Please select your home edition
Edition
Barz Optics - Kids range

Australian sailing adventurer Jessica Watson – hard work is the key

by ADCO Etchells Australasian Winters media on 9 Jun 2012
Jessica Watson ADCO Etchells Australasian Winters 2012 h Mike Kenyon http://kenyonsportsphotos.com.au/
Jessica Watson, 2011 Young Australian of the Year and certainly Australia’s most famous sailing teenager made world headlines when she successfully sailed solo through the Southern Ocean and around the globe when still just 16.

She returned to a hero's welcome and a movie star existence in Australia where she is feted and adored by the Australian public - even those who don't sail.

This week she was at the ADCO Etchells Australasian Winter Championship speaking to sailors and sponsor and we took the opportunity to catch up with the busy 19 year old.


Jessica began by explaining ‘Last year as Young Australian of the Year, I saw a lot of Australia. We did schools tours all over the country and it was a pretty chock-a-block year.

‘The best bit is the people you get to meet. Spending time with people like Simon McKeon, the Australian of the Year, he is an amazing guy and sailor and does so much for the community. Meeting people like that in every state and all over the place and particularly the young people was really, really cool.

‘Spending time all around Australia you discover just how many interesting people are out there in lots of fields but in sailing too. There are little yacht clubs around Australia and I was recently in Launceston, Tasmanian with all the kids, Optimist sailors, a huge horde of them and that was incredible. To discover amazing clubs all around Australia has been really great.

‘In such an intense program you do learn a lot about yourself. I think the big thing I took away from it was that I love sailing and I love what I am doing now but I also realised that I loved working with schools and working with different organizations. That’s why I am doing a university course with youth work/social work areas in mind.

‘It’s all about taking on challenges. I have written a book and I still can’t spell to save my life, and dancing, I am un-coordinated as all hell and I still got, in a few weeks, up to some kind of speed. (reference to Jessica’s recent appearance in a reality television dancing show.)

‘It’s just the same message. You don’t have to be anyone special to do something in particular - you know just give it a shot. It is going to take hard work and that is a key, really, to everything in life.

‘In the same vein last year we set ourselves another challenge, which was the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

‘We did the full dry run to Hobart in advance, which was really, really worthwhile not just to tick off safety boxes, do a few sea miles and for the relevant qualifying but because we actually ended up with pretty much exactly the same conditions as in the race. It worked out to be ideal, which was purely a coincidence.

‘We did three months full time training and we sailed down to Hobart and spent a week there chatting to locals, sailing the Derwent river and things like that.



‘We ticked every box. There was a mixture of sailing skills on board and there were some very good sailors but we were all new to the boat and sailing with each other. It was just straight out hard yards – but that meant we placed well in the race.

‘When I was a little kid I wanted to be a ship’s captain but I decided it is better as a sport than as a full time occupation. This year I have taken a bit of a land change but it will be back to sailing soon I hope.

‘I have started Uni which is exciting. I am studying sociology, part time to fit it in, with the plan of heading into youth work and social work areas. Open Uni is so flexible and online makes it easier. There’s lots of reading and I am absolutely loving it.

‘I have sailed since I was eleven, so I did something ‘girly’ for once.

‘I have been doing Dancing with the Stars for the last few months, which has been quite an experience. It was completely out of my comfort zone. A high heeled challenge, which has been hard. It was just one of those things I wanted to give a go. The last few months have been extraordinarily busy, at least it was physical because otherwise I would not have had time for a single bit of exercise.

‘Now it is over, it’s the final week next week I am looking ahead and to the rest of the season of sailing.

‘I am looking forward to having weekends back so I can go out sailing. I haven’t been out on the water in a while and it has been driving me nuts.

‘As well as Hamilton Island Race Week, I am keen to sail at Airlie Beach Race Week this year and so will see what else comes up for a small (48kg) crew member.

‘This weekend though I’ll be watching the Etchells out the window while I am studying.’

