Yacht & Coast

Broad Reach

Trending: Dutch teenagers skip school, sail off

November 29, 2012 by robert in Broad Reach with 0 Comments

THE HAGUE _ First Laura Dekker sails away from legal wrangling over her schooling. Then Enrique and Hugo Claassen, aged 15 and 14, do. The dyslexic teenage brothers are sailing around Europe to highlight problems of dyslexic children. They failed to come home for their 2012-13 school year though the government says it has found a suitable school. “Time to go to court,” says a government spokeswoman.

Enrique and Hugo left Aug. 24 after a court dismissed child welfare services’ plea they should stay home, finish high school. The two are gifted, but dyslexic. Their parents say the government refuses to provide suitable schooling. Their case is reminiscent of the round-the-world trek by another school-skipping Dutch teenager, Laura Dekker, completed in January, 2012. Enrique and Hugo were in Cascais, Portugal in late November. Their father follows them in another boat.

There are 16,000 “stay-at-home” youngsters in the Netherlands who cannot find appropriate schooling, have been expelled or are handicapped. Annelies Schillemans, Enrique and Hugo’s mother, says she tried for 2 years to find a school for her sons. She approached 19. Child welfare says the parents  have been uncooperative in finding a solution.

And Laura Dekker? She completed her round-the-world in “Guppy,” her 38-ft ketch-rigged Jeanneau Gin Fizz, Jan. 21, 2012 in St. Maarten. In November, 2012, she was living on Guppy in her native New Zealand and blogged that “not having plans to go on a big sailing trip anytime soon still feels really weird though.”

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