Jessica Watson became the youngest person to sail around the globe solo, nonstop and unassisted when she cruised into Sydney Harbour in her pink, 34-foot (10-meter) yacht to a rock star welcome of thousands. She successfully maneuvered her boat through raging storms, 40-foot (12-meter) waves and seven knockdowns during the 23,000 nautical mile journey that critics thought she wouldn’t survive.
After standing on land for the first time in 210 days, the teen said she’s eager to learn how to drive a car, to eat fresh fruit and salad after months of packaged meals, get a full night’s sleep instead of catnaps and shake off her sea legs with a long walk on the beach.
Watson, from Buderim, north of Brisbane in Queensland state, sailed out of Sydney on Oct. 18 despite protests by critics that she was too immature and inexperienced for the treacherous journey. Her parents maintained that she was well-prepared and noted she has been sailing since age 8.
I do wonder about her parents wisdom, but I am very happy she survived the trip without mishap and that she is home again.
Thank goodness sailing authorities no longer track who is the youngest person to do such things. As I recall, a 13 year old wanted to do it last year, and a Dutch court had to intervene to prevent it. The world doesn’t need younger and younger children trying to do this feat of endurance.