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. Shawn

    your so cool, good luck to you.

    May 4, 2010 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. Shawn

    WHEN YOU DO GET AROUND CANADA, don't know if you have already gone there yet. Just letting you know it's the best country on the planet, make sure you take alot of pictures especially BRITISH COLOMBIA COAST.

    May 4, 2010 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
  3. FrankRicard

    She's not by herself. So, while still a great feat, enough with the media inaccuracies.

    May 4, 2010 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
  4. Now and later

    Okay, so how on earth does someone get enough money to take a sailing vacation across the world? I want to know that trick.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
  5. Dunerider

    “We passed well clear of land..."

    Who is the WE? There's not "we" in "solo."

    May 4, 2010 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mark in st. petersburg

    To the "vacation" comment: You clearly have no idea what she has accomplished.
    To the "she's on 16" people: Not all people are equal and certainly not all 16 year olds are equal. We make rules based on age because it would be impossible to enforce rules on the basis of individual capability. She probably has better decision making skills than most adults in our country. 18 is not a magic age, the difference between this girl and most 18 year olds is as big as the world (and you can guess in whose favor) We have 18 year olds in theaters of war making heroic life or death decisions and people here are worried about one 16 Y.O. risking only her own life?
    BTW, the person defending teens in the U.S. wasn't comparing them to this girl. She was comparing them to the absolutely dismal description heaped upon teens in general in this country. She was merely noting that MANY teens in this country are very capable and active in our society. As bad as it is its hardly a total loss. I noticed the person shooting down the woman supporting her daughter and other teens ignored the girls other qualities and focused on the pageant aspect. That is a concious attempt to minimize her accomplishments to enable her to be derisive. She did not even bother to figure out what the other woman was responding to. Doesn't say much for our adults in this country

    May 4, 2010 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  7. Dr Bill Toth

    Way cool! Gives new meaning to "It's 10 oclock – do you know where your daughter is?

    Live With Intention,

    May 4, 2010 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  8. Andres

    You Rock Jess!!! Ecuador loves you! We wish you the best of the best!

    May 4, 2010 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  9. Toronto GIrl

    OMG, when I was 16 I was still very naive and a bookworm.. kudos to her! I wish I had her wit to do this amazing journey in my lifetime (which I wouldn't cause the vast ocean scares the heck out of me). I love her!

    May 4, 2010 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  10. Neehaw

    I could see there are still detractors here. and quite dumb ones as well.

    i'm pretty sure these dumb detractors wouldn't stand half a day by themselves in the middle of the ocean at night.

    Congratulations Jessica. you are an inspiration here in China.

    May 4, 2010 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  11. Chris --Bangkok

    Yes...quite a feat! I'm an Aussie and we're all very proud of her....her parents are fantastic people and helped realise her dream

    May 4, 2010 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  12. Georgia Guy

    To Dunerider

    Throughout the voyage, Jessica has used the term "WE" referring to herself and her boat which is named Ella's Pink Lady.

    BTW, for the benefit "T" and "Now and Later" Jessica's parents are not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination. The boat was loaned, not given, to her and she had numerous corporate sponsors to provide the financial backing.

    If you go to her website, you can see the backers of the effort.

    Just wanted to clear this up.

    May 4, 2010 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jay

    Congratulations Jessica!

    Don't let the negativity or cynicism of anyone bring you down. You've accomplished great things and those that would try to discredit or discount your efforts come from those jaded and disappointed with their own lives who never had the courage to pursue their dreams. Sadly, these people merely exist rather than truly live.


    May 4, 2010 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  14. Hope Brown

    YAHOOOOOO!!!! to the HUMAN SPIRIT!!!! Sail on Jessica.....

    May 4, 2010 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  15. Noztradamus

    Who is the WE? There's not "we" in "solo."

    Dunerider, a solo sailor at sea for 7 months will tend to bond with their boat.

    In Jessica's case this happened much earlier, about 10 minutes after she was alone on the delivery voyage to the refit yard.

    From her blog May 20, 2009 Boat Licence and fun in the rain
    "...I set off again in the morning ,this time by myself.
    It was amazing to finally be on alone even though we had to again motor. As the autopilot stubbornly refused to steer the boat in a straight line I had my hands full particularly when we reached a shallow part of the channel, a rain squall came through and a local radio station rang to do a phone interview, multi tasking! "

    May 4, 2010 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
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