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Laura Dekker can set sail 2010/7/28 21:32
Court says Dutch teenager Laura Dekker can set sail
A 14-year-old Dutch girl who wants to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world has won a court's permission to attempt the voyage.
The court in Middelburg lifted a guardianship order imposed last year, which placed Laura Dekker under the care of child protection services.
Laura must complete the two-year trip before she turns 17 in September 2012 to break the record.
Her mother has dropped her objections to the plan.
The Child Protection Council of Utrecht, in the central Netherlands, asked the Middelburg district court a week earlier than scheduled to extend the girl's supervision by 12 months, citing fears for her social and emotional development.
Last December, a court ruled that Laura could remain with her father, despite his support for her plan to sail solo round the world.
Born at sea
Laura has been under state supervision since last October, when the Utrecht court blocked her bid to become the youngest person to sail the globe solo.
In December, she breached a court order and ran away to the Dutch Antilles, where she was found and returned home.
The experienced sailor was born on a yacht off the coast of New Zealand during a seven-year world trip. She had her own yacht by the age of six and began sailing solo when she was 10.
Her father, Dick Dekker, supports her attempt at the record, but her mother had in the past expressed concerns.
Laura is planning to spend about two years aboard her 8m (26ft) boat, Guppy, to break the record set in May by Jessica Watson, 16, of Australia.
But the dangers she faces were highlighted by the rescue last month of another 16-year-old, Abby Sunderland from California.
The mast on her boat snapped, leaving her stranded for two days alone on the high seas until she was rescued by a fishing boat and brought to the Indian Ocean island of Reunion.
by Dave-san (guest) rate this post as useful

14-year old sailor - Dave-san's story 2010/7/28 23:20
I guess the possibility of fame and fortune overcomes good sense. It's an outrageous story. I remember Dekker running off to the Caribbean last year - doesn't speak well for her maturity and decision-making capacity. What next? Ten-year-old mountain climbers? Eight year old deep sea divers? I remember when kids flying planes cross country was the rage until the crash of a young girl put an end to it - laws were passed outlawing the practice. The media needs to stop covering these events, and people should just ignore them.

On another note - should mention that we drove past our first tornado on Sunday on our way to NYC for my husband's pacemaker battery replacement. Unbelievable heavy rain and wind, flooding, and downed trees to navigate around on the highway - luckily everyone else was driving carefully and slowly with blinkers blinking, so we all got home safely. Quite an experience. I read afterwords that there were 100 mph winds. Also - my husband's battery replacement went well also, so all is well - we call my husband the bionic man.

Movies - my advice - do not see the current rage "Inception"- with Leonardo DiCaprio. Completely ridiculous story. And the volume level is so high it will ruin everyone's hearing for sure. 2 1/2 hours long, though we left after 25 painful minutes. I should add that my son loved it - so this is just my opinion.
by Steffi (guest) rate this post as useful

Sailing 2010/7/28 23:49
Dave-san Thank you for the information. Before I render my solution to this "problem" I would like to hear your take on if she should go or not, and the judges ruleing.
I first "solo'd" when I was 8 years old. But I don't think that a spin around the bay constituties a real solo. I wound up on a sandbar scared silly.
by Peter (guest) rate this post as useful

My solution 2010/7/29 06:40
Any guesses to the question as to weather Laura should go or no go ? Or other conditions..Dave san should ace this.
Also another guy D'elassandro [just completed a circumnavagation in a 21 footer.
Thats pretty small, Deckers 26 footer is very small also.
Hint as to my "solution..live free or die..
[not that simple]
by Peter (guest) rate this post as useful

Responsibility & Youth 2010/7/29 06:48
I posted the story because I know Peter is interested in teen-aged girls and sailboats. I don't care one way or the other if Laura Dekker or anyone else wants to sail around the world solo or how old they are when they attempt it. I did watch the videos of Jessica Watson's hero's welcome after she successfully completed her voyage and enjoyed them. I felt concern for Abby Sunderland when her boat was wrecked and she was feared lost. I was relieved when she was rescued in the middle of nowhere. I admire both of them.
How young is too young to learn responsibility? I climbed Mt Fuji when I was twelve. Was I too young? Were my parents irresponsible? I was able to buy beer in Japan when I was twelve and in NYC when I was sixteen although not legally. Too young? I've never had any problem with drinking nor have any of my children, who were allowed to drink whatever the adults were drinking at home at meals before they were of legal age. I owned my first rifle, a .22, when I was six. Too young? I was allowed to hunt with my cousin who was a year older when I was eight. Too young? I've never used a firearm in a crime or injured anyone accidentally.
I recently read a book, Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell, that explores why some people are very successful or good at some things. Learning at a young age is one of the key reasons. So, who is better able to decide if Laura Dekker is too young to attempt to sail solo around the world? Her parents or a court enforcing an arbitrary status law? Speaking of silly status laws, I understand I will be too old to rent a car on my next visit to Europe although I've never had an accident. That will probably keep me from going again. Ridiculous! Which reminds me, I learned to drive when I was eight, taught by my cousin who was a year older, on a citrus ranch where my cousin's parents owned the road and where we had to know how to drive to haul tools and crates and smudge pots to where they were needed. Child labor? Too young? One of the happiest periods of my life.
by Dave-san (guest) rate this post as useful

