Europe

Teenage sailor nears end of trip round the world

In this file photo dated Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010 Laura Dekker hoists a flag of The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society on her boat in the harbor of Den Osse, southwest Netherlands. The 14-year-old Dutch girl will try to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world when she sets off from Portugal on Saturday Aug. 21, 2010. Laura Dekker's ambition of completing the yearlong trip has fueled a global debate over the wisdom of allowing young sailors to take on the tremendous risks of sailing the high seas alone.

In this file photo dated Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010 Laura Dekker hoists a flag of The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society on her boat in the harbor of Den Osse, southwest Netherlands. The 14-year-old Dutch girl will try to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world when she sets off from Portugal on Saturday Aug. 21, 2010. Laura Dekker's ambition of completing the yearlong trip has fueled a global debate over the wisdom of allowing young sailors to take on the tremendous risks of sailing the high seas alone.

AMSTERDAM -- Teenage Dutch sailor Laura Dekker is nearing the finish of her solo sailing trip around the world almost the same way she began it -- in good spirits despite some squalls.

Her lawyer Peter de Lange says Dutch truancy officers have issued her father a summons after a newspaper quoted her as saying poor weather was keeping her from her studies.

De Lange said Wednesday the report was a misunderstanding. Dekker fought a highly publicized battle with Dutch bureaucrats to be allowed to undertake her ambitious voyage.

Now 16, Dekker is on the final leg, a stint from Cape Town, South Africa, to the Caribbean island of St. Maarten, where she set sail in 2010. Amid blustery weather, she's on pace to reach port around Jan. 24.