View Full Version : Main Sail Tear delays Jessica's Sydney Arrival

PD Staff
05-14-2010, 06:20 PM


A tear in her main sail has slowed teenage adventure sailor Jessica Watson as she heads to Sydney Harbour.

Saturday, May 15, 2010 11:08am

LIVE from Sat 7am AEST: Jessica Watson

A tear in her main sail has slowed teenage adventure sailor Jessica Watson as she heads to Sydney Harbour.

The 16-year-old Queenslander had been due to sail through the Sydney Heads at around 11.30am (AEST), but now wasn't expected to enter Sydney Harbour until closer to 12.30pm.

PD Staff
05-14-2010, 09:12 PM


Jessica Watson has passed the finish line, completing her 210-day around the world adventure. (AAP: Dean Lewins)

Teen sailor Jessica Watson has finally achieved her dream.

After a 210-day journey of a lifetime, the 16-year-old from Queensland's Sunshine Coast has become the youngest person to sail around the world, solo, non-stop and unassisted.

Just two days shy of her 17th birthday, Watson has sailed her 10-metre yacht Ella's Pink Lady up Sydney Harbour, the same spot she left from almost seven months ago.

But this time, instead of bidding her farewell, thousands of people - some who were no doubt sceptical of the teen's endeavours - have lined the foreshore to welcome her home.

As she made her way up the world famous harbour, Watson was flanked by a flotilla and a crowd cheering loudly, waving banners with messages of support.

Her name also appeared in sky writing above the harbour.

Watson greeted the crowd from the deck of her boat as she prepared to head for the Opera House.

Doubts unfounded

Despite setbacks at the start and finish of her journey, Watson's around the world adventure has been relatively smooth sailing.

She faced calls to abandon the trip late last year after she collided with a bulk carrier off the south-east Queensland coast.

At that point, many questioned Watson's ability and maturity, and whether her parents were doing the right thing in letting their daughter go. Even the Queensland Premier was urged to stop her.

Despite the controversy, Watson, supported by her family and manager, remained determined to embark on the voyage.

Apart from encountering wild winds, large swells and several knockdowns - one where her mast was pushed 180 degrees into the water - Watson's journey from then on was with few major setbacks.

She crossed the Equator and rounded the notoriously tough Cape Horn, withstanding 40-knot winds and a four-metre swell.

Watson said it was a dream come true to pass Africa's cape.

"This week has just been a dream come true. It is exciting to be at the half way point, but we still have a long way to go, so it is business as usual again," she said.

But it was conditions closer to home that proved some of the toughest.

Sailing the Southern Ocean, from Cape Leeuwin and around Tasmania, Watson's yacht was knocked down several times while battling wild storms.

"The last few days have been a bit tough (yes that's an upgrade from the usual interesting!), with strong headwinds, messy seas, lots of lightning and a few high drama moments," Watson wrote on her blog.

"With this weather keeping me on my toes, there's no way I'm relaxing in the slightest."

Ready for land

As the 16-year-old neared the end of her voyage in April, she admitted the time at sea alone and the rough conditions were taking a toll.

"Even though the conditions weren't at all the worst we've been through, for some reason or another the uncomfortable motion and my damp bunk really got to me, making me pretty moody and a little homesick," she wrote on her blog.

"Normally I can pull myself out of a bad mood in a few hours tops, but this time I didn't have the energy and managed to be grouchy for a full few days, a voyage record!"

Despite being alone, Watson said she never felt lonely, but confessed she was certainly ready to come home.

"Australia's sure creeping up on us now," she wrote in another blog entry.

"I joke about wanting to do a second lap and wanting to do it all again straight away, but to be honest I think I am ready to come home now.

"Love it out here still but I think enough is enough."

The latest controversey surrounding Watson's journey unfolded earlier this month, when the website Sail-World published an article saying Watson would not have technically sailed "around the world".

It said Watson would be more than 2,000 nautical miles short of an official record.

Her manager Andrew Fraser said the concerns were ludicrous and that Watson was unfazed by the debate.

"Jess has ticked all those boxes, sailed under the four capes and crossed the equator twice, so in our opinion she will have sailed around the world non-stop, solo, unassisted and travelled almost 23,000 nautical miles in the process," he said.

"I don't think anybody can dent her campaign."

It seems Mr Fraser was right.

Today, Watson has proven her critics wrong; returned safe and sound from a once in a lifetime adventure; and done herself, family, friends and supporters proud.

05-14-2010, 11:09 PM
I watched her arrival on a video stream and the subsequent event on the "Pink Carpet."
Jessica Watson is one very cool, capable and determined young woman.
Definitely someone you want on your side.