Teen Sailor Can Stay With Dad

Ruling paves the way for another attempt at round-the-world sail
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 23, 2009 3:39 PM CST
Teen Sailor Can Stay With Dad
Dick Dekker, his daughter Laura Dekker and her lawyer Peter de Lange in August.   (AP Photo)

A Dutch court ruled today that 14-year-old sailor Laura Dekker can remain in her father's custody after she ran away from home and traveled alone to the Caribbean. The ruling clears the way once again for Dekker to pursue her goal of becoming the youngest person to sail solo around the world. "At this moment there is no reason to remove her from her home," a judge said. Dekker's spokeswoman said she "jumped a hole in the sky" after hearing the news.

After Dekker's return, child welfare authorities had asked the court to place her with another family for 3 months, but that request was denied. Dekker's mother had left the court in tears earlier after her home had been excluded as a possible place for Laura to stay. "They know everything much better," she told reporters sarcastically, pointing to the courthouse. "They know what's best for my child." (More Laura Dekker stories.)

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