May 3rd, 2010
01:26 PM ET

Girl, 16, nears around-the-world sailing record

Jessica Watson is nearing the end of her 23,000-nautical mile voyage.

Australian teenager Jessica Watson is closing in on her goal of being the youngest person ever to sail solo around the world.

Watson, 16, wrote in her blog Monday that she had cleared the southeast cape of Australia’s southern island of Tasmania and was heading north to Sydney and the 1,000-mile conclusion of her 23,000-nautical mile voyage.

“We passed well clear of land, in the dark and with not the nicest conditions. But I still got a big kick out of it,” Watson wrote of her leg around Tasmania. On Saturday, she posted a picture on her blog of a 33-foot high wave near her yacht.

She wrote that she was happy to be heading to warmer waters.

“With a bit of water on your hands, this wind only takes a few minutes to make your hands go numb when working on deck,” she said in her blog.

Watson is sailing a 34-foot Sparkman & Stephens yacht named Ella’s Pink Lady on the voyage.

The teen from Buderim, Australia, who began her trip on October 17, is expected to arrive in Sydney in mid-May.

The current record holder of the mark Watson seeks is Australian Jesse Martin, who did it in 1999 at age 19, according to CNN affiliate ABC news in Australia.

Briton Michael Perham completed an assisted sail around the world last year at age 17.

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Filed under: Australia • World
soundoff (106 Responses)
  1. Heath

    Rather incredible if you ask me and good luck to her.

    May 3, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Chad

    cant imagine getting to do that at 16

    May 3, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. OhioFellow

    There's an American girl sailing her way around the world as well.


    May 3, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Salina

    wow, hope she can succeed with no weather problems...girl power! good luck to you!

    May 3, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Corey

    wow i'm surprised her parents let her do this.

    May 3, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jay

    @ OhioFellow (#3)
    True Abby is on her way around, however, she is a bit older than Jessica (I believe) and she is also giving up the non-stop part of the voyage. She is stopping in for repairs.
    Her brother Zac sailed around last year, with many stops on route.
    Best of luck to all of them.

    May 3, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Stephane

    Fantastic! Most-likely the best possible way for a teenager to gain confidence and world knowledge... She will also carry this with her during the course of her life on solid ground.

    Stéphane from Montreal, Canada

    May 3, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Rich

    Author failed to mention that this is not just a solo effort. It's solo, non-stop, with no assistance. This is a 16 yr old girl folks, alone out there for over 6 months. Quite a feat I'd say. They must grow them different in Australia. Of the 16 yr old girls I see here in the states at the malls or around the high schools, I doubt if 10% could even find Australia on a map, let along sail around the world by themselves. Good on ya Jess!

    May 3, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. nadine

    I am glad to see a 16 year old doing something most kids her age will never do. They are too busy texting and updating their Facebook status. Good for her!

    May 3, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Lu

    Too bad so many american teens are coddled by technology instead of challenged by it. Yes, I work with the teens and what an exihibition of 'apathy' to life they are. Heartbreaking, really. U.S. parents suck at raising intelligent, warm-hearted, distinguished human beings who are willing to work for what they want, and not whine about what they do not have.
    Go girls, go. Race hard, believe, and you have already achieved. I will join you shortly on the trek around the world.

    May 3, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Michael

    Not a particular fan of teenagers, American or otherwise, but I think it's unfair to compare ALL American teenagers to a single Australian girl.

    May 3, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. alumette

    well, looks like she pulled it off. Congrats!

    May 3, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. alumette

    It has to do with the raising of the child. In the US most kids are raised in fluff and denial. That is not an intro to independence.

    May 3, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Cardinal14

    There is a 4 year old doing the same thing! Alone! Kids can do anything!

    May 3, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. detsea

    yeah, it's pretty amazing that a 16 year old has a yacht...

    May 3, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
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