Jessica Watson - 60 days, 7000 miles and UP THE MAST
by Nancy Knudsen on 18 Dec 2009
This is the view of Jessica Watson's yacht Ella's Pink Lady, taken by Jessica when she climbed the mast this week to check the rigging.
Photo taken by Jessica Watson, while up the mast of Ella’s Pink Lady, 60 days and 7000 miles from home, just entering the ’Roaring Forties’ .. .
The photo was taken when she was passing the 60-days-at-sea mark (about 25% of the planned journey), having covered 7,000 miles since she left Sydney in her attempt to become the youngest sailor to circumnavigate the world non-stop and unassisted.
Officially now in the 'Roaring 40's', she has cold westerly winds forecast in the coming weeks, and has a little more than a month to go before she approaches Cape Horn.
The climbing of her 12 metre mast was done at this time to check the rigging before she enters the tougher conditions expected in the Southern Ocean. Jessica was pleased to note no obvious chafing during the check, for which she had worn suitable protective gear, including a hard hat (which she called 'dorky'). During the climb, Jessica also used her remote control device to alter the course of the yacht to bring her to a better angle of sail.
As noted by her spokesman on her website, 'Whilst this all may sound a simple task, climbing the mast is one of the most dangerous exercises a solo sailor can undertake, as there is nobody else out there to assist if something goes wrong. Several solo sailors have come unstuck in the past and experienced incidents whilst undertaking this important drill.
Suffice to say all of Jessica’s shore team were relieved to get the phone call from Jessica to confirm it all went well.
'Jess has trained hard at this task with Bruce for over a year, so we were all confident of her skills. But it was still a relief to hear from her once she had successfully completed it. Full credit also to David Lambourne who supplied and installed all the rigging. It has just given Jess and all of us so much extra confidence as she heads into the Southern Ocean,' said her mum Julie.
Jessica may have company around the Horn - Abby Sunderland is set to depart Los Angeles in a much faster yacht - an Open 40 - in the very near future.
Abby is a couple of months younger than Jessica and is after the same title. Both girls have attracted a lot of criticism and negative publicity during their preparations.
Jessica, in particular, gained the attention of the world-wide mainstream media when she collided with a cargo ship on her first night at sea in her new yacht.
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