This is because Jessica Watson is planning to set sail on an 23,000 nautical mile voyage around the world on her 10.4m (34’) sloop, which has recently been named Pink Lady (originally Youngestaround.com). Her trip will take her from Brisbane, Australia around Cape Horn and through the Southern Ocean, before returning to Brisbane eight months later. She plans to compete her voyage in April 2010 while she is still 16 and become the youngest person, male or female, to sail around the world - beating Australian Jesse Martin’s record that he set when he was 18.
Jessica lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, and started sailing when she was eight years old. She says that she was raised on the water and feels very comfortable and safe there, preferring being out at sea to being landlocked. She says that the great attraction of solo sailing is testing yourself to your limits, and fully expects to be nervous and scared at times during the trip.
Preparations for her departure around September, 2009 are going well. Jessica’s mother and father are very supportive of her voyage, and both have taken time off their work to help her prepare for the journey. Her three brothers and sisters are also involved in the preparations, which you can follow on Jessica’s blog (Jessica Watson’s blog). On a recent visit to the blog, I saw they’ve just painted the yacht pink!
The yacht Jessica will be using is a classic Sparkman & Stephens design, which is the same type used by Jesse Martin and a reliable vessel for the stormy Southern Ocean. The yacht was donated to Jessica by Australian adventurers Don and Margie McIntyre, who say that Jessica has a steely determination, is a skilled and experienced sailor and has maturity and organisational skills beyond her years. They believe that Jessica has a tough challenge ahead of her, but that they are confident she’s up to it.
The trip has been Jessica’s dream since she was about 11, and started with Jesse Martin’s book, Lionheart. As soon as she read the book she realized that the voyage was something she wanted to do, and hasn’t changed her mind since. She hopes to inspire other young Australian girls to take the steps towards living their dreams, and to become whoever they want to be. Good luck to Jessica on her adventurous journey!
Follow Jessica’s progress at her website and her blog. Zac Sunderland, a 17 year old American has recently broken Jesse Martin's record, but Jessica will still break the record if she makes it home by April 2010.
Photographs by Liam Kidston and kindly supplied by 5 Oceans Media.
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