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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Jessica Watson, lone sailor around the world

Jessica Watson is only 16 and is attempting to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world. She has survived a barrage of negative press about her being too young to take on such an arduous task and now it's up to her to prove everyone wrong.

Jessica's father Roger Watson said there was a real chance that she could die in the attempt but he still thinks it would be worse to say 'no you can't go' because of that risk. Mother Julie also gives her support but was very concerned when Jessica had a collision with a 63,000 tonne cargo ship last month. While Jessica was distracted at the departure point, her mother snuck aboard and hid little cards, notes, sweets, a cuddly teddy bear, anything to make her daughter smile when things got tough. Jessica cried as she motored out of Sydney harbour, followed by about 30 boats and kayaks, but managed a smile and a wave to supporters.

Jessica says

My goal is to sail solo around the world non-stop, unassisted. I have chosen a route that is a traditionally recognised path and distance for ‘around the world sailors’. As this is a Southern Hemisphere voyage the significant landmarks are the southern tips of the American and African continents, as well as some of the most challenging oceans a sailor will ever face. The entire journey is a mix of amazing experience and unique challenges.

There are a few key targets I must achieve to qualify for around the world status. The approximate distance is 23,000 nautical miles (about 38,000 kilometres). I must depart and arrive from the same port, cross all lines of longitude, cross the equator entering into the Northern Hemisphere at least once and round the southern landmarks of South America and South Africa.

Yesterday Jessica's blog attracted 610 comments, you can track her progress on