This weekend Australian sailor Jessica Watson, 16, kissed her parents, friends and family goodbye in an emotional farewell as she set sail on an around the world adventure hoping to be the first female her age to complete the journey non-stop, un-assisted.
Un-assisted doesn’t mean with out all the bells and whistles of technology available to sailors today, including satellite navigation and tracking, communication, radio, weather and storm tracking, satellite phones and internet. It means alone, all alone in her boat to navigate across 38,000 km (22,000 nautical miles) of big blue for 240 days (8 months).
When was the last time you spent any length of time on your own?
A quest unimaginable to most, the emotions she will experience are only part of the biggest challenges she will face along the way as well as ever changing sea conditions as she makes her way around points of the globe including South America’s notorious Cape Horn and the tip of Africa.
Australian’s Jesse Martin, 17, the current male record holder and Don McIntyre have been acting as mentors but also warning her of the “real fear” and loneliness in which she is bound to face. McIntyre loaned her the boat she is sailing, now painted pink and named ‘Ella’s Pink Lady’.
It seems the real test is how she will handle scary situations that arise, the decisions she makes and how quickly she reacts. That is also the subject that sparked a debate around Australia and in the media about whether a young girl her age should be allowed to take on such a voyage.
She has already experienced some hardship while doing a trial run hitting a 60,000 ton tanker ship and breaking her mast in half.
With her parents 100% support behind her long awaited dream there was no stopping Jessica. It wouldn’t be an adventure with out the unknown!
You can follow Jessica Watson’s journey on her blog and website here:
www.ExplorerGirls.com / Courtney Crow
Courtney Crow is editor at www.ExplorerGirls.com, a global social networking site for women who travel for adventure and action sports.
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