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. William

    I am happy she is doing this, despite the age I doubt there are many people at all who could pull this off.

    May 3, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. notherROUND

    Just goes to show what a 16 year old CAN DO. Win, loose, or draw, she sets a good example for others to follow. Unfortunatly way too many teens are too buisy with their texting, Facebook, getting pregnant, etc,etc.....

    May 3, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dawn

    What an amazing feat. As a mother of 3 daughters, I doubt I would have allowed them to do this, mainly because of all the weirdos out there. But, congrats to her. Her parents & Australia must be very proud. She's obviously an amazing young girl!

    May 3, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. nhowit

    Inspiring!

    May 3, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jordan

    This has got to be one of the most amazing stories and adventures that I've ever seen. Absolutely incredible, what a feat!

    May 3, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tony

    Until you've been out in the middle of any ocean you cannot begin to understand the intense emotional and spiritual experience it creates.

    Add to that the intimacy of sailing, where collaboration with the wind and water are key to one's very survival.

    What this young woman, and all those who have gone before her has achieved is a singular human experience.

    And to the parent who would not let their children go – if your child aspires to sail an ocean or climb a mountain, your own fear would serve to limit their life, not an adventure such as this.

    I lost a daugher when she was 26 and though I miss here dearly, I have never regreted that she died doing what made her life meaningful and gave her the greatest satisfaction.

    May 3, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Phil O'Brien

    Marvelous–eveyone in all corners of the planet should be proud of you Jessica.

    May 3, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ray

    Amazing, I couldn't imagine doing that either at age 16.

    May 3, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Steve Old

    THERE WILL BE NO RECORD.
    Read this for THE TRUTH!!!
    http://www.sail-world.com/Australia/Jessica-Watson:–Keeping-the-Record-Straight/69108

    May 3, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. T

    I'm sure she's a talented girl, but how many 16yr old girls have parents with that much money???

    May 3, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. susan

    What about Robin Graham (the Dove)? He was only 16.

    May 3, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. coresadanel

    What a strange record to desire to break. I'd be scared out of my mind at that age, but that is pretty remarkable! This girl will definitely continue to do amazing things in her life.

    May 3, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. sam

    I am about to retire and planning to learn some sailing but has been afraid to do so until I read this story. What an inspiration !

    May 3, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rich Ventura County CA

    These are silly records that add nothing to humanity and tempt ever younger people (and their parents) to attempt even more foolhardy stunts. Anyone remember the 9 year old who died several years ago because her dad wanted her to be the youngest the fly across the U.S. Almost as bad are the rich old farts that try to be the first to fly around the world solo–at least they weren't coerced by mommy and daddy.

    May 3, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. HORACIO BARROS

    Brilliant girl .- Go ahead Jessica . You are near the end . Congratulations from CHILE .

    May 3, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
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