Movie review: Maidentrip

Continuing in the category of reviews-of-round-the-world-sailing-trips-by-someone-who-gets-seasick… I watched Maidentrip the other night, a documentary about a 14-year-old girl’s round-the-world solo voyage in a 38-foot sailboat. Aside from the nautical aspects of the voyage, in which the teenager displays far more prudence than most adults, the movie is kind of interesting from a legal point of view.  Laura Dekker was reared primarily by her Dutch father starting at about age 5 (according to the movie, the German-born mom went to live with a boyfriend and left the child [a rational financial decision in Europe, where obtaining custody and collecting child support may not be profitable]). The father was a sailing nut and boat-builder who allowed the girl to take trips commensurate with her skill but unconventional given her age. The Dutch government fought a 10-month lawsuit, ultimately unsuccessful, to try to prevent Dekker from embarking on her journey, which had been approved by both of her joint custodial/biological parents.

Note: the movie is available for streaming from Netflix.

Related: my posting about Wild Eyes (Abby Sunderland’s round-the-world attempt) and All is Lost

3 thoughts on “Movie review: Maidentrip

  1. Thanks for the tip. I had already seen Wild Eyes and was surprised at how little actual overnight sailing experience Abby Sunderland actually had before the trip. It was hard to watch her endure the trip. Impressive for sure, but it seemed more of a torture test, than anything exciting. I was interest to see if this was “Normal” or not. The difference between the two experiences was drastic and apparent from the start. The voyages were different in that Laura Decker wasn’t planning on making the trip without setting foot on land. But she seemed happier and more confident from the get go.

    Interestingly enough, as a parent of a 20 year old, I was actually more worried about her when she was in port than when she was at sea. For me, the ending was the scariest part! I guess, this goes to show where my worry’s are focused.

    Anyway, if you’ve seen either movie, I’d recommend the other, and if you’ve seen neither, both are worth an evenings viewing; especially, if you’re a father and can get you teenager daughter to sit and watch with you.

  2. I haven’t seen the movie, but the lawsuit surrounding Dekker touched the nerve of class difference in the Netherlands.

    You can agree that Laura seems like a sensible girl, and that she’ll probably end up alright even if she misses or drops out of school, but isn’t that because she’s from a rich, privileged family?

    Would we feel the same if a black kid from a single-parent home in Amsterdam Zuidoost were to announce that he was going to hitchhike across Eurasia for a year?

    So if you make an exemption to truancy laws for Laura, isn’t that a form of class justice?

  3. Is it specific to the Netherlands? I’m pretty sure wealthy kids have more opportunities just about anywhere in the world, even in North Korea. If she was black and her father was a wealthy businessman, would her race or ethnicity have made a difference? If not, why bring it up?

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