The date of January 12, 2022, marked the 10th anniversary of when a then 16-year-old Laura Dekker arrived at Simpson Bay, St. Maarten, and became the youngest sailor to solo circumnavigate the globe. Dekker was back in the Caribbean again this winter as part of an Atlantic Roundtrip, a voyage as part of her namesake World Sailing Foundation that provides programs for young people to develop life skills and teamwork via long-distance sailing expeditions. It was on this latest cruise that Dekker re-met Jan Roosens, president of Caribbean Sail Training (CST). Dekker and her 72-foot Scorpio sailing yacht, Guppy, have become the latest member of this St. Maarten-based non-profit association.
“I met Laura the first time she came to St. Maarten in 2009. Then, I was flying the helicopter and taking pictures when she was 10 miles offshore as she completed her solo circumnavigation. We have remained in contact. She was happy to become a member vessel of CST when I asked her this year. She is now member vessel 73 in the ever-growing list of CST members.”
CST is a non-profit association that offers young people from the Caribbean the opportunity to enroll as trainees on global sail training vessels, mostly Tall Ships, and sponsors the fees. CST also pays airline fares and hotel accommodation for the trainees if needed. Roosens said there were several reasons why he asked Dekker to become a CST member. First of course is her record-setting single-handed circumnavigation. Secondly, because she has obtained her 200-ton master’s license, and thirdly, she is already successfully taking young people on sail training trips, mainly from Holland to the Caribbean.
“Laura agreed to accommodate Caribbean young people on board Guppy during her travels, with those students and trainees sponsored by CST. In turn, we will help her with sponsorship and services in the Caribbean like mooring and dock fees and yacht agent services,” says Roosens. www.CaribbeanSailTraining.com, lauradekkerworldsailingfoundation.com