Dutch court blocks girl's solo global sailing bid

UTRECHT, Netherlands, Aug 28, 2009 (AFP) - A Dutch court ruled Friday that a 13-year-old girl cannot set sail on a solo round-the-world voyage next month and ordered her to be taken into the temporary care of social services.

"The parents are going to have to negotiate all important decisions regarding Laura (Dekker) with the child protection services," said a statement from the court.

"This means that Laura cannot start her round-the-world trip without their (child protection services) agreement," the statement added.

The children's court also ordered an inquiry into the psychological and physical impact that such a voyage -- expected to last two years -- would have on the youngster, to be delivered by October 16.

Dutch child protection agents had sent the case to the children's court asking it to suspend the parental authority of Laura's mother and father, who were backing her bid to become the youngest ever solo round-the-world sailor.

They had planned to have her set out in her 8.3-metre-long Hurley 800 named Guppy, financed by sponsors.

The children's court sat on Monday behind closed doors to consider the matter.

Laura and her father Dick Dekker were present for the hearing behind closed doors, a court spokesman said at the time.

Laura Dekker was born on a yacht off the New Zealand coast during a seven-year world trip by her parents and lives with her father on a yacht in central Netherlands, according to Dutch press.

Source: AFP

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