About World Sailing Foundation

Making dreams come true

The Laura Dekker World Sailing Foundation has been founded in 2018 by Laura Dekker and Sander Vogelenzang. Established to provide programs for young people to develop life skills like team work, self confidence, responsibility, creativity, and leadership. The challenge of expeditions in foreign lands and long distance sailing aboard our sturdy training vessel provide a uniquely powerful and extremely effective environment for the personal development of children and teenagers that come from all sorts of backgrounds.

Although we already have some great supporters and sponsors, a lot more help is needed to keep this project going.

Head to how to support to find out what you can do to help.

If it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you

The concept in short

Up to ten trainees, divided into different age groups ( varying from 8 to 16 years old), can participate in the programs which we are running. You will travel to many areas in which Laura was also during her solo world voyage

We focus on teaching our students the primary life skills needed to start their independent journeys in life and become a successful part of our society. 

You will be involved in all aspects of the trip - preparation, cooking, maintenance, navigation, watches, sails, provisioning etc. Through this creating a small society aboard the ship in which the students can safely but effectively discover their talents in the diversity of tasks onboard. But also learn to take responsibility, make independent choices and collaborate with others ( from different cultures and from other backgrounds)

Education Goals

What we aim to give the students that sail with us.

  • Build self confidence
  • Respect for others, realise everyone is different and that's ok.
  • Experiencing the need for teamwork and a good work ethic
  • A sense of community
  • Developing problem solving and leadership skills
  • Take responsibility for their own actions and decisions
  • Developing social and life skills
  • Learn about our environment and how to take care of it.
  • Learning sailing and navigation skills
  • Encouragement to lifelong learning
  • Experience the pleasure of simplicity ( how less can be more)
  • How to achieve their own dreams & goals.

The Trust is committed to providing opportunities for young people regardless of circumstance or ability.

Modern technology

There will be no wifi or internet onboard the ship, a perfect moment to start writing, reading and learning who you are without the world telling you who you should be. A perfect moment for personal conversations without distraction and a perfect moment to learn how to navigate the world without google & google maps ;)


The ship is a small space on which there is no way out, when arguments arise they will have to be dealt with in a good manner. It’s like a small community and everyone has duties to attend to that are important for the balance onboard. Communications skills and working together play a vital role in the everyday life onboard.

We leave the students to figure out their own arguments, differences and paths, however the crew will always make sure that no boundaries are crossed and help to guide the students should that be needed.

The unpredictable nature of sailing presents real and honest physical, mental and emotional challenges. It is a genuinely life changing experience with many unique learning experiences.

Self Confidence

Some students will be very confident when they come aboard and others might not have so much confidence in their own skills, but living and working together onboard will balance this out quickly. New skills will be found an acquired while the students take over the commands of the ship and need to work together to navigate and sail the ship but also to take care of each other by cooking, cleaning and helping each other though hard times.

The crew will only jump in when the safety of students, crew or ship becomes and issue.

This way we provide for a safe and protected way for the students to learn how to stand on their own feet.

Motivation & determination

Sailing a ship across an ocean in a small team is no easy feat, there will be many hard times in which the students need to show determination, motivation,  skill and teamwork to get through.

Personal experiences:

"My father and the sea were the best teachers I have ever had. And I want to pass on exactly these experiences that have shaped me so much, "says Laura. And where could a passionate sailor like her do it better than at sea?"We want to bring together young people from very different social classes and sail with them," Laura explains the concept. "They learn to take responsibility, they have to face the forces of nature, operate the boat, navigate, cook, repair equipment. This will be hard for some. But only what challenges you makes you grow and helps you to discover your self-confidence, your interests and talents."

Laura speaks from experience. She was often told as a child that she should not do certain things or that she was too young, especially with regard to her circumnavigating the world. The Dutch Childcare, the media and even the Dutch Government wanted to keep her from traveling. "I am convinced that many young people have much more potential and capabilities than the older generation is aware of."


The concept in short:

Up to ten teens, divided into different age groups, can participate in the programs which Laura is running. You will travel to many areas in which Laura was also during her solo world voyage: From Spain or Portugal through the English Channel to Norway and then across the Shetlands and Orkney Islands to the Netherlands. This Europe route is for younger children who stay on board for only one or two weeks.

Teenagers between the ages of 12 and 16 can also take part in an Atlantic crossing: from Portugal they travel across the Atlantic Ocean, past the Canaries, Cape Verder through the Caribbean to the Azores and back to southern Europe.

While sailing the focus shall lay primarily on building life skills and character that can be learned through sailing. You will be involved in all aspects of the trip - preparation, cooking, maintenance, navigation, watches, sails, provisioning etc. Through the trip we wish to achieve some core life skills, like team work, responsibility, self confidence, determination, discipline, become aware of our environment & experience the pleasure of simplicity ( how less can be more)

Of course you will also learn about life at sea (i.e. sail handling, ropes, navigation (celestial and modern), understanding the weather, maintenance (rope work, woodwork, engine…)

However our main focus is building confidence, determination, team work and responsibility as these are very important things in life.

Of course we don't expect things to go smoothly all the time ;)

We are supported by

Iridium Logo