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An immersive tale of a 16-year-old’s solo sail around the world

“I don't like it when people tell me what to do”, says Laura Dekker toward the end of her record-setting solo trip around the world aboard her sailboat Guppy.

In many ways, Dekker's assertion encapsulates both the rebelliousness of a 16-year-old, and the sheer impossibility of sailing around the world alone.

‘Maidentrip' is the first-person account of that trip; an immersive, idiosyncratic coming-of-age story about a girl who stopped at nothing to achieve her life's ambition.

Dekker first garnered attention when planning the trip, resulting in a ten-month legal battle by Dutch authorities attempting to stop her by seeking custody of the then-13-year-old.

Director Jillian Schlesinger avoids getting bogged down in the background, but it is immediately apparent that Dekker — called “delusional”, “spoiled”, and “insane” by the media — is a far cry from the girl Dutch beurocrats painted her to be.

Armed with a Sony Handycam and mounted GoPros, Dekker chronicles her time on the water entirely alone, no film crew in sight. The resulting footage not only shows a grounded, expert sailor, it chronicles a young girl coming to terms with adulthood, slowly growing out of the awkwardness inherent in teenage-dom. Indeed, towards the end of the film, Dekker has not just matured emotionally, but physically as well. Throughout the film her portrait is as dynamic as the seas on which she sails.

The first film for director Schlesinger, ‘Maidentrip' can drag on at times, and is largely reliant on the small moments that punctuated Dekker's trip.

Those small moments, however, are punctuated with the weird, idiosyncratic reactions of a girl whose spent far too long alone.

Frequently funny, the lyrical, almost whimsical ‘Maidentrip' is a must-see for anyone that loves sailing.

‘Maidentrip' is being shown as part of the Bermuda Docs film festival at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. It is being shown on Sunday at 3pm.

Adventure on the high seas: Laura Decker sailed the world alone at 16.

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Published October 16, 2013 at 9:55 pm (Updated October 17, 2013 at 3:21 pm)

An immersive tale of a 16-year-old’s solo sail around the world

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