“I am not a hero, I am just an ordinary girl who had a dream”. Jessica Watson, sailing the Ella’s Pink Lady yacht, left Sydney in October 2009 for what many said she shouldn’t do. But she had a dream and she went for it. Today, thousands went to the Sydney Opera House and the Botanic Garden to see Jessica arriving back home. It was almost like an Australian Day celebration. Jessica deserved it. Congratulation, Jessica Watson, the Australian people is proud today!
The book and documentary Jessic Watson – True Spirit are out now.
Jessica Watson (born 18 May 1993 in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia) is an Australian sailor and resident of Buderim, Queensland. She is currently the youngest individual to sail non-stop and unassisted around the world.
The departure was from Sydney, Australia on 18 October 2009, headed eastbound over the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean.
At 1:53pm on 15 May 2010 (13:53:28 AEST) Watson crossed the finish line in Sydney Harbour, three days before her 17th birthday.
The Los Angeles Times reported Watson’s reason for her journey: “I wanted to challenge myself and achieve something to be proud of. And yes, I wanted to inspire people. I hated being judged by my appearance and other people’s expectations of what a ‘little girl’ was capable of. It’s no longer just my dream or voyage. Every milestone out here isn’t just my achievement, but an achievement for everyone who has put so much time and effort into helping getting me here.”
Watson is writing a book about her experience, expected to be called True Spirit and published by Hachette Publishing three months after completing her journey.
It takes immense courage for any person, let alone a 16-year-old, to tackle the sea single-handedly and succeed. Jessica Watson’s round-the-world solo sea voyage is especially impressive in light of the troubles she encountered at the outset of her journey, which had her doubters predicting her imminent demise. Their hearts would have to be made of stone if they were not moved by Saturday’s scenes in Sydney where a sea of supporters gathered to welcome Jessica home.
Anyone who has been following Jessica’s 22,200 nautical mile journey through the media would appreciate the level of commitment and drive required to realise such an ambitious dream. No doubt parents and teachers throughout the country will present Jessica as a role model to a generation of teenagers who are becoming increasing preoccupied with activities that do not require them to venture beyond the walls of their bedroom.
It has been over a decade since another ambitious Australian kid took to the sea in pursuit of his dream. And Just like Jessica, Jesse Martin set sail in the knowledge that if he maintained an eastwardly direction and a positive spirit he would eventually reach home, just as his female sea-faring counterpart managed to do.
No doubt the love for the sea and the challenges it presents drives young mariners of the likes of Jesse and Jessica to extremes. The sea also delivers dreams. As Jesse Martin explained in an interview soon after his successful sea voyage, the dreaming began when he sailed with his father from Cairns to Cape York at the age of 14. As he put it “that’s what sailing’s always been about – time to think and dream and adventure ”
Our teenage mariners may look to the sea to escape the banality of Australian suburban life. Others look to the sea to embrace it. There are, after all, those who look to our shores from afar and regard the sea as an escape from persecution, poverty and war. For these seafarers, the sea can deliver the suburban dream that our young adventurers turn their backs on – albeit for a few months.
The book and documentary Jessica Watson – True Spirit are out now.