Sport Innovation/Jessica Watson

Jessica Watson: The Youngest Person to Solo Circumnavigate the Globe


History of Solo Circumnavigation


On 24 April 1895, New England-born Captain Joshua Slocum was the first to complete a single-handed voyage of the world. Setting sail from Boston, Slocum travelled 74,000km before returning to Rhode Island on 27 June 1898 (Joshua Slocum Society International, 2009). Since Slocum, many others have challenged and succeeded his record.

Following the initiation of this WikiBook, the current record for youngest non-stop solo circumnavigation has been surpassed by 16 year old Dutch Laura Dekker on 21 January 2013. It was Dekker’s issues with the Dutch courts that led the governing body of around-the-world sailing, the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC)] to no longer recognise the “youngest” category, in an attempt to discourage ever-younger sailors from attempting such risky endeavours (Johnston, 2010).

Jessica Watson


Born 18 May 1993 on Australia's Gold Coast, Jessica Watson is known for becoming the youngest person to sail solo, unassisted and non-stop around the world (Jessica Watson, 2013). After leaving Sydney Harbour on 18 October 2009, Watson accomplished her circumnavigation on 15 May 2010, only three days before her 17th birthday. Her journey took 210 days and covered over 24,000 nautical miles (Jessica Watson, 2013).

Although Watson successfully completed her voyage, it was later announced that she did not satisfy International Sailing Federation’s WSSRC criteria for world record status as she failed to travel far enough North of the equator (McMahon, 2010).


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