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. Ella

    These days if education at the secondary level doesn't reflect a university curriculum then US and World Teens are bored. I say throw all the books a them, leave no time for partying – we would all be better off.

    Kudos to Jessica for an amazing feat. And, congrats to the parents who raised her to be a confident and capable young woman. May she have a wonderful life full of good health!

    May 6, 2010 at 7:20 am | Report abuse |
  2. Genius

    As an American, I'm appalled that this record will be held by an Australian. How about we send ten thousand 10 year olds out on sabots for a round the world voyage? The laws of probability almost assure that one of them will make it around the world.

    May 6, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  3. Bloggs

    Sorry not a record. She didn't sail far enough. What a screw up. Read a good news website with the facts.

    May 6, 2010 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  4. Helena

    Bloggs,

    The record is still held by Australian Jesse Martin. Solo,non-stop,unassisted.

    That record even if it wasn't broken by Jessica Watson.

    The young girl Sailed around the world SOLO,NON-STOP and UNASSISTED.

    and that is all we need. She has done her dream and fulfilled it.

    that small 1000 miles Technicality would not dash her awesome achievement.

    May 6, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  5. J. Wood

    She may be the first to sail nonstop at that age but she is not the first to do it solo at that age. There was a kid named Robin something or other who sailed around the world solo waaaay back in either the late 60's or early 70's. He did do stops along the way but the journey was entirely solo. National geographic published a series or articles about his journeys.

    May 6, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Fred Pacheco Jr.

    "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

    Posted by: Mark in st. petersburg"

    Well said Mark!

    May 6, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jack Choueke

    I am a 67 year old male. Jessica is a 16 year old girl.
    And ... Jessica has done more, sailed further, been gutsier and more mature with extraordinary character (to sail solo you have to be) in less than one quarter my years than I have ever done or will do. .
    Chapeau, hats off and a deep bow to you Jessica
    Abrazos from Mexico Jack

    May 6, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lilystar

    Wow. I wish her VERY GOOD LUCK!!! I remember when ..... nvm u would just YELL at meh if i said that story...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................BYE THEN PPL!?! .................... .............................................. ............................................................................................. ................................... .............................................................................................................................. ......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

    May 6, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Carole

    Go Grrrl...we are thinking of you always and wish you a safe and remarkable return. The Force be with you.

    May 6, 2010 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. d.david.c

    In a time where kids are hooked on video games,or joining gangs it's nice to see someone as endeverous as she is

    May 7, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. BOB

    well it turns out she didnt break the record since she didnt travel above the equator for a long enough distance... damn record rules...

    May 7, 2010 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sophia Harrison

    i am into sailing and i am also a diy fiberglass sailing boat enthusiasts for 5 years now. i really love sailing.',;

    May 23, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bob Brink

    We have now seen what can happen when a 16-year-old tries to sail around the world. I refer, of course, to the California girl who had to be rescued. Considerable expense was involved in her search and rescue, but much worse than that, an accident occurred during the rescue attempt and nearly cost the life of one of the rescuers. So here we have this girl's parents, by allowing her to indulge in this foolhardy adventure, costing taxpayers money and forcing rescue operations by brave professionals who risk their lives so that these irresponsible parents can claim fame for their daughter's feat. We see this happen over and over - in mountain climbing, in extreme snow skiing, in traveling to dangerous countries. Rescuers are called in, and sometimes lose their lives; or relations between nations are jeopardized over imprisonment of Americans who had no business being there in the first place. The parents of this girl should be given a bill for the cost of the rescue operations, and the fellow who almost lost his life when he fell into the sea trying to reach her should be allowed to sue them for psychological trauma. Maybe persons contemplating these reckless adventures would then have second thoughts.

    June 27, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ellis Gibson

    i love to sail even if we do not have our own sailboat ;,*

    September 14, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  15. L-Lysine Dosage :

    i love to do both sailing and surfing at the same time, somehow i have this attraction to the sea*-"

    October 25, 2010 at 4:16 am | Report abuse |
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