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Young Circumnavigators and Reluctant Russians on Film

In this February 2011 edition of All at Sea, you will find an interview with 15-year old Dutch solo circumnavigator Laura Dekker. If ever someone deserved to succeed, this girl does. Her boat is well prepared and fit for purpose. A lot has been said about the rights and wrongs of allowing youngsters to set out in search of long-distance sailing records alone. Sixteen year old Australian Jessica Watson succeeded, where 16-year old American Abby Sunderland failed miserably. Dekker's voyage has put her under the spotlight. She is more famous for her fight with Dutch authorities, over her right to set off on her solo voyage, than she is for her obvious sailing prowess, which is rather sad. I hope Dekker goes on to become the youngest person to sail around the world alone. She is capable, she crossed the Atlantic, and that's one record right there. A successful end to the voyage before she turns 17 will bring her huge rewards. However, I am concerned about Dekker, and not because of the sea, she can deal with that, but because of her supporters. If they seek financial profit from each stage of the girl's voyage, I fear they will kill the dream.

According to reports (and YouTube, which can't be wrong) Roman Abramovich has finally taken delivery of his Giga Yacht Eclipse. The video of this cruise ship in drag leaving the Blohm and Voss yard in Hamburg, Germany, is a wonder to behold. Eclipse is 163.5 m (536 ft) long and requires a crew of 70 to make it work. She has two helicopter pads, 24 guest cabins, two swimming pools, several hot tubs and a disco hall. The yacht also comes equipped with three launches and a mini-submarine that is capable of submerging to 50 meters. Should hostilities break out in St. Barts', Mr. Abramovich and his guests will party-on behind bulletproof glass, while the crew activates the missile defense system. As for the poor paparazzi, they'll be zapped. The yacht is reportedly equipped with an antipaparazzi shield in the form of lasers. These sweep the surroundings and when they detect a digital imagining device they shine a light right at the camera to prevent the photograph. I'm sure it won't be long before Eclipse visits the islands of the Caribbean, and I'll be ready. While the digital photographers are being zapped, I'll be on my way to the camera shop to get my film developed …

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