World embraces our youngest solo sailor Jessica Watson - The Daily Telegraph

23-Oct-2009

By Amanda Lulham, The Daily Telegraph in Australia

SHE might be hundreds of miles from the Australian coast but teenage solo sailor Jessica Watson is still doing what most teenagers do - racking up a phone bill. Almost a week since she set sail on the round-the-world odyssey she has dreamed of for two long years, Jessica is finding life aboard her 34-footer smooth sailing with regular satellite phone calls to family and friends keeping her up with the latest news.  The teenager has so enjoyed her time at sea since last Sunday's departure she joked she may have to "do another lap" in Ella's Pink Lady when she completes her journey. Instead of the winds and wild seas she could have encountered, Jessica has been treated to almost benign conditions which have sometimes left her a little frustrated at the agonisingly slow start to her epic journey.

While she may not be getting much more than a gentle breeze, since her departure many of the public have become concerned about the safety of the 16-year-old and her ability to handle a journey fraught with danger.

But the naysayers have been drowned out by supporters, with Jessica's website bombarded with almost half a million hits a day and more than 1000 people from around the word emailing comments after her last blog.  Jessica has also gone from being a straight news story to a sport story, with the international sailing community following her journey along with non-sailors inspired and touched by her courage.

American Jim Long, who lost his son David, 18, to cancer last year, sent an email to the teenager he has never met telling her how proud he was of her.

"I am so proud of you for your bravery and determination you are living life to its fullest. My thoughts and David's spirit are with you," Mr Long wrote.

Back on board the yacht, Jessica said she was already in a set routine of eating, sleeping and working.

Monday's blog: Over the start line

AFTER a good night's sleep, breakfast and a last hot shower, I was off to sail around the world!  I can't describe how proud I felt with my brave family standing there with so many of the people who made this happen.  I'll admit I was a little emotional for a while there after all of the goodbyes but on the plus side I already feel like I'm settling.

Blues and pinks

FOR a while this afternoon we were completely becalmed again. I expected it would frustrate me, making so little progress, but I really enjoyed the chance just to take it easy and start on a book between tweaking the sails. It's been so long since I've had any time just to take it easy and the freedom was amazing.  It was pretty special this afternoon when the sea glassed right out � it was as if you could see right to the bottom apart from huge schools of jellyfish floating past. We even had a couple of dolphins say hi.

Tuesday: Moving!

TODAY was definitely a better day for progress with 13 knots of wind from the northeast pushing us. I was kept busy last night avoiding a bit of shipping and adjusting the Fleming wind vane when the wind dropped right out.  It was so quiet and flat I brought my pillow to the cockpit and had some cat naps under the stars.

It already feels like I'm into a routine, grabbing sleep through the night and in the morning when I can, logging and plotting my position, digging through food bags and calling in twice a day. I've been eating my way through all the last-minute sweets shoved aboard just before we left. Each time I think I've eaten them I find more.

Thursday: Into the Tasman and sleeping

IT'S possibly a little early to be reflecting but I can't believe how well the first week is going. I'd always expected that settling in would be one of the tough times for me but I'm in great spirits, keeping busy and enjoying simple things. We're well and truly out into the Tasman now, near Lord Howe Island, with Australia well behind us.

The sun's still shining and the water is an even more amazing blue but I've been finding sunset is my favourite time, when the whole world turns pink! This morning a school of dolphins passed by and the odd bird drops in to check us out. I think keeping the cabin tidy is going to be a never-ending battle.

Is it just me or does housework always take this long?  And then washing up. 

By Amanda Lulham  

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