Over Before It Began

10 September 2009 By Janine Ketterer

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, 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 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. 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 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.