Strong Spirit Sails the Seven Seas Solo at Sixteen
June 28, 2010
I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but I have realized lately that I am one of those people who are completely out-of-touch with most of what’s happening in the world. I don’t watch the news, I rarely read the news; in fact, I get most of my info from Yahoo! headlines or from what I hear around the library.
So, it’s quite remarkable that I got even the tail-end of this piece of news—that two teens in the last year have sailed around the world. And a third came pretty close. Alone! Woah!
Of course, I had to backtrack and find out all the details about these teens and their accomplishments. It’s even more incredible than it seems. Here’s the scoop.
First was Zac Sunderland. Zac is the oldest of 7 kids in the Sunderland family who live in California. Starting in April 2008, Zac set out to become the world’s youngest solo circumnavigator. He accomplished this goal 13 months later, at age 17, when he arrived home in July 2009. This year his sister, Abby, undertook the same goal. She started in January 2010 at the age of 16, but ran into a lot of problems including faulty autopilot equipment and severe storms that destroyed the mast of her boat, necessitating her rescue in early June.
Abby’s voyage has been the subject of a lot of gossip and much speculation about her and her parents’ motives. Her failure has been paraded across the news and blogs for the past several weeks. What has gone mostly unnoticed (or at least unsung in the United States) is the success of another teen, Jessica Watson from Australia.
Jessica took off from Sydney in October 2009 and returned in May 2010, 3 days before her seventeenth birthday. This made her 8 months younger than Zac was when he completed his trip. Jessica did this without seeing any people or stopping anywhere (she only communicated with others through her radio).
I am in total awe of this girl. Besides the obvious reason that I don’t know how to sail a boat, there is no way I could have done this. I don’t think I would have been brave enough or strong enough to accomplish something like that without any face-to-face interaction with other people. Plus, when I was sixteen, I could barely handle driving my truck half a mile to the high school where there were friends and food waiting for me. Jessica sailed her boat 21,600 nautical miles around the world with no company and did her own food preparation (in addition to everything else).
This proves to me yet again that teens are absolutely incredible and can do anything. Awesome!
Erin D.Tags: teens, travel, news