Over Before It Began

Sep 10th 09
By Janine Ketterer [Photo from Youngestround.com]

Jessica Watson was to be the youngest person to ever sail solo around the world. Unfortunately, her trip has been postponed following a collision in the early morning hours of Wednesday, August 9.

According to www.theage.com.au, Jessica’s 34-foot yacht, Ella’s Pink Lady, collided with a cargo ship somewhere between Mooloolaba, Queensland, and Sydney, New South Wales. Jessica was on a 10-day preliminary journey ahead of her solo around-the-world attempt, which was to start mid-September in Sydney.

Jessica’s website www.jessicawatson.com.au reports that she is indeed okay, she sustained no injuries and she “remains as committed as ever to commence her voyage as soon as her yacht can be repaired.” It also states that the accident occurred around 2 a.m. and initial damage assessments suggest that the rigging and a small part of the hull on Ella’s Pink Lady will need repair. The vessel is currently en route to Southport on the Gold Coast for a proper evaluation.

After the accident occurred, Jessica contacted her parents and emergency officials. Two investigators from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau arrived later in the day. TheAge.com.au reports, “Mike Squires, Acting Director of Surface Safety for the transport investigator, said that investigators will ask the young skipper about her skills, knowledge and qualifications to establish whether that was a factor.”

In a press conference with the media after the incident, Jessica said, “The biggest thing for me is I came through the whole thing feeling confident. I won’t play it down. It was a pretty scary incident and it was great to actually know what to do. Years of planning and learning and it was all just alright. When I called home, back at base, they all just jumped into action and it all just worked beautifully. We came out of it well, I suppose and we’ve just got to get back on track and ready to leave again.”

The site www.jessicawatson.com.au reports that Jessica’s friends, family and sponsors have rallied around the young skipper in order to help her fulfill her dream of being the youngest solo-sailor to circumnavigate the world.

Related Topics:

Blog: Could have seen this coming from miles away!   



Tags: Essentials Sailing News 



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4 Comments
  • What type of survival skills does she have? What will be her diet during the travels? Can she fish? What is the back up plan for food? Do tell?
    Posted by Chef Peter_1 13/09/2009 22:00:54

  • I am lucky enough to know Jessica & her family, if anyone here age can do this trip it is her, this is not just a whim, she has been planning & pushing to do this for years. The boat is currently being repaired here on the Gold Coast by various marine tradespeople at no charge. Jessica is keen to set sail for Sydney as soon as the boat is back together. I wish her well for her voyage.
    Posted by Mark_10 13/09/2009 08:28:53

  • This young lady sounds distressingly naive in her responses at the press conference. She clearly does not comprehend how close she was to losing her life and I have grace doubts over her ability to safely and successfully complete a short offshore passage alone, but a solo circumnavigation?! I don't think so. It is my hope the Aussies show some of the wisdom of the Dutch government and put the brakes on this silly but potentially deadly scheme.
    Posted by ablonde 12/09/2009 00:22:05

  • Look, I’m a parent and I firmly believe in encouraging children from a young age to set goals and work passionately to achieve them, but from the get-go I have questioned the sanity of this seemingly steady stream of parents who let children set off on global expeditions on their own.



    You know, hooray for teaching your kids the dicipline of sailing. I think every kid should learn to sail; it is a great achievement which develops all kinds of physical and mental skills, and something that will serve your kid over the course of their lifetime. It’s great. But a responsible parent (and any resonably experienced sailor) would teach their child to have a great deal more respect for just how dangerous and unpredictable an ocean passage can be and would certainly protect their child from wrecklessly undertaking a task purely for the sake of “bragging rights” which might very well end their young life.
    Posted by JakeG 10/09/2009 20:42:22

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