Around the world sail: Slow teen progress

Posted: Apr 24, 2010 02:02 am EDT

Both Abby Sunderland and Jessica Watson are making slow progress these days. But Jessica is in for a big blow the coming week. Homecoming is never easy.

Jessica has been in her Australian home waters for nearly two weeks now, and the going towards the finishing line in Sydney has been very slow.

- So nothing too new or exciting to report just lots of flying along with the occasional patch of sunshine and life as normal on Ella's Pink Lady, Jessica writes on her pink blog.

- Something I'm not too thrilled about though is the forecast for the next week. It's not going to be the easy sailing that I asked for. Hopefully nothing too bad but not exactly a walk in the park stuff either. I had to give myself a good talking to after reading Bob's latest forecast. I'd been hoping that was the last of the nasty stuff. Oh well, I've only got to keep up the whole "pretending to be tough" thing for a little while longer, she continues.

Abby Sunderland is feeling the stress of long grey days alone one a big ocean with litle wind:

- This ocean seems to be taking awhile to cross. Every time I turn on the chart plotter it seems like I haven't moved!! When you're out here and waiting for something day after day after day, and it takes a lot longer then planned it's hard. But I'll be out of here eventually and be onto the next ocean! In the mean time I'll get some good work done on my book and get to read my three real books, over, and over, and over again.

She is in to her 91 day of her record attempt and has 2000 nautical miles to go to the next big waypoint: Cape Aghulas in South Africa.

Jessica Watson was born on 18 May 1993 on the Gold Coast and currently lives in Buderim Australia. On 19 October 2009 16-year old Jessica Watson set sail on from Sydney Harbour passing the official start line of her around the world journey at Sydney Heads at 9.49 am. It is a estimated 23,000 mile, 230 day solo voyage.

Jessicas goal is to sail solo around the world non-stop, unassisted. She says she has chosen a route that is a traditionally recognized path and distance for around the world sailors.

Part 1 Departing Sydney and North to the Line Island; Part 2 South to Chile and Cape Horn; Part 3 Cape to Cape; Part 4 The South Atlantic Ocean to the African continent; Part 5 Rounding South Africa; Part 6 Southern Ocean to Home.

Jessica stated on her website, There are a few key targets I must achieve to qualify for around the world status. The approximate distance is 23,000 nautical miles (about 38,000 kilometers). I must depart and arrive from the same port, cross all lines of longitude, cross the equator entering into the Northern Hemisphere at least once and round the southern landmarks of South America and South Africa. This route is very similar to the one chosen by Kay Cottee, who returned in 1988.

Ellas Pink Lady specs according to Jessicas website:
The S&S; (Sparkman and Stephens) 34, a classic design from the famous Sparkman & Stephens, it is known firstly for its seaworthiness, toughness and track record. It is a boat capable of consistent speeds and one that Jessica can easily handle.

The S&S; 34 became famous after Jon Sanders, David Dicks and Jesse Martin used them for their history making solo circumnavigations. There is now an S&S; 34 association and hundreds of other S&S; 34 have made and are making successful circumnavigations and offshore passages.

S&S; 34s are commonly entered in the notorious Sydney to Hobart and many participate in club racing all around Australia and the world.

American Abby Sunderland who was born on 16 October 1993 and also aims to do a solo circumnavigation as the youngest to do so.

Abby Sunderland left Marina Del Rey, California on January 23. After one week out on her single-handed circumnavigation mechanical problems had her heading in to Mexico. After a list of repairs was done, Abby left Cabo san Lucas in Mexico on February 6, officially starting her voyage again.

Abbys boat Wild Eyes is an Open 40 sailboat and a Scott Hollers Jutson design built in 2001 by ASA Yachts of Australia and went around the world as BTC Velocity in the 2002-'03 Around Alone, helmed by Bermuda sailor Alan Paris. The Open 40 was specifically designed for single-handed sailing in the Southern Ocean. She departed Cabo san Lucas in Mexico on February 6, 2010.

Both British Mike Perham and American Zac Sunderland sailed around the world assisted. They were 16 when they started their voyages. Zac turned 17 on November 29, 2008 and Mike turned 17 on March 16, 2009.

Mike stayed further out to sea, whereas Zac stayed closer to shore. Zac Sunderland departed on his yacht from Marina del Rey, California on 14 June 2008 and arrived back 13 months later on July 16, 2009. Mike Perham left from Portsmouths Gunwharf Quays on Saturday 15th November 2008 and crossed his finish line on 27 August 2009. He currently holds the record for the youngest sailor around the world, assisted.

A 14-year old Dutch girl, Laura Dekkers dream is to become the youngest to sail around the world, but in her home country authorities stopped her first attempt. But she now has permission to start when she is 15 years old. Her plan is to start her record attempt in September 2010.

17-year old Ryan Langley was born on July 4, 1992. He plans a non-stop circumnavigation with a Contessa 32'. According to the website the voyage will begin by heading westward from the Olympic Peninsula through the straights of Juan de Fuca to the open Pacific.


Image by Jessica Watson courtesy Jessica Watson, SOURCE