If my daughter was 16 years old and told me she was going out, I imagine I would have at least three questions to ask:
- Where are you going?
- What time will you be back?
- Who are you going with?
Now, supposing the answer was “I’m going to sail around the world in a little 10 metre pink boat, passing by the North of New Zealand, going past Fiji and Samoa, so that I can head north to cross the equator (twice) before heading back south to go past Chile and round Cape Horn, pushing on to pass between Argentina and Antarctica before sailing past the most southerly point of South Africa and then I’ll set course to return to where I started, Sydney. So I am not sure what time I’ll be back but I am going alone.
Is that okay?”
Yesterday, Jessica Watson, who is on now aged 17 but was still just 16 years old when she completed her round the world trip, sailed into the Maroochy River, close to her home town of Buderim, to a heroes welcome.
This is what the Maroochy River looks like when it’s quiet…..
The World Record.
Is Jessica Watson the youngest person ever to circumnavigate the world solo in a yacht?
During her journey, Jessica had to battle through a severe storm just past the Falkland Islands when her yacht was “knocked down” four times, that means her mast was in the water, when she hit 10 metre waves in 70 knot winds. She’s suffered three more knockdowns in 12 metre waves closer to home towards the end of her journey as she approached Australia.
But the biggest storm seems to be over whether she now holds the world record as the youngest person ever to circumnavigate the world. The criteria for that is laid out; start and finish from the same point; cross all meridians of longitude; cross the equator; travel a minimum of 21,600 nautical miles.
Apparently, Jessica Watson has ticked all those boxes except that last one. Her logs suggest she travelled around 23,000 nautical miles. But computer analysis of her journey suggests she actually travelled a distance of 19,631 nautical miles. The difference between the two is that Jessica’s logs are “actual” sailed distances whereas the distances that count do not include tacking and weather detours, it is somehow based on recognised sailing distances between islands and capes.
I say never mind all that, I just want to know how a 16-year-old girl can complete such an amazing feat. Along the way, she has had to fix her battery monitor, the stove and toilet, the mainsail a couple of times, the wind generator and the fuel pump among other things. She did all this on her own, although she was allowed radio contact, and she sailed non-stop.
It is a remarkable achievement and she deserves to be a Queensland AND Australian icon.
Here’s Jessica to take you on a tour of her boat……
Whether Jessica Watson is a world record holder or not, I salute her courage and her achievement. And I am real jealous of the traffic she gets at the Jessica Watson Blog
But I have a plan. I’ll need to do some research first but I feel confident it will get me some extra traffic. How about the oldest geezer in the world to sail solo around the globe?