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Jessica Watson's mainsail ripped in storm

by Sail-World Cruising on 15 Apr 2010
Jessica - bad storms have kept her sleepless SW
Jessica Watson's mainsail is reported ripped in several places as she has just endured the worst storm of her voyage so far.

She has been experiencing electrical storms recently, but the most recent was the worst. Reporting on her bad weather, Jessica had observed in her blog, 'Things got pretty interesting for a while last night, when what I thought was just a light passing squall, turned into a full on electrical storm, the worst I've seen at sea yet.

'Even though I could hardly see it through the icy cold sideways rain, the lightning was striking the water nearby much too close for my liking. The wind gusted pretty high too.'

But her sturdy little Sparksman & Stephens 34 withstood it all valiantly.

This was different, and she was around 250 miles south of Albany on the West Australian south coast when the latest storm hit. During the storm the conditions were up to 50 knot winds, with six metre swells and stinging rain - not the most pleasant conditions for sailors of any age.

Jessica observed: 'While I was having some serious fun (note sarcasm!) reefing in the cockpit (double clipped on of course!), down below, water was flooding in up through the sink because of the crazy angle we were on. Normally I shut the sink seacock when the weather’s a bit bouncy. But having thought that things were quietening down, I'd only just opened it again. The water flooded right through the galley then into the bilges. But Ella’s Pink Lady's pumps soon had it out again. I'm not particularly thrilled about my soggy mess of a galley.

'But far more annoyingly, before I managed to get enough of it down, the mainsail tore badly in two places. The wind didn't last long and when the weather improves a bit I've got a lot of stitching ahead of me.'

Previously her worst experience had been a knock-down in the Indian Ocean which was so severe it has warped her hard dodger.

The 16-year-old Sunshine Coast resident is aiming for the 2nd May to arrive in Sydney at the end of her solo circumnavigation, which will make her the youngest sailor to achieve such a feat.

As reported in the last story on Jessica, her PR company has already sold her exclusive story to the Rupert Murdoch Empire, thus garnering the best possible profit from her venture, but denying other mainstream news outlets from access to her, or her family.
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