Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Australian Teen Prepares for World Solo Sail Try

Jessica Watson, 16, expects to spend around 230 days alone at sea on her around-the-world voyage. Photo courtesy of www.youngestround.com.

Sydney. An Australian teenager on Tuesday kicked off preparations for her bid to become the youngest person to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world.

Jessica Watson, 16, left the northeastern Sunshine Coast region on a 10-day test run to Sydney ahead of her bid to sail around the world by April 2010.

After the test run, Watson, who has been sailing since she was eight years old, will make final preparations before setting off for the Tasman Sea in her pink 10.4-meter sloop when the weather is favorable.

“I plan on taking around 10 days to sail down to Sydney so that I get plenty of time on the water to test all the systems and give Ella’s Pink Lady a good run-in,” Watson wrote on her online trip log.

She will attempt to break the record set in 1999 by fellow Australian Jesse Martin, who took 327 days, 12 hours and 52 minutes to sail around the world from the southern city of Melbourne, aged 18.

Briton Mike Perham, 17, last month made an unsuccessful bid for Martin’s record, as problems with his boat’s rudder and other hitches forced him to pull into port three times.

He crossed the finish line after 156 days at sea, setting a new record for the youngest person to sail solo around the world with assistance.

Aged 17 years and 164 days, Perham was two months younger than Zac Sunderland, an American who briefly held the record after completing his 13-month voyage in July.

Watson’s bid comes after a Dutch court ruled 13-year-old Laura Dekkers could not set sail on a bid to break the same record and ordered she be placed in the temporary care of social services.

The court placed Dekkers under state care for two months, meaning her parents, who support her sailing plans, are stripped of the right to make decisions about her in that period.

Agence France-Presse
Source : http://thejakartaglobe.com/sports/australian-teen-prepares-for-world-solo-sail-try/328791

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