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.