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Jessica Watson's World Record Quest

published  First Published: 19/10/2009
Article written by: Jessica Watson
The Route & The Rules
My goal is to sail solo around the world non-stop, unassisted. I have chosen a route that is a traditionally recognised path and distance for Ďaround the world sailorsí.
As this is a Southern Hemisphere voyage the significant landmarks are the southern tips of the American and African continents, as well as some of the most challenging oceans a sailor will ever face. The entire journey is a mix of amazing experience and unique challenges.
There are a few key targets I must achieve to qualify for around the world status. The approximate distance is 23,000 nautical miles or 42,596  kilometres. I must depart and arrive from the same port, cross all lines of longitude, cross the equator entering into the Northern Hemisphere at least once and round the southern landmarks of South America and South Africa.
I have described the journey in parts to give you an idea of my path. You will be able to track me and Ellaís Pink Lady on this website via The Voyage icon on the Home page and also through my broadcast media partner ONE (Network Tenís 24/7 sports channel in Australia).
Part 1 Ė Departing Sydney and North to the Line Island
The general track is out of the Sydney Heads and towards northern New Zealand. I then turn left (north) and head towards Fiji and Samoa.
Once past Fiji and Samoa my course is northeast to the Line Islands. The Equator lays just South of Christmas Island. I round one of the islands in the Line Group that is north of the equator.
I am pleased to report this section of the voyage was negotiated successfully and it was an exciting time crossing the Equator!
Part 2 Ė South to Chile and Cape Horn
With the Line Islands behind me itís due south for a while. To make South America head a long way down south into the Southern Ocean before I can turn east. This area is well known as the roaring forties. Despite not being there for long I will probably be south of the 50th parallel to make the passage between Argentina and Antarctica.
The Everest of ocean sailing is rounding Cape Horn. Itís a famous landmark that is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago of southern Chile. It divides the South Pacific with the South Atlantic and is a significant milestone in the voyage.
All going well, we estimate the rounding will take place on or about 11 January, 2010.
Part 3 Ė Cape to Cape
Once around the base of South America itís due north for some calmer weather and a short rest. As the voyage is non-stop I wonít be pulling into port, so calmer seas and refuge behind land will feel like a holiday. The track will take me close to the Falkland Islands, most probably to the East.
Part 4 Ė The South Atlantic Ocean to the African continent
Rested and ready I move onto the next passage of unforgiving but rewarding ocean sailing. As the crow flies the southern points of South America and South Africa are about 3,500 nautical miles (6,400 klms) but my track is bound to be a lot more before I reach South Africa.
Part 5 Ė Rounding South Africa
The Cape of Good Hope is probably the most recognised landmark for southern Atlantic sailors. Itís not the southernmost point of Africa, but sailors that used to travel from the north used this Cape as the point where they could start heading more east.
Cape Agulhas is the most southern landmark and divides the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Despite all these capes and geography I wonít be very close to land, in fact I may not even see it. It is however another milestone and getting me much closer to home.
Part 6 Ė Southern Ocean to Home
From South Africa itís the vastness of the Southern Ocean. Despite the next continent being Australia there is a lot of sailing to be done. Over 4,000 nautical miles (direct track) of open and often unforgiving seas. Canít wait. You can have good and bad days in the Southern Ocean, but every one will be memorable.
Entering Australian waters will be a great feeling. Thousands of miles at sea and almost home. Given Australia is the largest island in the world it will take some time to get from Western Australia to my home port of Sydney.
South East Cape is Tasmaniaís most southern landmark. From here I head north to the mainland and on to Sydney Harbour. I know I will never be able to prepare myself for the feeling of returning home to family and friends. I am sure that this part of my voyage will feel like the longest.
I am enjoying the experience of everything the voyage has to offer. I hope youíll follow the blogs and the tracker to keep up.



Related Article: Jessica Watson sets sail for history


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