Australian teenager Jessica Watson, who sailed solo around the world earlier this year, has been banned from a popular sailing race because of her age. Watson became the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe on her own when she returned to Sydney, Australia in May.
The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race is an annual event that routinely attracts a number of top sailors. In fact, the website says that they had 102 applications for this year’s race, which will get underway on December 26th at 12:30PM local time. The race has a strict age requirement however, and because of that rule, Jessica won’t be allowed to compete. Race officials have mandated that all competitors be at least 18 years of age at the start of the race, which means Watson will have to wait until next year.
According to this story from SyFy.com, Jessica had hoped to set sail in the 66th iteration of the race with a crew of other teens and young sailors, who would get to join in on her latest adventure, which is considerably shorter than her last one. The Sydney to Hobart sail usually takes about three days to complete, although it is through treacherous waters that have caused accidents in the past. Back in 1998 an accident claimed the lives of six men, which was the impetus for the age limitation to begin with.
It is a bit ironic that a young woman who sailed solo around the world isn’t allowed to compete in this race, but I applaud the race organizers for sticking to the rules and not allowing any exceptions. The race will still be there next year, and Jessica can enter than. I’m sure she’ll be accepted and give a good showing for herself.
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