Saturday, May 15, 2010

Jessica Comes Home...

Aussie teen Jessica Watson sailed into Sydney and history this afternoon, ending her 7-month solo round-the-world voyage just three days before her 17th birthday. An estimated 100,000 lined the foreshore to welcome her home. Hundreds of boats were also on the water, flanking her yacht Ella's Pink Lady as it crossed the finish line at The Heads.
Watson began her 210-day trip amid controversy in October 2009. She had hoped to become the youngest person to ever sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world, but that’s unlikely after UK-based World Speed Sailing Racing Council said she had not sailed far enough north of the equator. It also said she would not be recognised as the youngest person to sail around the world… because it discontinued the category while she was out there! But Jess is unfazed: "If I haven't been sailing around the world, then it beats me what I've been doing out here all this time!"
Jessica sailed almost 23,000nm, crossing the equator twice and rounding Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope. Her efforts may see her financially secure for life: already promises and contracts worth an estimated A$1 million await. And that may be just the start: a documentary is in production, a book - True Spirit - is on the way, and the movie rights bidding is still to come.
The Oz public is split on her achievement. Some talkback callers objected to spending taxpayers' money escorting her through the harbour. Others think the adulation is obscene. Some say it's wrong to cheer reckless pursuit of a selfish end, because it might encourage other young people to risk their lives unnecessarily. Most Australians however love a winner.
Put your money on Jessica Watson to be the next 'Young Australian of the Year'! [Meantime, relive her entire journey on her website and blog.]


Richard said...

Coverage of her arrival was on the 3 FTA commercials at the same time - 7, 9 and Ten (via One HD).

What I didn't like was the invasion of cameras filming her with parents & friends in a house, from across the street! That was a disgusting show of disrespect by the slime of the industry.

It is otherwise an event everyone is talking about, and we are all mighty proud of her!

Philbee, said...

Spying from across the street?? Didn't see any of that in the Sky News coverage here in NZ. How intrusive...and unnecessary - given that she was completely open in the public eye for hours! I totally agree with your description of them...