14-Year-Old Global Explorer Inspires Middle Fourth | Epsom College
  • Cultural Hour

14-Year-Old Global Explorer Inspires Middle Fourth

Laura Dekker became the youngest person to sail solo around the world, aged just 14. Her voyage made headlines not just because of how young she was, but because she had to take the Dutch government to court before she could set sail. The government heard of Laura’s ambitious plan and decided to block her from leaving the country. Laura fought back, and after winning a series of 10 court cases she was free to embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

On Wednesday she faced the far more formidable challenge of presenting to our Middle Fourth pupils.

Pupils were shown Laura’s documentary, maidentrip, followed by a live question and answer session (via Teams) titled “How to conquer the world when everyone tells you No!”



“As someone who’s always felt decently accomplished and independent, I can fairly say that Laura Dekker’s documentary¬†maidentrip¬†made me feel like a hopeless under-achiever in the most inspirational way possible,” says Rosie Hickinbotham (M).

“Her story is a true testament to the fantasy that dreams can come true, and indeed at any age. I loved how personal the film felt, especially during the times when she was at sea and filming it all herself. I still can’t quite get over the insanity of watching Dekker’s journey, so I certainly applaud her for living through it. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so motivated to get up and work, so teachers, thank Laura Dekker for that. A true role-model, amazing person and incredible film.”


Developing Life Skills

Laura continues to adventure and also runs The Laura Dekker World Sailing Foundation. She explains that the aim is to “help young people to develop life skills such as teamwork, self-confidence, responsibility, creativity and leadership… and, of course, sailing and adventure.”

Reflecting on the talk, Thomas Stapely (C), says: “Laura’s immense accomplishment, despite her age, encouraged me and my peers to consider attempting our own challenges and aspirations. Another of Laura’s qualities that inspired me was her independence. Sailing around the world is something that few adults could accomplish alone, and to have not only sailed alone, but to have completed all the planning and preparation, without any direction or help, is truly inspirational. It makes me wonder what I can do to increase my own independence in my daily life.”