Sunday, January 10, 2010


IN A WORLD OF STEVIE, OCTO-MOM AND THE BALLOON BOY, Jessica Watson is delightfully refreshing. She's an adventurous sixteen year-old who is sailing round the world solo, to set a record for the youngest to do so.

Roger Sandall is a Sydney writer, with a perspective on her attempt, following the efforts of Joshua Slocum, 1844–1909, who was the first to circumnavigate solo. Even today, with GPS, and better boats, it's still no walk in the park.

Jessica’s plainly a nice kid and having a great time — but is she well-advised? When New Zealand-born mum Julie said on television that sailing around Cape Horn was no more dangerous than crossing the street (or did she say that crossing the street was more dangerous?) you began to wonder. Is there something in the water? Or is it just the Antipodal Mind?

Then there’s Sir Francis Chichester. Both a solo flier in the 1930s and a solo round-the-world sailor in 1966-67, he wrote that the thought of Cape Horn “not only frightened me, but I think it would be fair to say that it terrified me. The accounts of the storms there are, quite simply, terrifying… I told myself for a long time that anyone who tried to round the Horn in a small yacht must be crazy. Of the eight yachts I knew to have attempted it, (this was back in 1966, RS) six had been capsized or somersaulted, before, during, or after the passage…”

Not a picnic. Not like crossing the road.

Jessica has her own blog, and thanks to satellites, keeps us posted:

Thursday, January 7, 2010
Closing on the Cape
Thanks for being patient waiting for the next blog. My great shore team will always post an update when I don't have the time to.

The wind hit 40 knots again on Tuesday which kept life interesting and a little bouncy. Since then it's steadily dropped off to my current 8 knots today, which is really only just enough to keep us moving, slowly!

In typical Southern Ocean style, the visibility hasn't been great with almost constant light, misty drizzle and not the slightest hint of a clear sky. But no complaints from me. Like I've said before, in its own way it's just as pretty as sunshine and blue water. Looking at it another way, you could always say that at least the low visibility means that you can see very little of the bad weather!

The good news is that I was able to fix the little problem with the mainsheet block easily. But the bad news is that despite spending yesterday morning trying to fix the heater, it still won't play nice! Oh well, on the scale of things the heater not working really isn't much of a problem, just one of those optional extras.

I'm really starting to get pretty excited about Cape Horn as we're getting so close now, with just over 500nm to go!

That's going to have to be it from me today as my fingers as are pretty keen to slip back into some nice warm gloves!

You go, girl!

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