Boats 2010/7/29 07:14
Laura has acquired a much larger 38 ft (11.5 meter) boat.
Jessica had the smallest, a 10 meter boat.
Abby had a 12 meter boat.
by Dave-san (guest) rate this post as useful

Nothing to do with Japan 2010/7/29 09:03
Please take your sailing stories/discussions to another forum. Sorry, but most of the rest of us are not interested.
by "uninterested" (guest) rate this post as useful

Dave-san 2010/7/29 11:32
Dave-san, it sounds like you were a precocious kid who was allowed to experience lots of interesting stuff at no harm to yourself by enlightened parents who gave you lots of opportunities.

The difference between you and Dekker et al is the exploitation factor. No one seems to have gained by your experiences except yourself, and no one was exploiting you for fame or profit. The media was not tracking you, and you were not a celebrity - just a kid growing up and having fun. I think putting kids in the limelight in this way takes its toll, even if they enjoy it at the time.

I agree about your general point - that people should just raise their kids as they see fit without interference in most cases. And men and women BOTH should also make basic life decisions without state interference.

By the way - did I mention that I was driving jeeps when I was 7 or 8? They were parked in a garage under the apartment we lived in at the entrance to Berrick Hall, in Yokohama. It's a wonder I didn't strip the gears, or die of carbon monoxide poisoning. It was one of the more pleasurable experiences of my childhood!
by Steffi (guest) rate this post as useful

Precocious Kids 2010/7/29 13:40
Steffi-san, I was not a precocious kid. If anything, I was a kid with parents who didn't pay much attention to me and a lot of free time to do pretty much whatever I wanted. My mother divorced my father when I was three or four and I never saw my father again. She married my step father when I was four or five and we moved to Sun Valley, California. My step father had been an infantry officer during WWII and went back into the Army through the reserves prior to the Korean War. We moved to Fresno, California and then Chico, California before going to Japan but during this time I also spent several periods living with my grandparents in Pennsylvania and another period farmed out to cousins in California on a citrus ranch. After Japan we went to Fort Lee, Virginia. When my mother divorced my step father when I was fourteen I was sent to live with an aunt and uncle in Pennsylvania. When that didn't work out I joined my mother in East Orange, New Jersey.
Of all the places I lived growing up, Yokohama was by far the best. Of all the places I was stationed in the twenty years I spent in the Marine Corps, Atsugi was by far the best.
D riving jeeps at Berrick Hall at seven or eight sounds kind of like you were a precocious kid.
by Dave-san (guest) rate this post as useful

Precocious! 2010/7/29 22:35
I think all of the posters in this forum were precocious children, as you all seem to be way above average, even Peter. I wasnft quite as precocious as Dave-san and Steffi, as I didnft start hunting (rabbits and quail) until I was ten, and didnft start driving until I was eleven.
by Wally (guest) rate this post as useful

Kids in Japan 2010/7/29 23:14
I was just a normal kid, with no siblings to play with,and amusing myself as best I could with whatever was at hand. I don't think I was precocious in any way. Dave-san, you probably went through some tough changes - at the least, you were adaptable and smart and a survivor, and luckily did have the chance for some interesting experiences which probably strengthened you and prepared you for life.

I agree that Japan was a great place to be raised, at least partly because the Japanese are so partial to kids and so patient with them. Amazingly, with all their indulgenced upbringing, Japanese kids were mostly very well behaved. I do remember thinking how noisy and wild the American kids seemed when I first met them.
by Steffi (guest) rate this post as useful

Lucky Kids 2010/7/30 01:21
I don't think those of us who lived in Japan as kids were particularly precocious children. If anything, we were lucky children. Lucky to have had the experience of living in a country where we were different and yet warmly welcomed in spite of reason we were there.
by Dave-san (guest) rate this post as useful

The best of days . . . 2010/7/30 02:13
As Gerri Warden's July 13 post says, speaking of life in Japan "I remember it as the best of days."
by Barbara (guest) rate this post as useful

Sorry! 2010/7/30 21:51
Sorry, I didnft mean to insult anyone by calling them precocious. I always thought that precocious meant that a person matured faster than normal. The Army brats I knew all seemed to be more worldly, and less afraid to take on new tasks than a hayseed like me who came from 40th and Plum (forty miles from town and plumb out in the sticks).
by Wally (guest) rate this post as useful

