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The 16 Year Olds Who Sailed Solo Around The World

The achievement of sailing around the world is a feat that requires incredible skill, determination, and endurance. It's a challenge that is usually...
Published on March 8, 2023

solo circumnavigation

The achievement of sailing around the world is a feat that requires incredible skill, determination, and endurance. It's a challenge that is usually reserved for experienced sailors with years of training and experience. However, there are a few exceptional individuals who have achieved this feat at a remarkable young age.

Jessica Watson

One of these young people is Jessica Watson. Jessica is an Australian sailor who gained international recognition in 2010. She became the youngest sailor to sail solo around the world at the age of 16. Her journey took her over 23,000 nautical miles and lasted for 210 days.

Born in Gold Coast, Australia in 1993, Jessica developed a love for sailing from a young age. She began sailing competitively at the age of eight and soon became one of the top sailors in her age group.

In 2009, Jessica announced her intention to sail solo around the world. Her plans were met with some skepticism and concern from the media and the sailing community. Against all advice, Jessica pursued her plans.

On October 18, 2009, Jessica set off on her journey from Sydney, Australia, aboard a 34-foot yacht named Ella's Pink Lady. Her journey was not without challenges - she faced rough seas, high winds, and equipment failures.

She had to cross Cape Horn, one of the most difficult notorious ares to sail across. At one point her boat was even struck by a huge 63,000-ton cargo ship. Despite these obstacles, Jessica persevered and continued on her journey.

On May 15, 2010, after 210 days at sea, Jessica returned to Sydney Harbor to a hero's welcome. Her achievement made her an international celebrity and a role model for young sailors around the world. She was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for her achievement. In 2011, she was also named the Young Australian of the Year.

Today, Jessica continues to sail and explore the world. She has become a sought-after motivational speaker and has written several books about her journey, including her autobiography, "True Spirit." In 2023, Netflix launched a movie about her story called "True Spirit". Her journey remains an inspiration to anyone who has ever dreamed of pushing themselves to their limits and achieving their goals.

Laura Dekker

Laura Dekker, a Dutch sailor, made history in 2012 when she broke Jessica Watson's record and became the youngest person to sail solo around the world. Dekker was born in 2015 and just 16 years old when she finished her journey across the ocean. Her journey took her 518 days and covered over 27,000 miles, and she faced numerous challenges along the way.

Laura had been sailing since she was just six years old and had always dreamed of sailing around the world. Both of her parents were passionate sailors and she spent the majority of her childhood on the water.

In 2009, at the age of 14, Laura announced her intention to sail solo around the world. Her plans of a solo circumnavigation faced much resistance from the Dutch government. They argued that she was too young to undertake such a dangerous journey. Just a few months before her 15th birthday, after a lengthy legal battle, she was finally granted permission to depart.

Laura set off on her journey from Gibraltar in August 2010, with a 38-foot sailing boat named Guppy. Her route took her across the Atlantic, through the Panama Canal, across the Pacific, and around the Cape of Good Hope before finally returning to St. Maarten in the Caribbean in January 2012.

During her journey, Laura faced numerous challenges, including extreme weather conditions, equipment failures, and loneliness. She had to navigate her way through some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. On top, she also had to deal with the danger of piracy in certain areas.

Despite these challenges, Laura remained determined and focused, and ultimately achieved her goal of circumnavigating the globe. Her journey inspired countless others to pursue their own dreams of sailing and adventure. She has become a role model for young sailors around the world.

Today, Laura continues to sail and explore the world. Her journey remains an inspiration to anyone who has ever dreamed of setting sail and discovering the world solo.

Are you interested to start your own sail journey and discover the secrets of the ocean? Come to Barcelona and register for our "Competent Crew Course".

Do you already have some experience, but do you want to enhance your sailing skills and knowledge? Discover our Day Skipper Courses!

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