Southern Spars - 100Naiad/Oracle SupplierPredictWind.com

Related Articles

Vendée Globe – Alan Roura takes twelfth place
Race rookie Roura’s elapsed time for the 27,700 mile course is 105 days, 20 hours 10 mins and 32 seconds. Roura’s finish reflects his exceptional drive and tenacity and belies the very tight budget which the young sailor ran his programme on.
Posted today at 9:16 am
Vendee Globe - From Conrad Colman this evening
I might not be going very fast but I'm certainly keeping busy here on Foresight Natural Energy. I might not be going very fast but I'm certainly keeping busy here on Foresight Natural Energy. Indeed, never have I worked so hard to go so slowly! The problem is that I am sailing upwind in light winds which is never a recipe for breathless speed and certainly not now! Going downwind on a slow boat, the wind pushes against the windward side of the sail
Posted today at 4:34 am
SCYA Midwinter Regatta - Sam Heck and Robert Marcus in action
Sam Heck and Merry Cheers decided that just having bought a new Farr 40 race boat, Viva La Vida, wasn’t quite enough. Sam Heck and Merry Cheers decided that just having bought a new Farr 40 race boat, Viva La Vida, wasn’t quite enough. They wanted to race it, right away. So they entered the 2017 SCYA Midwinter Regatta through Long Beach Yacht Club, which hosted their class, and won in the first racing sailboat that they have ever owned.
Posted today at 4:05 am
Overall winner crowned at Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in St. Petersburg
The first event of 2017 Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta wrapped in St. Petersburg on Sunday. The first event of the 2017 Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta wrapped in St. Petersburg on Sunday. After a weekend of close competition in the Lightning division, the class winner — Steve Hayden, 49, of Lake Mary, Fla. — was awarded the regatta’s overall prize.
Posted today at 2:41 am
The Bay Regatta 2017 wraps with a picture postcard final day
The fourth and final day of The Bay Regatta, Chang Beer Race Day, saw all fleet sail a short loop around islands The fourth and final day of The Bay Regatta, the Chang Beer Race Day, saw all the fleet sail a short loop around islands off Krabi’s Railay Beach before heading out for a straight shot back to the southern end of Koh Yao Yai with the racing boats doing a slightly longer course than the cruisers.
Posted on 19 Feb
RORC Caribbean 600 race kicks off tomorrow
The light air forecast is not good news for the Italian ocean racing trimaran which is designed for much stronger winds. Soldini’s men have been monitoring the weather situation closely after the formation of a low-pressure storm system far to the north of Antigua disrupted the normal strong trade wind conditions.
Posted on 19 Feb
Vendée Globe – Roura to finish Monday morning with Super Superbigou
Eleven skippers have already finished and eleven were forced to abandon their race. Seven solo racers were still at sea this Sunday afternoon. Eleven skippers have already finished and eleven were forced to abandon their race.
Posted on 19 Feb
Spectacular opening for the 2017 RORC Caribbean 600
The highly acclaimed Antigua Band 1761 took to the stage and lit the blue touch paper. Sailors enjoyed a traditional Caribbean welcome with the Panache Steel Orchestra opening the musical entertainment, complimentary drinks and fine Caribbean fayre.
Posted on 19 Feb
H.H NOOD Regatta - Local sailors make waves on Tampa Bay during Day 2
Michael Zonnenberg, of the Lightning division, is currently one of only two local skippers leading a class. With sailors from across the country and beyond in town for the annual Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta this weekend, stand-out local skippers were a highlight of Saturday's competition. Michael Zonnenberg, of the Lightning division, is currently one of only two local skippers leading a class.
Posted on 19 Feb
Krabi waters deliver a spectacular Day 3 of the Bay Regatta 2017
Opting for just two starts each day – monohulls / multihulls – has proven a successful strategy for 2017 The Bay Regatta Opting for just two starts each day – monohulls and multihulls – has proven a successful strategy for the 2017 The Bay Regatta, getting the boats off early and enjoying the good breeze and eye-candy that is the Andaman triangle of Phuket-Phang Nga-Krabi.
Posted on 18 Feb