Why Sorry? 2010/7/31 00:43
Wally-san, you may have had it pretty close to right, referring to our regular little group of former military brats, dependants, GIs and Japanese friends when you said, "I think all of the posters in this forum were precocious children, as you all seem to be way above average, even Peter." You flatter us rather than insult us.
We do have an exceptional group of people with a lot of interesting insights and knowledge posting here on a fairly regular basis and it is fair to assume all were precocious children. I just can't include myself in the precocious child category because I remember how dumb I was as a young kid.
Our one common denominator is that we were all lucky enough to have lived in Yokohama at one point in our lives and were enriched by the experience.
by Dave-san (guest) rate this post as useful

Tokyo's Oldest Man 2010/7/31 20:34
Tokyo's Oldest Man Actually Dead for 30 Years
(July 30) -- When Sogen Kato's 111th birthday rolled around last week, he was hailed as the oldest living man in Tokyo. But there was just one problem with the claim on that title: He'd been lying dead in his bed for some 30 years, which is where city authorities found his mummified skeletal remains Wednesday.
Social workers first became suspicious about the extremely elderly Kato -- born in 1899 -- in February, when they tried to visit the home he supposedly shared with his daughter, 81, son-in-law, 83, grandson, 49, and granddaughter, 53. The officials were refused entry by the grandson, who claimed Kato was living in an old people's home in central Japan, according to The Mainichi Daily News.
That alibi changed when police and government workers returned to the house on Monday, with the aim of congratulating Kato on turning 111 four days earlier. This time, they were chased off by the granddaughter, who said, "My grandfather is well, but he's refused to meet with anyone," the newspaper reported.
But on Wednesday, one of the grandchildren turned up at a police station and confessed that the family knew Kato had died some time ago, as they'd spotted a skull when they tried to enter his room in March.
"Grandpa was a very scary man. So we couldn't open the door,'' the grandchild told police, according to Japan Today, adding that Kato had "shut himself up in the room without food or water" some 30 years ago with the aim of becoming a "living Buddha." Officers who searched the house later that day found Kato's mummified remains, clad in long underwear and covered by a blanket, lying faceup in bed.
An autopsy failed to pinpoint the cause of death, but police said a newspaper and local government report dated November 1978 were found next to the corpse, suggesting Kato died around this time.
While the grandfather may have willingly locked himself away, it appears as though his family had good reason to keep mum about his gradual mummification. Japan Today reported that police are investigating whether the family fraudulently claimed a $110,000 survivor pension Kato would have been entitled to (if he'd been alive) when his 101-year-old wife died in 2004, noting that over $31,000 had been withdrawn from the grandfather's bank account earlier this month.
by Dave-san (guest) rate this post as useful

Oldest Man 2010/7/31 23:38
Sounds like this story could be the plot for a Jimmy Stewart movie.

Jimmy is the enterprising beat policeman who suspects something in amiss but can't quite put his finger on it.
Lee J. Cobb as the barking police comissioner who tells Jimmy to get busy and dig something up.
Richard Conte as the the falsely accused second son.
Tohiro Mifune as the suspicious neighborhood knife and scissor sharpener guy.
Ricardo Montalban as the used car salesman.
And Shirley Maclaine as Wanda Skutnik, the witness who saw it all...
by eRIC (guest) rate this post as useful

Oldest Man Movie 2010/8/1 03:53
Good idea for a Jimmie Stewart movie but we'll need younger actors who are still around. We'll move the venue to the canal by Motomachi and find the body of the lead singer of Voltage on a barge where it has rested since the late sixties. Frank Wiecek (Peter) will be jailed for murder based on eye witness accounts by Wanda Skutnik (Steffi), a Voltage groupie and Laura McNeal (Barbara), a YoHi cheerleader of what they remember of a party after leaving the Peanut Club . In jail, Frank will meet Sam Faxton (Wally), another witness who can't remember the party. Brian Kelly (Eric), and escape artist riding a bicycle will rescue both of them from jail and hide them in the benjo of the Navy Exchange that is now located under MYCAL until both can escape in a sailboat borrowed from YCAC.
by Dave-san (guest) rate this post as useful

Eric and Dave 2010/8/1 23:09
And what are you going to play, Dave-san? Or are you simply the script writer, producer and director, along with Eric? I think you guys should use your great imaginations and go into the business, which currently could use you.
by Steffi (guest) rate this post as useful

Actors 2010/8/2 01:50
Dave san will be played by Johnny Depp.
Keanu Reeves will play the part of Eric.
by Eric (guest) rate this post as useful

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