Friday, December 31, 2010

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.

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 (10-meter) yacht to a rock star welcome of thousands. She successfully maneuvered her boat through raging storms, 40-foot (12-meter) waves and seven knockdowns during the 23,000 nautical mile journey that critics thought she wouldn't survive.

Watson sailed northeast through the South Pacific and across the equator, south to Cape Horn at the tip of South America, across the Atlantic Ocean to South Africa, through the Indian Ocean and around southern Australia.


After standing on land for the first time in 210 days, the teen said she's eager to learn how to drive a car, to eat fresh fruit and salad after months of packaged meals, get a full night's sleep instead of catnaps and shake off her sea legs with a long walk on the beach.

"You will pass your driving test with flying colors," Prime Minister Kevin Rudd assured Watson, who laughed along with a crowd of thousands, many wearing pink or waving pink flags in honor of her yacht, Ella's Pink Lady.


Watson, from Buderim, north of Brisbane in Queensland state, sailed out of Sydney on Oct. 18 despite protests by critics that she was too young and inexperienced for the treacherous journey. Her parents maintained that she was well-prepared and noted she has been sailing since age 8.

Earlier, the youngest participant of around the world was considered a 17-year-old Briton Mike Perham. Meanwhile, the record in a single nonstop solo circumnavigation belonged to Australian Jesse Martin, who made the voyage at the age of 18 in 1999. The Watson’s voyage, however, will not be recognized officially as a record in any case in order to discourage ambitious parents pushing younger children off to sea. For details read Yahoo News article.



















































































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