Jessica Watson – Australian Hero

Posted on Sun 05/16/2010 by


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Jessica Watson speaks at the Reception following her arrival.

Imagine getting on board a small 30 foot yacht and going out for a sail for a few hours.

Imagine having to do that on your own for a few hours. No crew to help you. Just you.

Imagine then trying to sail that small yacht out of the quiet waters and into the open ocean, for a few hours, and also on your own.

Imagine sailing that yacht in the open seas for a hundred miles or so, still on your own.

Imagine then setting off to sail that small boat around the World. On your own.

Imagine now you are a 16 year old young girl thinking how you’d like to sail that small yacht around the World, and on your own.

Yesterday, at around 3 in the afternoon, Jessica Watson arrived back in Sydney Australia, after having sailed that small 30 foot yacht around the World, on her own, unassisted and non stop without stopping at any point in between.

16 years old.

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Jessica waves to the crowd from her yacht in Sydney Harbour.

How can you even imagine that?

It took her 7 months.

7 months.

A 16 year old girl, alone, in seas that would scare a seasoned ships Captain, and she did it on her own.

Prior to setting off everyone would have stopped thinking after that first line of this post. This was the single most ill advised thing that any youngster could even contemplate attempting.

She set off from Sydney in her tiny yacht ‘Ella’s Pink Lady’. She sailed to the North East, crossing the Equator, and then sailing South West. She took that tiny yacht around Cape Horn, the roughest most inhospitable seas on the Planet for large ships, let alone a tiny yacht. She then sailed North East again, then back down around the Southern tip of South Africa. Then she sailed across the Southern Latitudes in what is called the ‘Roaring Forties’ that area around 40 degrees Latitude South where the winds blow so strongly that early larger sailing ships used when sailing to Australia. She sailed around the Southern tip of Tasmania, and then bore North again to Sydney.

It all sounds so easy when you put it like that in just a few short lines.

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Jessica steering ‘Ella’s Pink Lady’ nearing Sydney Harbour.

The trip took Jessica 7 months, and she covered more than 20,000 nautical miles.

At times, she was in seas of 50 feet and more. Her boat was knocked flat seven times, rolled on its side so the mast was in the water. I cannot imagine being alone for a couple of days. She was on her own for seven months. She had a satellite computer link and she blogged all the time, and this is the link to her Blog site. She said there were times she was a little downhearted, but there was always something to do. She mentions nights seeing the vast array of stars and how at one time she was accompanied by a huge Blue Whale, and how a sea bird would sit on her boom on occasions, her one friend in the vast never ending Ocean.

Yesterday, she sailed into Sydney Harbour, greeted by thousands of boats sailing that last tiny stretch with her, with tens of thousands of people on the Harbour’s vantage points cheering her on. She arrived to a huge reception, and an even larger ceremony with the Prime Minister, and others, but the real hero was always young Jessica.

This is something that is almost impossible to comprehend.

Jessica may have sailed into the Harbour yesterday, but as surely as she did that, she sailed into Legend.

She becomes the youngest person in history to navigate round the World, solo, non stop, and unassisted. The record will not really be recognised because the Authority that keeps records like this has removed the title for the youngest person from their list of records. You could probably understand that because they would not want to encourage something like this.

However, that does not detract one tiny bit from what this wonderful young girl has achieved.

She is the youngest, and she is the first.

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Just a small part of the huge flotilla of boats that came out to meet Jessica as she approaches Sydney Heads with the Harbour Bridge in the distance.

At the official ceremony, she showed maturity way way beyond what we perceive as her tender years.

She shrugged off the hero status, instead saying that she just had a dream, and then went out and achieved that dream.

What now for Jessica.

She is famous beyond anyone’s wildest dream.

Jessica, well she just wants to do what all 16 year olds want to do. First thing is to get a drivers license. Then finish School.

Jessica Watson needs to achieve nothing more in the rest of her life other than what she sets for herself.

She has done something that one in almost half a billion people will never achieve.

To sail solo around the World.

A 16 year old girl sailed into history yesterday.

Jessica Watson, you are a true Australian Hero.