Teen sails around the world in 366 days

  • Updated: January 23, 2012 - 9:32 AM

Laura Dekker ended a yearlong voyage aboard a sailboat named "Guppy" that apparently made her the youngest person ever to sail alone around the globe, though her trip was interrupted at several points.

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Laura Dekker, 16, was embraced her sister Kim as her father, Dick, gave her a congratulatory kiss.

Photo: Stephan Kogelman, Associated Press

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PHILIPSBURG, ST. MAARTEN - Laura Dekker ended a yearlong voyage aboard a sailboat named "Guppy" that apparently made her the youngest person ever to sail alone around the globe, though her trip was interrupted at several points.

Dozens of people cheered as Dekker waved and then walked across the dock accompanied by her mother, father, sister and grandparents, who had greeted her at sea earlier. She arrived in St. Maarten Saturday after struggling against high seas and heavy winds on a final 41-day leg from Cape Town, South Africa. "There were moments where I was like, 'What the hell am I doing out here?,' but I never wanted to stop," she told reporters.

Dekker claims she is the youngest sailor to complete a round-the-world voyage, but Guinness World Records and the World Sailing Speed Record Council did not verify the claim, saying they no longer recognize records for youngest sailors to discourage dangerous attempts.

Dutch authorities tried to block her trip, arguing she was too young to risk her life. The teenager covered more than 27,000 nautical miles on a trip that started in St. Maarten on Jan. 20, 2011.

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