Laura Decker, the Dutch teenager completed her 27'000 nautical mile solo circumnavigation of the world at the former Dutch Antilles Caribbean island of St Maartan to become the youngest person to sail round the world single-handed. The 16-year-old began solo sailing at the age of six and was greeted by her parents who had encouraged her adventure -- but not by the educational authorities in her native Netherlands who had tried to prevent her voyage because of her age and the risk that she would encourage other youngsters to copy her enterprise.

In Britain the Times called her achievement “wrong” but was immediately accused of “a dismal assault on the human spirit” for doing so.