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. jj

    I feel the greatest danger any of us face on a normal day is getting into a car. We let our 16yo's do that all the time – cell phones in hand! Jessica is likely safer on her voyage.
    It takes skill and determination, and a lot of luck. She could have become ill, hit a wayward shipping container, run into one of those 'weirdos' someone above mentioned... (I once read of a solo sailor who split his elbow. It got infected, and he had to operate on himself – via radio! The doctor speculated that this was a man accustomed to pain. He was an ex-KGB agent)
    Good for Jessica, and the adventurer in all of us.

    May 4, 2010 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  2. stephen

    GOD be with you baby girl be safe and watch out for pirets!

    May 4, 2010 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  3. Dunerider

    Thanks to Georgia Guy and Noztradamus for the explanations.

    May 4, 2010 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  4. Forist

    Stay safe Jess. God is watching over you.

    With all that has been said and done I see a movie in the making.

    May 4, 2010 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  5. john s

    The record isn't important or relevant, it's your achievement that is the fantastic thing. You will have gone round the World by yourself, unassisted. Magellan died doing it, Sir Francis Drake did it, but neither of them did it unassisted or non stop. And the sensory deprivation! Sorry Ella Bache. Don't you realise that this young lady has only seen pink and blue for the last six months? 🙂 I shall be in Sydney with my telephoto lens. Make sure you give me a smile, won't you?

    May 4, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  6. Randy

    Simply amazing, inspiring and incredible. A blond haired little lady, 16 years of age, conquering what many would never dare or dream of doing. I believe this act captures the streangth, drive, and ingenuity of the human spirit. Take lessons all you who are of previous generations. The generation that is coming and is hear does not know the meaning of "it can't be done". Beware all you rulers who are at your wits end concerning the issues of our day, a new brave generation is on the horizon and they will not fall prey to the antics of lawless power and greed.

    Way to go kid, I mean young lady, I mean mighty conqueror.

    May 4, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. elmer

    hey jess you go gerl and god bless

    May 4, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Vijay

    That is one courageous yound woman. Brava!

    May 4, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. slorgg

    Hey do you think Greece gives a crap about this daddy's girl with a yacht? You think the Americans in foreclosure give a crap? How about the MASSIVE SUFFERING in third world nations who are denied industry!? Think they care?

    With so many serious problems in this world.... why is it even valid news? Some super rich daddy's girl is going to do some stunt instead of putting resources behind an actual problem.

    Yeah do a stunt, make a movie, distract a bunch of well meaning people, make a ton of money that you don't need. I'll bet they give the extra money to some "aid" organization that is quite masterful at making the money go into their pockets. Money does not equal brains... that's for sure.

    Sorry but I don't give this BS any credit. We don't need any more record breakers unless you can break the record for arresting criminal bankers and politicians who are 2 minutes from midnight to total economic decimation.

    Don't like the truth? TOO BAD!

    May 4, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Noztradamus

    slorgg, you don't want the truth, you can't handle the truth

    1, The three groups you mentioned are in trouble because they borrowed money without considering how it was to be repaid.

    2. They might not care about Jessica's voyage, but take a poll in the sailing nations Britain, France, Australia (oh and we don't care about your Superbowl/World Series – horses for courses)

    3. "super rich daddy's girl " You are talking about a girl who washed dishes in restaurants to pay for airfare so she could serve as a volunteer crewman on boats taking environmental scientists to isolated Pacific/Southern Ocean islands – but you continue to protest, I'm sure that will solve the troubles of the world.

    May 4, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Greg

    To Slogg,

    You are one big Jealous DIMWIT!

    you are not even a fraction compared to the brave girl.

    you have no credibility to rant your obvious envy.

    To jessi, you go girl! show the world what a young brave girl can do with determination and goal.

    Greetings from Greece!

    May 4, 2010 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. from someplace

    ..., you are very crazy and much beautiful girl.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. sundar

    Been following Jess since day one! This kid has got stuff, she shows maturity far beyond her age and is going to excel in any field she chooses to enter.
    I am sure she has inspired a whole lot of people to go for their dreams.

    May 5, 2010 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  14. JOSE

    When I was 16 I was already in a Mexican jail. Does that count?

    May 5, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Michael ben David

    Unbelievable, and really a great achievement! May you be safe on the last leg,and may the winds full your sails speedily home.WELL DONE!

    May 5, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
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