Off Beat Stories

Oct 18, 2009 9:11 AM by Associated Press

Australian teen sailor starts round-the-world bid

A 16 year-old Australian girl has begun her bid to become the youngest person to sail solo and unassisted around the world.

Jessica Watson sailed her pink 34-foot yacht out of Sydney Harbor Sunday under gray skies and slightly choppy conditions. The trip is expected to take about eight months.

The teen's plan to make a 23,600-mile journey through some of the world's most treacherous waters has sparked a debate in Australia about whether someone so young should be allowed to try
such a potentially dangerous feat.

She and her family insist she's an experienced and capable sailor who has studied navigation, electronics and maritime safety procedures. And, although she's sailing solo and unassisted, she'll
be in constant contact with a support team via radio, e-mail and a blog.




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