In 2010, Jessica Watson became the youngest person to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world. At just 16 years of age, this incredible feat of strength, resilience, and courage earned her the title of a true Australian icon.
Jessica Watson began her journey on October 18th, 2009 and returned exactly 210 days later on May 15th, 2010. During this time she faced everything from dangerous storms and unfavorable winds, to loneliness and physical exhaustion. Despite these obstacles, Jessica persevered and stayed focused on her goal.
A Netflix film based on her global circumnavigation is set to air on February 3rd, 2023.
She sailed back into Sydney Harbor after taking her boat out for a quick spin… around the world.
Many understandably marveled and admired her for her feat. However, she claimed that the most important skill came down to one’s mentality.
“Managing fear certainly isn’t easy, but what I’ve learnt is that skill or strength is secondary. Incredible feats are achieved in your head, and anyone has the ability to choose what goes on in their head,” she commented in online blog MammaMia in 2016
Given her family’s sailing history, it could be argued that she was destined for this journey. The second oldest of four children, she took on sailing lessons as a child along with her siblings. Later, the Watson family settled into a cabin cruiser that became their home for five years. She steadfastly took on life on the water. Starting from around 11 years old, Watson gained considerable sailing experience and earned valuable technical qualifications.
“It sounds crazy to someone that doesn’t know sailing and maybe hasn’t done all the research, but you have to know what the risk is before you can ask, ‘Am I actually comfortable with that?’” She commented in the Sydney Morning Herald. “All the preparation came back to ‘What are we doing about every single risk?’”
According to her blog, she claimed that they prepared “spares for everything, double ups for everything … the little things about the mounts on the engine which wouldn’t normally be looked at”.
It is apparent that the training and experience over the years armed her with the proper technical preparation.
Despite receiving heavy criticism for her ambitious plan due to her young age, she single-handedly proved that age doesn’t necessarily imply a limit on one’s capacity. When sole determination is calculatedly met with preparation, any dream can outpass the assumed limitations tied to one’s age.
“Incredible feats are achieved in your head”Andrea Paulina Ramírez, 31/01/2023