More sailing: Following Jessica Watson as she nears home

Posted By on April 28, 2010

jessicawatson In sticking with the sailing theme, the youngest non-stop solo circumnavigating sailor is nearing her starting point of Sydney, Australia. Jessica Watson, age sixteen (17 on May 18th), is in her country’s home waters and nearing Tasmania, but is experiencing rough conditions and large seas. Her spirits are good as seen on a Skype call and comments, but a quick read of her blog (snippet below) indicates just how challenging the southern oceans can be for her and her 34 foot boat.

Similarly, another young teenager Abby Sunderland (16 as of October 2009) from America is attempting to sail around as well – and yes as expected, there is concern over how young is too young to be sailing alone around the world … how about 13 years old attempting it?

And last night things sure got interesting. I put the drogue (a parachute like thing that you trail behind the boat to slow you down in really big seas) out to stop us losing too much ground and to stop us being knocked down. The wind gusted at 55 knots and the sea was (and still is!) a total, gigantic mess, with 8-12 meter swells. Although the wind is easing now, the sea’s still rising.

Riding out the weather with the drogue out was a lot like my first gale in Ella’s Pink Lady because of the new motion and all the new noises. It didn’t make for the most relaxing night as I played around with the bridle to try and get us sitting at the right angle to the waves. Then when I did put my head down for a bit of sleep we were knocked down again when the lashing came off the tiller and a big wave caught us on the side.

This time we went more than 90 degrees over, port (left) side down for a change. No damage again but this time my big bottle of dishwashing liquid worked its way out of the locker and went flying, empting its contents absolutely everywhere! The whole cabin including the key board I’m typing on is covered in sticky, slippery, bubbly lemon fresh washing up liquid -lovely. Mum reckons that I have some sort of obsession with cleaning! And I’m starting to wonder why I bother drying and tidying the cabin anymore, as it
never lasts.

jessicawatsonmap400427

Comments

  • As of May 3rd she has rounded Tasmania with heavy seas and 40 knot wind, but she is in high in spirits and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Quite the amazing 16 year old to be handing the physical and emotional rigor of sailing around the world singlehanded, let alone having the skills to do so. (not that I’m supportive of the younger and younger record seeking recent trend)

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.