Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad

50 solo days at sea and heading for the Antarctic - Jessica Watson

by Nancy Knudsen on 10 Dec 2009
Jessica’’s route so far - now for the Antarctic .. .
16-year-old Jessica Watson this week passed her 50th day at sea since her departure from Sydney in her attempt to become the youngest sailor to circumnavigate the world non-stop and unassisted.

Having crossed Doldrums and the equator twice, rounded the Island of Kiribati north of the equator, then plunged south between French Polynesia and the Cook Islands, she is now on about the same parallel as her home port of Mooloolaba in Queensland, and is heading for the Antarctic.

Unlike her predecessor and hero Jesse Martin, Jessica's telecommunications on the boat enable her to communicate with her Public Relations team and her Mum on a daily basis. She also has a lot of virtual company through the goodwill messages from the thousands of people who are now following her journey.

Jessica's journey was known only to Australian sailing enthusiasts before she hit a cargo ship on her first night at sea on her boat Ella's Pink Lady on a voyage from Mooloolaba to Sydney and launched a worldwide media frenzy. The resultant mainstream publicity has attracted an astonishingly large fan club of watchers.

In the meantime, her American counterpart, 16-year-old Abby Sunderland has reached Marina del Rey in her home port of Los Angeles with her new boat 'Wild Eyes' in which she will attempt her own non-stop unassisted circumnavigation in December. As Abby's boat is much faster than Jessica's, and she is a couple of months younger, it will be interesting to see the outcome in this undeclared battle to be the youngest.

The voyage of both girls has come under heavy criticism from many quarters, critics contending that 'youngest' records should not exist and the girls should apply themselves to their studies.

The World Speed Sailing Racing Council (WSSRC), who normally keeps a tally of sailing records, recorded Jesse Martin's voyage, but has thereafter refused to acknowledge a 'youngest' category.

In Holland, a third teenager, 14-year-old Laura Dekker was recently prevented from her own 2009 circumnavigation ambitions by a Dutch children's court who are insisting that she finish her school year before departing in 2010.

Laura Dekker's journey ambitions, however, cannot be compared to those of Abby Sunderland and Jessica Watson. Dekker grew up on a sailing boat, has already made a circumnavigation with her parents, and had no desire to complete the journey without stopping. Her ambition much more resembled Zac Sunderland's as a much relaxed cruising journey, stopping for sightseeing and repairs as she went.

Zac briefly became the youngest circumnavigator before British teen sailor Michael Perham, whose attempt to circumnavigate non-stop and unassisted came to nothing because of frequent necessary repairs to his boat, nevertheless completed his journey younger than Zac and currently holds an informal 'youngest' record.

Jessica and Abby will be approaching the most difficult part of their voyage - the rounding of Cape Horn, in the same southern summer of 2009/10, and are likely to be in radio contact.

Watch Sail-World Cruising for regular updates on the two voyages.

.................................
Letter from Reader:


> Sender: Ian reid
>
> Message: could you please tell me why she went so far north and then directly south,all those miles to gain little distance.
> regards, Ian
Hi Ian
Good question, and many others are wondering.
Round world racing started in the northern hemisphere, so all racers had to get to the southern hemisphere to sail non-stop round the world. Later, when racers began starting in the southern hemisphere, so that they couldn't have an advantage, the WSSRC (World Sailing Speed Record Council) introduced a rule that you had to cross the equator twice to make your record valid.

The WSSRC is not checking or validating Jessica's journey, but her PR company says that she wants to make it a 'quality' voyage, presumably so that she can been seen to have travelled as far as the liks of Abby Sunderland, who, travelling from California, will have to cross the equator twice. I agree it's all a bit artificial.
Cheers
Nancy Knudsen, Cruising Editor

.........................

Related Articles

Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted on 28 Apr
The Road to Rio now 99 days short
The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win. The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres, at some World championship events and Weymouth World Cup but for many crews: 'It's 106 miles to Chicago we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.' Whoops wrong movie.
Posted on 28 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
An interview with Jake Beattie about the 2016 Race to Alaska
In 2014, Jake Beattie and a few friends envisioned the Race to Alaska. Now, it’s time this wild race’s second edition. In 2014, Jake Beattie-the executive director of the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, Washington, and a few friends hatched the bold idea of a human-powered race to Ketchikan, Alaska, took flight. They decided that their human-powered race would start in Port Townsend, Washington and run to Ketchikan, by way of the inside passage between Vancouver Island and British Columbia.
Posted on 14 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
Go fast girls - 49er FX sailors Paris Henken and Helena Scutt
Paris Henken and Helena Scutt will be representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics, which will be their first Olympiad. American’s Paris Henken (20) and Helena Scutt (23) recently won a berth to represent the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the high-performance 49er FX skiff, a goal that the team has been working on for almost three years. While this is their first Games, writing them off as Olympic newbies would require ignoring their recent results and their strong teamwork.
Posted on 13 Apr
World Sailing Cup V3 - A Dead Rat in a Shoe or Spring Daffodils?
While a host of major sailing events go from strength to strength, the Sailing World Cup has very major issues. Last night my Irish better half was sitting beside me on the sofa watching an Australian version of the popular TV Cooking Program My Kitchen Rules on a tablet with her headphones while I was watching Diehard II for the seventeenth time (it’s a boy thing) on TV. She suddenly spluttered and laughed, took off her headphones and motioned for me to mute Diehard. (Seriously!!)
Posted on 9 Apr
Volvo Ocean Race appoints stadium racing pioneer as new CEO
Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Today his appointment has been confirmed.
Posted on 31 Mar
Large spectator fleet heading north for boat watching season
I’m absolutely not going to lay claim to the phrase, but it is insanely apt and hilarious all at the same time, however. I’m absolutely not going to lay claim to the phrase. It is insanely apt and hilarious, all at the same time, however. Well then, boat watching season is definitely upon us once more. The whales will soon be gathering again off the coast of Queensland to observe all manner of racing and cruising craft as they head North for a Winter in the sun.
Posted on 29 Mar
NaiadSouthern Spars - 100T Clewring - Generic