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Jessica Watson, 16, plans to leave next week on sailing voyage around the world

October 9, 2009 |  9:08 am

Jessica Watson sails her yacht Ella's Pink Lady past the Sydney Opera House during a media event earlier this week. Watson is attempting to become the youngest person to sail around the world alone and without stopping or receiving assistance.

Jessica Watson's sojourn around the world, in a 34-foot pink sailboat, will begin as early as next week from Sydney, Australia. 

"She’s a really cute little boat and I’m so proud of her, but she’s really tough as well,” the adventurer said this week during a news conference regarding her controversial odyssey.

Jessica, 16, intends to become the youngest person to solo-circumnavigate the world in a sailboat. She will sail above New Zealand and into the Pacific and up toward the equator, then back down toward Cape Horn, which she calls "the big Everest of sailing."

If she successfully rounds the treacherous Cape passage she'll continue a southerly course back to Sydney.

But it won't be as easy as that; she will will get blasted by gargantuan waves and fierce winds and will, on many occasions, look out of place aboard her soft-hued vessel.

“I’ve got an amazing amount of equipment – we’ve got all sorts of satellite communication equipment and navigation gear and Panasonic Toughbook computers, so I’m in good company," she said.

But Jessica, although she's a skilled and experienced sailor, also suffers from seasickness. On Tuesday, after a five-day sea trial, she posted this statement on her blog: "Since I stepped off Ella’s Pink Lady yesterday afternoon my head has been spinning and I’ve been doing a bit of stumbling into things! Getting my land legs again has taken a while. I can’t image what I’m going to be like after eight months at sea, rather than five days!"

It does not require much of an imagination to conclude it'll be an adventure she'll never forget.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: Jessica Watson sails her yacht Ella's Pink Lady past the Sydney Opera House during a media event earlier this week. Watson is attempting to become the youngest person to sail around the world alone and without stopping or receiving assistance. Photo by Sergio Dionisio/Getty Images

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