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. paul dunbar

    RICH commented:
    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!
    REALLY?? does anyone really truely understand the difficulty or almost impossibilty of anyone doing this never mind a 16 year old girl?????????????

    May 3, 2010 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. paul dunbar

    attention of MUM
    I did not read what lou said that you were incenced over however I dont htink the fact your daughters trying to be a beauty queen really is the same measure as a person sailing around the world and solo at that??

    May 3, 2010 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Galong

    Incredibly irresponsible of the parents to let this child risk her life, so they can get media coverage. I am all for adventure, in fact, that's how I make my living, but a 16 year-old child is not capable of making decisions in life-threatening situations... unless she's lucky.

    If she died, the parents should be held legally responsible for her death. This is not something that should be copied.

    May 3, 2010 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Navyboy

    This girl will have a very adventurous life ahead of her.
    Outstanding job.

    May 3, 2010 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Masha

    What an amazing girl! I wish you best of luck! Your fan from Mongolia!

    May 3, 2010 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. smiley

    hey its really amaizing, we have to salute for her brave
    plz keep it up, good luck for you

    May 4, 2010 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
  7. MeinLV

    I think she did it just to get away from her parents so she could drink. After her alcohol was running low, she picked up some rum from the pirates off Somalia. So it 'technically' wasn't unsupported. Now that's a REAL booze cruise...

    May 4, 2010 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
  8. grayguru

    This is an incredible odyssey for a sixteen year old girl. A thirty-four foot yacht is a two person job to sail. In heavy seas, she would have to heave to with no backup to help her set a drone or sea anchor. She has to be skilled in advanced seamanship along with costal and ocean navigation. She has accomplished what most adult sailors would not consider. Congratulations, Jessica!

    May 4, 2010 at 2:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. dave

    good for her. looks like she is going to make it. i agree, not sure i would let MY 16 year old daughter set sail on the ocean blue, but then again, i am sure her parents would have stepped in had they felt she was not ready for the challenge.

    now when she gets back, maybe they will take her to see a DENTIST. she looks like she is lacking serious Vitamin 'C'

    May 4, 2010 at 3:28 am | Report abuse |
  10. nony

    wow! she is such a great fella to achieve such an adventure at her teen, she is beautiful and i wish her best of luck

    May 4, 2010 at 3:54 am | Report abuse |
  11. Mike H

    Have we lost our minds? We don't allow 16 year olds to purchase cigarettes, much less smoke them.... We don't allow 16 year olds to drink, vote, view "R" movies, stay out past curfews...yet we're okay with a 16 year old sailing around the world alone?

    While many of you are applauding this "feat" I'm somewhat confused by the inconsistencies in our judgment of teenagers.

    May 4, 2010 at 4:56 am | Report abuse |
  12. Genrih

    Interestingly enough, I could see myself doing something like that at 16, and far less likely now, at twice that.

    May 4, 2010 at 5:07 am | Report abuse |
  13. Russ

    Bravo. This young lady is an inspiration. Beyond brave with true grit. And please don't ask if I would let my daughter do it.

    May 4, 2010 at 6:06 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ron

    What do you expect,She's Australian,we never say die.
    (I could say that she is true-blue dinky-di australian,but most people outside of australia probably wouldnt understand the reference)

    You go girl!!!

    May 4, 2010 at 6:49 am | Report abuse |
  15. Mina

    It is wonderful that she is doing this and I think it shows of her confidence and perseverance to take on such a great endeavor. However I believe there are so many things in the world that can be done that can address the humanity's need for development and that can contribute to the betterment of the world. We see so many problems around the world, such as starvation, illiteracy, and etc. It would be good for our youth to learn to focus their efforts and energies on such endeavors because along the way, not only they will gain confidence, knowledge but they have also been able to serve their fellow men.

    May 4, 2010 at 7:07 am | Report abuse |
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