For those who are curious and to assist the many students who are researching Jessica for school projects, Jessica has answered her most commonly asked questions.
Q: What made you want to sail around the world?
A: I wanted to challenge people’s expectations of what they thought young people, particularly young girls, were capable of. I first got the idea when I was 11 and Mum read me a story about Jesse Martin who sailed around the world. Through his story, I realised that although he had achieved something amazing he was still human and that made me think, if he's a normal person and he can do that, what is it I can do...
Q: What was your favourite part of the voyage?
A: A few of my favourite memories were watching Albatross fly around the boat for hours, seeing huge pods of dolphins, and the time when the water was so still that it reflected the stars. The day I got home was also amazing!
Q: What was the biggest challenge of the voyage?
A: Before I set off on the voyage, I had a big setback when I ran into a massive container ship. It was a terrifying incident; the boat was badly damaged and understandably there was a lot of criticism of what I was attempting to do. But in hindsight, I’d glad the accident did happen; it made me stronger and I learnt a lot from it. During the voyage itself there were scary days when the boat was rolled upside-down by huge waves, and there were also frustrating periods when I was becalmed with no wind.
Q: What sort of food did you eat?
A: The food I took with me was a mixture of freeze-dried food (like astronauts eat), tinned food, powdered eggs, dried fruit, tinned vegetables and I use to make my own bread and sometimes cupcakes.
Q: Are you planning to do it again?
A: I do plan to, but next time I will take friends and stop at some of the amazing places along the way.
Q: Who helped you sail around the world?
A: There was a huge team of amazing people who were absolutely instrumental to the successful voyage. Experienced sailors and adventurers provided advice, volunteers helped to prepare the boat, and sponsors provided equipment and funding to make the voyage safe. I will always be incredibly grateful to everyone who helped and consider it to be as much their achievement as it was mine.
Q: Why did you parents let you go?
A: I believe Mum and Dad were very brave for letting me go. But they only let me go because they knew how much careful preparation went into the voyage and because I’d proven myself during smaller adventures. While they supported me, I’m sure they would have preferred that I chose to do something else!
Q: What have you learnt from the voyage?
A: Far too much to share in just a few sentences! But a few of my key learnings are that careful preparation and risk management are critical, as is having experienced supporters. I’ve learnt that anyone can choose to manage their fears and develop the resilience to overcome setbacks and reach the smaller millstones that enable you to achieve big, audacious goals.
Q: What are you doing now?
A: I love to find new ways to challenge myself and the years since the voyage have been very busy. I skippered a youth crew in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart yacht race. I’ve enjoyed spending time travelling and working with lots of amazing charities. I finished a degree and am now almost finished my masters. These days I’m a partner in a marine start-up business, I’m a youth representative for the UN’s World Food Programme and I’ve been working on a middle-grade novel that’s scheduled to be published in early 2018. You can see some of the other projects I’ve worked on recently here.