have to be 18 to get the licence.

However, I do agree that the court should have discretion and that the situation should be evaluated by a third party. Child neglect cases often require court discretion.
We agree.
Otherwise, I don't see this as neglect at all.
We disagree.
I see parents allowing their child to go for it.
I'm nowhere in favor of pampering or over-protection. On the contrary I abhor it when a child's potential is underestimated on some silly conventional premise. I've loved to see them grow and achieve.

But all in its time. I was still a minor (by law and a considerable time span to go) when I left home. Some of the things I survived were down to pure luck and had nothing to do with any capacities of mine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,286 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
But all in its time. I was still a minor (by law and a considerable time span to go) when I left home. Some of the things I survived were down to pure luck and had nothing to do with any capacities of mine.
you are tho, Derek, making the arguement that is at the heart of this family's decision.
for whatever reason (and they aren't necessary here), you were "driven" to take a risk....by all appearances, the experiences of that adventure shaped your life....taught you the value of good fortune and the tell tale signs of imminent bad fortune....provided you with a unique blend of discernment and adventure that -arguably- you may never have had the opprotunity to explore had you accepted the authority insisting that you do something else....

which is not to deny that you MIGHT have turned out a criminal, a street person, or dead....but the experience also showed you -i'll wager- something of the both the potential, and the limitations, of your undiscovered capacities.

the fact that the statements of this girl don't reveal any desire for "rebellion" from either her parents or the state is telling, imo....pointing to a magnitude of mutual consideration between she and her parents that has yet to be revealed.
 
1 - 20 of 54 Posts
Top