Sunday, May 16, 2010
There are technological advantages available to blue water sailors today, as compared to a couple of generations ago, but this is still an incredibly impressive feat, as AP reports:
A 16-year-old Australian who braved boat knockdowns and seven months of solitude on a sail around the world set foot on dry land outside the Sydney Opera House on Saturday and quickly set an earthier goal - getting her driver's license.Her website is here.
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 yacht to a rock-star welcome. She successfully maneuvered her boat through raging storms, 40-foot waves, and seven knockdowns during the 23,000-nautical-mile journey that critics thought she would not survive.
I'm a moderately experienced sailor, and would not even attempt to do what Jessica has done, partly because I would be concerned about my physical durability (at three times her age), and partly because sailing is recreational fun for me, not a risk-my-life activity. I am not sure that I would grant permission if I had a 16 year-old child who wanted to embark upon a similar trip. That said, it is gratifying to see that the risks she has taken have been rewarded, and that her journey is completed and she is home safely.
If anyone had told me before this afternoon that I would read seven months of a 16-year-old's blog entries--a teenager I have never known--I would not have believed it. However, that is how I have spent the last two hours.
And it was not wasted!
My admiration and best wishes to Jessica.
This is the kind of reckless ambition that youth is supposed to have. Good for her.
But I can't help but mention how different coverage and reaction would have been had she not made it... which is sad.