The OCC Award of Merit - 2013
(s/v Guppy) For her courage and determination in sailing 1.5 times around the world, all for the love of sailing
Laura represents the absolute spirit of the blue water sailor and exemplifies the ideals of the OCC – to foster ocean cruising in small boats and seamanship in all its forms. Unlike others who have courted fame, it seems she simply always wanted to sail and to enjoy her private life, not unlike a young Bernard Moitessier.
In the words of a nominator, “Laura is a born sailor.” There is no denying her sailing, technical and navigational skills acquired at a very young age, nor her courage and determination in sailing 1.5 times around the world, defying all critics. As a 14-16 year-old, Laura circumnavigated singlehanded in 2012 without any mishap in Guppy, a 30-year-old moderately equipped 37-foot ketch, more than proving her seamanship. Continuing on immediately afterward to complete another transpacific in 2013 to return to the country where she was born speaks to her love of the sea and the freedom of sailing. Laura truly reflects what the OCC is all about.
In the words of one judge, “I have ended up with the most extreme respect for this young woman, who, to my mind, is a true sailor in that she simply loves being at sea. She has rejected most publicity, has made no money from her trip, and did not even have a hand in the movie, except for supplying her footage. She overcame every challenge with her boat, quietly and professionally and showing great old-fashioned seamanship skills.”
Laura finished her circumnavigation in 2012 (Saint Martin, Dutch Antilles). She continued on across the Pacific, returning to New Zealand where she was born (she has dual New Zealand and Netherlands citizenship) early in 2013.