Photos of children. LaurDekker sails alone on her Hurley 700
"My parents also lived on a boat," said LaurDekker, who has just turned 18, starting her very first lecture in Germany yesterday, Thursday evening. In German even, because Dekker is even in possession of German citizenship through his mother Babs Müller. However, she has not spoken the language correctly for a long time - and immediately makes a laugh out of the introduction: "You see, you are not entirely normal either."
For a moment the tension of the audience is broken. Some of them had come from far to hear the Dutch "Zeilmeisje" talk about their trip in the Hamburg sailing club (HSC). They came from Kiel, from Bremen. One even from the Ruhr area. After the relaxed opening sentence, however, it immediately fell silent again in the hall. The audience followed the story of the young woman, who talked about how she had come to make her great journey.
Full house in the HSC. To start with, Laur shows a film compilation
"I've always wanted to be on the water, every free moment," she says. But the Opti quickly becomes too small. By delivering the newspaper, she earned her first "guppy", a little Hurley 700. "With it I sailed alone through Holland at the age of eleven, and even to England when I was 13." The spectators watched spellbound pictures of a small, petite girl on a gigantic seven-meter boat, happily spending the summer holidays under sail. She started collecting nautical charts back then, she says. "Whenever someone came back from a trip, I asked if I could get a card." Cards with which she sailed around the world years later.
Then comes the climax, the story of their great journey. The month-long legal disputes with the youth welfare office are rather briefly illuminated by Dekker, on the wall there is a picture of a judge with a raised index finger. Then it starts, the story of the greatest achievement of a sailing child.
The legal disputes with the youth welfare office are only touched upon
To date, LaurDekker has covered 40,000 nautical miles with her large "guppy", a gin fizz that is almost twelve meters long. The most beautiful places in the world rush past on the screen, while the initial child transforms more and more into a young woman. Pictures of a steering wheel falling off again and again, pictures of a 14-year-old brooding over the inside of a shortwave receiver destroyed by salt water and not being discouraged. Again and again she falls back on technical terms in English and asks the audience to improve. "I can really learn something here," she says. Without much embellishment, she reports on the highs and lows of the trip. 64 knots of wind off South Africa and leaden calm on the Pacific. Things that are simply part of their environment, but that amaze the audience. How can you do it all by yourself at this age?
The inflatable globe provides orientation aid, especially for the children
"I grew up on a boat, I don't know anything else," she explains in between. Words that have been quoted again and again by the media. But when they come out of the mouth of this petite little person who reports with big eyes about their even bigger adventures, an amicable nod goes through the rows of the audience. Later, while the books were being signed, the young woman repeatedly had to pose for photos with children. Children, not much younger than her, when the travel plans began. In the almost 20-meter-long queue for the signature, scraps of words can be caught that admit: The girl really just wanted to go sailing. A trip that was a success and of which LaurDekker can be proud.
She currently lives in her native New Zealand, still on her ship "Guppy". The publication of her book "A Girl, a Dream" (Delius Klasing, 19.90 euros) drew her back to Europe and Germany for a few weeks. There she will give another lecture in Windeck on October 6th before going back to New Zealand.
Book signing. "Life is journey, not destination," writes Dekker on the title page.
The audience wants to know how things will go on: "What do you do when the world is in the wake at 18?" - "I would like to get my captain's license and continue traveling," she says. What could be closer to roots so close to water?