Dutch teenagers visit Gosport as part of their education campaign

ON A MISSION Brothers Enrique, 15, and Hugo Claassen, 14, on their trip around the world. Picture: Sarah Standing (123120-3776)
ON A MISSION Brothers Enrique, 15, and Hugo Claassen, 14, on their trip around the world. Picture: Sarah Standing (123120-3776)
Picture: Isle of Wight Radio/PA Wire

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TWO Dutch teenagers on a mission to get an education by sailing around the world have arrived in Gosport.

Enrique Claassen, 15, and his 14-year-old brother Hugo have been out of school for three years at home in Holland because their severe dyslexia means no school will take them.

They decided, along with their 44-year-old father Guillermo, to sail around the world in a 21ft yacht to find a solution to their education problem and report back home.

And one of their first stops on the way was Gosport.

The three Dutch sailors arrived last week and will set sail again for France tomorrow.

Enrique said: ‘So far the sailing has been pretty rough but it is also fun.

‘After being kicked out of school I felt very sad.

‘Then after a few weeks I got angry about it because it wasn’t fair.

‘I hope we can find a solution for all the other children back home who face the same problems we do.’

As the youngsters sail around the world, they are studying under the World School project to keep up their education.

Inspired by Laura Dekker, a young Dutch girl who became a super sailor, they came up with the idea of sailing around the world with the help of their father.

But two days before they were due to set sail from their home, near Amsterdam, Dutch authorities tried to take custody of the two teenagers to stop them sailing around the world.

Ultimately the authorities lost, and the family were allowed to go on their way.

Now three weeks later they have arrived in Gosport Marina.

Since arriving in the town they have been repairing their boat and catching up on some work for the World School.

Dad Guillermo said: ‘If they don’t go to school and get an education they have nil prospects for the future and then their dreams are gone.

‘They are the most precious thing I have and I’m going to fight for them every step of the way.

‘Because it was Hugo’s birthday and he was a bit sad at being away from home we went to buy him fishing equipment.

‘The people at the shop in Gosport were very nice and they spent hours teaching us how to use it.

‘Now we can catch fish for our food which is very important.’

The Claassens believe there are at least 16,000 other children like Enrique and Hugo in Holland.

Both boys want an education but were rejected by 17 schools.

To find out more about the project or to support the brothers, visit 
sailingforeducation.com.