Sailed Solo, Non-Stop and Unassisted Around the World - Jessica Watson
Jessica Watson departed Sydney aiming to achieve her dream of sailing solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world.
She was then smashed by hurricane force winds and 50 foot plus waves in the Atlantic Ocean in one horrific storm. Her boat was knocked down 4 times. On the third occasion, the rogue wave (believed to be approx 90 foot or more) picked up Ella's Pink Lady and smashed her into the next wave, turning her upside down and 10 feet underwater. Jessica hung on for grim life during this 8 hour storm!
After 6 months, she entered Australian waters again. It was front page news across the country. With only 4 weeks to home, Jessica then suffered two weeks of horrible lightning storms and massive waves. Right in her own backyard in the Southern Ocean near Tasmania. The news of the storms spread and finally, the whole nation was willing Jessica home. She was so close, but yet so far, battling the turbulent weather.
As she rounded Tasmania, she made front page news again and the whole country now eagerly awaited her arrival into Sydney.
What greeted Jessica in Sydney Harbour on 15 May, 2010, was a sight that she will never forget for the rest of her life. Nor will anyone else who was there! After having not seen a person for 7 months and having viewed land in the distance on only three occasions during this time, Jessica was greeted by 1,600 support boats and over 100,000 adoring fans around the Harbour as she crossed the finish line, plus a national television audience in the millions, as every major network in Australia broadcast the final 4 hours of her voyage to watch history unfold.
As she docked at the Sydney Opera House, the country wept with pride. She walked up the pink welcome carpet, met the Prime Minister on stage and then delivered what many believe is one of the most simple, but brilliant and inspirational speeches of all time where she replied to the Prime Minister's summary of her as our newest Australian hero: "I would like to disagree with our Prime Minister. I do not consider myself a hero. I am just an ordinary person, who had a dream and worked hard at it. By sailing solo, non stop and unassisted around the world, I have proved that anything really is possible".
It was an extraordinary performance, considering she had not seen a person in 7 months. She had captured the hearts of not only Australians, but millions of supporters around the globe as they cheered on the 16 year old Aussie, who had overcome the adversity and odds to achieve what many thought impossible.
She was named Young Australian of the Year 2011 in January.
Jessica Watson - she is an inspiring story that ultimately proves that we all have the power to live our dreams - no matter how small or big they are!
Photo of Jessica Watson - Picture courtesy of News Ltd.
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