Sailor Jessica Watson to fall short of official round-the-world record | The Australian

DESPITE her heroics at sea, teenage solo sailor Jessica Watson is set to be denied formal recognition of being the youngest to circumnavigate the globe alone and unassisted.

As the 16-year-old entered the home stretch of her epic journey, battling heavy seas approaching Bass Strait, it was revealed yesterday she was too young and had not travelled far enough to seize the official world record.

Her managers, who are running a slick and potentially lucrative public relations campaign ahead of her expected arrival in Sydney Harbour on Sunday week, conceded that Watson would not meet the “technical” requirements.

Website blew the whistle when it detailed how she had failed to venture far enough into the northern hemisphere to wrest the solo-sailing record from Perth’s Jesse Martin, who clinched it in 1999 as an 18-year-old.

“She just jinked above the Equator in the middle of the Pacific and she actually needed to go up about another 1500km . . . to be in the same ballpark,” said editor Rob Kothe.

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A statement on Watson’s website insisted the World Sailing Speed Record Council would not, in any case, accept the achievements of sailors aged under 18 and the young Queenslander had never intended to seek recognition from the body.

“She has, however, always wanted to achieve her goal of sailing around the world non-stop, solo and unassisted before her 17th birthday and therefore be the youngest person in the world to have done so,” the post said.

Her manager, Andrew Fraser, told Melbourne radio 3AW that Watson and her family had been upfront from the start about the route and her ineligibility for the formal world record.

“Technically, Jesse Martin’s record will never be beaten,” Mr Fraser said.

Watson yesterday marked her 200th day at sea, during which she has braved some of the wildest weather imaginable and repeated knockdowns of her specially kitted-out yacht.

While her family and backers are milking the publicity for all it’s worth — to the extent of co-ordinating her arrival time in Sydney with media sponsors — yachties say her feat is genuine and deserves to be celebrated.

Record holder says Watson in for rough ride – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Record holder says Watson in for rough ride

The youngest person to sail around the world with assistance says Queensland teenager Jessica Watson still has a tough fight ahead of her as she nears the last leg of her voyage.

Watson is facing more wild weather this weekend after seeking refuge from rogue waves and gale-force winds near Tasmania earlier this week.

The 16-year-old is on the final leg of her record attempt and is expected to arrive in Sydney within two weeks.

She has had to battle raging seas and electrical storms since entering Australian waters earlier this month.

British teenager Mike Perham currently holds the world record as the youngest person to circumnavigate the world.

But Guinness World Records classified his record as assisted because he stopped to repair his boat at ports during the voyage last year.

He told 702 ABC Sydney that Watson still has a long way to go.

“She’s come an awful long way, but it is by no means a sure passage from where she is, under Tasmania up to Sydney,” he said.

“She won’t be taking any chances at the moment. She won’t have her foot fully down on the throttle.

“But she’ll be making the most of it because solo sailing is one of those things that has an incredible sense of freedom, and I reckon she’ll miss it when she gets back.”

Australian Jesse Martin currently holds the world record as the youngest person to circumnavigate the world, solo, non-stop and unassisted.

He completed the journey in 1999, aged 18.

Jessica Watson sails home – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting


First Cut: 16 year old Watson completes round the world voyage – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Last Updated: Saturday, May 15, 2010 | 1:27 AM ET Comments64Recommend71

The Associated Press

After seven months at sea, an Australian teen crossed the finish line of a round-the-world journey Saturday in her pink yacht, becoming the youngest sailor to circle the globe solo, nonstop and unassisted.

Thousands of spectators erupted into cheers as 16-year-old Jessica Watson sailed into Sydney Harbour, the finale to an epic adventure in which she battled 12-metre waves, homesickness and critics who said she’d never make it home alive.

“She said she’d sail around the world, and she has,” a tearful Julie Watson said as she watched her grinning daughter cruise past the finish line from a nearby boat. “She’s home.”ml

YouTube – Jessica Watson returns to Sydney, Australia after Sailing Solo around the World (1/2)

YouTube – Jessica Watson returns to Sydney, Australia after Sailing Solo around the World (2/2)

YouTube – Jessica Watson Video Diary – Day 5

October 22, 2009 — In her first video diary entry, Jessica Watson talks about the first week of her trip, calm waters, and adjusting to life on Ella’s Pink Lady

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YouTube – Jessica Watson’s Video Diary Day 127

February 21, 2010 — Jessica Watson talks about approaching the next milestone, the Cape of Good Hope, and getting excited about the Indian Ocean.

YouTube – Jessica Watson’s Video Diary – Day 154

March 22, 2010 — Already halfway across the Indian Ocean, Jessica talks about heading home.

YouTube – Jessica Watson almost home

May 14, 2010 — 16 year old Jessica Watson sails into the record books as she nears the finish line after seven months alone at sea.

YouTube – Jessica Watson in Sydney

May 14, 2010 — Jessica Watson, 16 year old Australian Sailor back home

YouTube – Solo-sailor Jessica Watson talks to Panasonic MD Steve Rust

October 13, 2009 — 16 year old Jessica Watson is setting out to set a new world record for the youngest ever person to sail solo, non-stop around the world. Panasonic Australia MD Steve Rust hops on board to interview Jessica about the amazing challenge she’s set herself and talks about which Panasonic equipment she’ll be using to help her along the way.

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