Last week I noted that the Around The Americas crew was clearing Cape Horn on their attempt to circumnavigate North and South America, but it turns out they weren’t alone in sailing those treacherous waters. Jessica Watson, who is in the midst of her attempt to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world, has also recently cleared the Horn, and is currently facing storm waters off the Falklands.
The 16-year old Australian girl cleared the cape back on January 14th, and then proceeded on to the Falkland Islands as she heads out onto the open waters of the Atlantic. In her recent posts to her blog, she noted that winds have been light, but steady, for the most part, and she has been happy with her progress since rounding the southern most tip of South America, which required four very long days without much sleep.
Things got even more interesting over the weekend when a storm moved into the area, tossing Jessica and her ship, the Ella’s Pink Lady, around like a model. In fact, in her blog post from yesterday, the teenager says that her ship has experienced four “knockdowns”, which essentially means the winds and waves have knocked the boat on to it’s side, including one that she describes as “the mast being pushed 180 degrees in to the water.” Scary stuff!
The winds were so bad at one point that Jessica recorded them at 65 knots (roughly 75 mph!) That was before losing her wind instruments in one of the knockdowns. As a result of these conditions, Jessica battened down the hatches and stayed below decks, allowing her electric autopilot to keep her on course, downwind from the storm.
The post is quite the harrowing read and a bit of an insight into what it is like out there on the open waters. This girl has even more respect form me than she did before, as I’m sure I’d be limping into the nearest port, and booking the next plane ticket home. Jessica seems nonplussed by the activities though, and will continue on as planned.
In related new, Adventure World Magazine is reporting that Abby Sunderland has set sail on her attempt to sail solo around the world as well. Abby, who is also just 16 years old, set out on Saturday. You can read her thoughts and updates on her blog as well. Good lucky Abby!
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