Laura Dekker, the 15-year-old Dutch sailor who is attempting to become the youngest person ever to circumnavigate the globe, is halfway through her journey and nearing Australia. Dekker left the port of Gibraltar one year ago, and, traveling a westerly route, has crossed the Atlantic Ocean, the Panama Canal, and the Pacific Ocean. She was the object of widespread media attention two years ago when a Dutch court made her a ward of the state while it determined whether she was fit enough to make the journey. She later ran away to the Antilles in late 2009, then returned to the Netherlands before making a low-profile departure last August. Unlike Jessica Watson, a 16-year-old who holds the current unofficial age record and made a continuous, 210-day solo journey in 2010, Dekker has stopped frequently, with extended layovers in the Canary Islands and the Caribbean. Her last major challenge will be a crossing of the Indian Ocean.
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