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Teenage sailor Jessica Watson reaches final leg of her nonstop solo-circumnavigation

May 4, 2010 |  8:48 am

JW 24 April 1 After a week of rough seas and large swells, global sailor Jessica Watson has rounded the southeast cape of Tasmania and is now heading north to Sydney, Australia, on the final leg of her quest to solo-circumnavigate the globe.

With 22,000 of the 23,000 nautical miles under her belt, the 16-year old Australian is expected to complete her voyage in the next couple of weeks, becoming the youngest to sail around the world, alone and unassisted, without stopping.

Here's one of Watson's latest posts on her blog:

Good news. Ella's Pink Lady and I have made it around the South East Cape of Tasmania and we're now headed north on the final leg to Sydney!

We passed well clear of land, in the dark and with not the nicest conditions. But I still got a big kick out of it. 

I never expected rounding Tasmania to be much of a big deal, but all of last week's struggles made finally getting around the cape 10 times sweeter. (Insiders tip, jumping up and down in a 5 metre swell isn't a good idea. ouch!) There's no letting the guard down yet, but it's great to be back in to more familiar waters.

I'm also thrilled to be headed north into warmer temperatures again. OK, so it's not really that cold down here. mostly I'm just complaining. But with a bit of water on your hands, this wind only takes a few minutes to make your hands go numb when working on deck.

After all my worrying, this time we got lucky and the expected weather didn't get as bad as it might have. It's been pretty breezy for the last few days, but gusted to not much more than 40 knots last night. The wind is sitting on about 25 knots at the moment and the swells are starting to die off as we pass into the lee of Tasmania.

Once readjusted to being on land again, Watson has many things she plans to do, including finishing school and getting her driver's license. Watson also wrote that she's "desperate to do a bit of traveling. I know that sounds a bit crazy, but I mean the sort of traveling where you stop places and meet people."

An announcement on Watson's expected arrival date to Sydney Harbor should be made later this week. She'll likely be meeting a lot of people then.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Jessica Watson on April 24, as the wind and sea was rising. Credit: Jessica Watson

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