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Laura Dekker Makes St. Martin

Dutch 15-year-old Laura Dekker arrived at Simpson Bay Lagoon on St. Martin on Monday, 18 days after leaving the 2,200-mile distant Cape Verde Islands aboard her 37-ft Jeanneau Gin Fizz Guppy. It was longest leg to date of her proposed two-year solo circumnavigation. If she makes it as planned, she will become the youngest person to sail around the world alone. Interestingly, Dekker wrote in her blog that she believes she’s the youngest person to sail solo and unassisted across the Atlantic, but that honor still belongs to then-14-year-old Mike Perham, who later went on to become the youngest solo circumnavigator until Jessica Watson snatched the record from him in May. Dekker says she will most likely cruise the area for a bit, then make her way toward the Panama Canal for an April or May transit.

Meanwhile, 68-year-old Jeanne Socrates has fixed the nagging autopilot and windvane issues that have plagued her Najad 380 Nereida from the beginning of her nonstop circumnavigation attempt back on October 25. "We’ve started making good speed with the increased wind," she wrote on her blog. "The pole was removed and the genoa brought to leeward, although the pole might be needed again quite soon — we’re on a very broad reach in a W-WNW wind — in order to make our course for Cape Horn." She reports that winds are forecast to strengthen over the next few days, peaking at 40 knots or so, but that they should die down for Christmas Day.

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We received the following note from Dobie Dolphin about beleagured Tenacatita Bay, the four-mile by four-mile bay on mainland Mexico’s Gold Coast between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo, and just north of Barra Navidad: "As many of you know, on August 4, villagers, land owners, and tourists were forcibly evicted from their restaurants, homes, and palapas on Tenacatita Beach by a wealthy land developer, with the help of the governor of the state of Jalisco.
In Monday’s posting we published the remarkable photo (below) of former San Diego sailor Brenda Manceau standing proudly next to a massive yellowfin tuna that’s she’d supposedly caught in a recent tournament in Tonga.