Saturday, May 15, 2010

Congratulations to Jessica Watson

Jessica Watson age 16 of Australia, has completed a solo, non-stop circumnavigation of the globe in a 34 foot sloop. Congratulations Jessica!!

On several occasions I have completed sailing races and return voyages from the US East Coast to Bermuda or along the East Coast of North America from Annapolis to Newport and also from Marblehead to Halifax. These voyages were on boats of 36 to 50 feet in length, with crews of 6 - 12 people and typically lasted 4 - 7 days. The idea of a 16 year old girl sailing the entire globe alone is almost incomprehensible. But she DID it. There is probably no limit to what this young woman can accomplish.

There is a bit of controversy in sailing community about recognizing her, or not, as the youngest person ever to complete this voyage. The quibbling over the distance sailed and whether she ever went far enough North of the equator is silly. But the sports bodies that recognize such feats have stopped recognizing a category of the "youngest" to complete the circumnavigation so as not to encourage ever younger children to attempt this. I agree with their decision on this point. VERY few 16 years olds are mature enough for something like this. I'd hate to read of a 13 or 14 year old lost at sea trying this just to win such a title, when the same youngster might well be prepared for it at 17 or 18.

But for Jessica, nothing but kudos. Remarkable.

1 comment:

  1. ...and I'm afraid to let my 15 year old ride her bike on the street.

    That is an amazing story.