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. Jay-z

    did she discover any new continents on they way ?

    May 3, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. sailor

    For anyone who hasn't done any blue water sailing, it is frequently a very unpleasant experience during bad conditions. Anybody sailing solo even across an ocean has done something incredible as the technology used in today's boats help to guide but that's it. Remember that a solo sailor has nobody at all to take over when the sailor is tired, hungry, ill or has to take a whiz or shower. Solo sailing is a major test of endurance and Ms. Watson has almost done it. Good for her.

    May 3, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dimitri

    watch out for those Box Jellyfish. God might not be able to protect her.

    May 3, 2010 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mom

    to Lu
    What a total pile of crap
    Maybe your teaching skills are slack
    My teen daughter is at a regatta as I type {just beat the Princeton boys team} made deans list and is an American Teen Miiss from Virginia and will compete at Nationals in Phiily this July
    Do you want to talk about the job she has and the community service scholarships she has received?
    Her peers are all just as accomplished.
    Take your myopic prejudices and go to Tasmania .......
    I thought not!
    I am a proud mom of a great American teen.

    May 3, 2010 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bill California

    Robiny Grahm left at age 16 and completed his journey at age 24 having had many stops along the way including if I'm not mistaken one where he found his wife! A very different journey.

    May 3, 2010 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. barbadine

    ok i am impressed as i have been sailing long distance in the south pacific or atlantic before but is she really alone, when she writes her comment she says "we.." meaning her & the boat or her and the boyriend; or could be a civilized pelicano who adapted the boat; anyway i am joking this is a good adventure

    May 3, 2010 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. c0re

    How the hell does she have her own yacht??

    May 3, 2010 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tony

    Ever hear of sponsors? Even an adult would need that kind of help for that kind of voyage. She had the ability to get it done before & during...wonderful!

    May 3, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. BigToe

    I would have been the youngest person to land on the moon if my parents had bought me a rocketship.

    May 3, 2010 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Marlon


    Once in a lifetime experience.

    I wish her all the best and to the idiotic detractors out there, once she lands.... your envious retarded hearts would stop.

    May 3, 2010 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. USA Sailing

    Congratulations Jessica!

    you were toppled over again and again by giant southern waves. All by yourself. while most of us was safely on land doing our everyday thing, you were out there on your own.

    Hurrah for the unbeatable human spirit and determination you have shown to the young of the world.

    May 3, 2010 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. gortmull

    Congratulations to this young lady! Amazing courage. Hope to read her book.

    May 3, 2010 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Herbert Vanderbilt.

    Greatest Inspiration to all!!!
    You get up again over and over.
    You never gave up.
    pure grit and determination.

    Best of luck

    H.V. Calif USA

    May 3, 2010 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dino M.

    Muy inspirador!
    mejor de suerte Jessica!

    Dino – Espana

    May 3, 2010 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. BaldEagle.

    Solo...... Non-stop.....Unassisted.

    Most people could not even do that on dry land!

    more power to this girl.

    May 3, 2010 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
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