16 year old girl sails around the world

An 16-year-old Australian schoolgirl bidding to become the youngest person to sail solo and unassisted around the world. She began her journey on Sunday.

Jessica Watson left Sydney Harbour on her bright pink yacht at about 9:00 am (2200 GMT Saturday), amid cheers from well-wishers and accompanied by a collection of kayakers and small boats.

"I can't believe we are finally here. Today, I am going to sail around the world," Jessica said in a statement on her website.

The teenager badly damaged her boat when she crashed into a 63,000-tonne cargo ship shortly after beginning a test run last month, prompting Queensland state officials to urge her to abandon the attempt.

But Watson, who will sleep in 20-minute naps during the eight-month non-stop sail, was determined to embark on the voyage which she said she had been dreaming about since she was about 11.

She and her family have insisted that she is experienced and capable. She is trying to beat a record set in August this year by British teen Mike Perham who completed the round-the-world journey aged 17.

"There are people out there who I suppose have their doubts, and rightly so because it's a big, scary and possibly dangerous thing, but I am not here without confidence," she said earlier this month.

Watson plans to travel north from Sydney to the equator above New Zealand, around South America's treacherous Cape Horn and back via the Southern Atlantic and the Cape of Good Hope, completing a 23,000 nautical mile (38,000km) sail.

In a similar controversy, authorities in Holland put 13-year-old Laura Dekker under state care for two months in August to stop her from setting off on a solo attempt.

Via - BBC News

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