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Southern Spars

Now its an 18ft Skiff for Jessica Watson

by Frank Quealey on 1 Feb 2011
Jessica Watson rides an 18ft Skiff - preparing to launch. Photos: Frank Quealey and Ella Bache Frank Quealey © /Australian 18 Footers League http://www.18footers.com.au
The fantastic solo Round-the-World deeds of then 16-year-old Jessica Watson have been well documented. They have been subsequently rewarded by the Australian Government last week when she was awarded the honour of being declared ‘Young Australian of the Year’.

The following day, Jess took to the water again when she went for a ride on the ‘Ella Bache’ 18ft Skiff on Sydney Harbour and thoroughly impressed the skiff’s regular skipper Owen Vale.

Vale commented: 'Jessica was great. She showed no sign of anxiety or nerves at stepping on the 18 and we didn’t have to ask her twice whether she wanted to take the tiller. She is without doubt a very capable skipper'.

'Jess loved the sail. Once out on the skiff, she said it was just what she needed. Just to go for a sail on such a beautiful harbour and get away from the cameras and constant public attention'.

(We still managed to get the attached images as a record of her day on the 18).

Vale added: 'She is a special girl with high powers of motivation and determination. Confident, capable and ambitious, without any trace of arrogance. She also has a wicked sense of humour and I was impressed by her strong social and political awareness'.

Australian 18 Footers League representatives who met her on the day were equally impressed.

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