Saturday, January 30, 2010

Jessica has Dyslexia. Who knew?

Solo sailors dyslexia hell revealed
By Kathleen Donaghey From: The Sunday Mail (Qld) January 31, 2010
The 16-year-old was a preschooler when she was diagnosed with severe dyslexia – the lone child in the class unable to count to 10 or recite the alphabet. But after enduring the stigma of illiteracy, Jessica's fate changed at age 11 when mum Julie read her Lionheart, the story of Jesse Martin's solo world voyage.
"What people don't realise is that I was reading to her because she couldn't read."...
I was helping her access a world she couldn't reach. When she heard Jesse Martin's story and realised how human he was, Jessica went very quiet, you could see the cogs turning.
"She realised he was an ordinary person with vulnerabilities and humanness. And that's why he wrote the book: so people realised you don't have to be superhuman to go around the world."

Jesse Martin's book Lionheart is a an easy read and good value.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

BRUMBYY returns to Jessica's blog in style.

The Tar

Held by straps from falling out
As boat began to roll
Shrieking din of wind about
Was drowned by Neptune’s soul

Green view was there in glassy screen
Tall mast, submerged below
Momentarily this state was seen
Each time, the Lady on show

Upright again in moving mountains
Those crashing curls of power
Down below still held restrained
Surveying, the destructive shower

Not once not twice, but more they came
Those massive waves with force
Inside the Lady, they felt the same
Yet, each came with its own voice

The fear of Tar against the sea
A boat alone in might
Proved the strength of only she
This girl, who battled fright

With Neptune’s test on passing by
Vessel proved its class in storm
Jessica reached, the ultimate high
An Aussie legend born

Monday, January 25, 2010

The climb down from Everest begins

This is from her blog entry.
She describes it best:

"That much wind means some very big and nasty waves. To give you an idea of the conditions, they were similar to and possibly worse than those of the terrible 1998 Sydney to Hobart Race. We experienced a total of 4 knockdowns, the second was the most severe with the mast being pushed 180 degrees in to the water. Actually pushed isn't the right word, it would be more accurate to say that Ella's Pink Lady was picked up, thrown down a wave, then forced under a mountain of breaking water and violently turned upside down

Under just the tiny storm jib, the big electric autopilot did an amazing job of holding us on course downwind, possibly or possibly not helped by my yells of encouragement! It was only the big rogue waves that hit at us at an angle (side on) that proved dangerous and caused the knockdowns.

The solid frame of the targa (the frame that supports the solar panels) is bent out of shape and warped (see pic below), which provides a pretty good idea of the force of the waves. Solid inch thick stainless steel tube doesn't exactly just bend in the breeze, so I think you could say that Ella's Pink Lady has proven herself to be a very tough little boat!"

The Touche Turtle Award 2010

"Gotta love this city."

Here is the post that fitzy refers to. This bloke is hilarious, lol:

0700/26th position 0911 02420 trip 120/24
Drama - sort of

There we were, me in my running shorts having been limpid with sweat all day trying to trace the HF problem, Pete in his grotty green salty Stubbies, having a small relaxing mug of random Aussie red with rehydrated curry and rice and celebrating for Hilary - idly watching the cloud building up to the south, still stinking hot and humid, water 37 deg. And then there it was - deep grey horizon, rolling black squall line coming in like the vulture stooping - two decrepit old farts jerked into action - just time to put things below, drop in the second reef, roll in the headsail to a quarter of its size and it was on - only about 25 knots, 90 degree wind change, follow the blast around, lightning, deeep sonorous thunder rolling all about - not at all like Mr Krupa's riff over there in the Pacific last year but still musical - torrents of rain - Pete gets naked with the soap, I go down and connect the mast base to the earth and come up and let the rain wash off the day's grot. And now we're in 2 knots, just as the GRIB predicted and due for another couple of days of it. I'd been soaking my other grommy clothes in a bucket of salt water and green stuff so was able to hang it out in the rain and get a free rinse Yay! And it's (relatively) cool and the sea feels really it would. Lightning away to the north, overcast and spotty rain here.

And then it got interesting. Pete woke me @ midnight - 'There's some black cloud ahead, might be a bit of wind...good night' - not just dark but glutinous inside-of-cow black and lightning all around so I packed the satphone and some gps' into the icebox and got out there - like going under a table and the first blast had us around onto 290 with horizontally slanting rain so thick that I couldn't look into it and had to adjust everything then tack by feel - and a ship! dead in line and we were the give way vessel so had to get behind him except that he stopped right in front of us ... and so it went, non stop for 3 hours with lightning all around, the wind actually hot on my face, my thin pants and T shirt and me wringable - warm water crashing over the bow and back to the cockpit on sheets - black black night, occasional phosphorescence to the side -up to the foredeck twice to sort the furler gradually stumbled through it, the rain eased, the wind backed again and we were back on course and time to wake Pete, who slept through it all. Fun. How I love the tropics.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

Dilip (a sailor nearby in the region of Cape Horn) wrote “Midnight of New Years eve, just as I was getting out to change the wind vane with the wind dropping, the phone rang. Finding it a bit odd to receive a phone call close to midnight, picked up the phone and what a pleasant surprise! Jessica calling to wish New Years! So very thoughtful of her! Amongst all the new years wishes I have received in all these years and at various places, I think I will cherish this, from this gutsy girl 350 NM away and the nearest human to me, as the most special! With wishes like these how can 2010 not be anything but great!”
Nothing more to say really.

Jessica Watson - From a book to the Horn

Tony L

At a very young age you listened to your mum reading ‘Lionheart’, the book about eighteen-year old Jesse Martin’s 1999 solo, non-stop and unassisted voyage around the world from Sandringham on Port Phillip Bay in a 34ft Sparkman & Stephens yacht he named ‘Lionheart’. You were captivated by this story and soon discovered another Australian, Kay Cottee, had completed a similar solo, non-stop and unassisted voyage from Sydney to become the first woman to complete this task.

The years went by and you learnt to sail, presumably on the waters of the inlet at Mooloolaba, a popular holiday place on the coast of Queensland not far north of Brisbane. Mooloolaba has a large Marina used by ocean-going yachts and no doubt the sight of their masts and rigging became an early fascination as you dreamed of following in the footsteps of Jesse and Kay.

Then, in May 2008, you heard about an opportunity to sail with an organization called Oceanwatch from New Zealand to Fiji and back to New Zealand on a boat called ‘Magic Roundabout’. You did that trip – to gain experience – and although you learnt much about the aches and pains associated with ocean sailing, your appetite for the sea became unquenchable so instead of flying home you sailed home to Brisbane on another boat.

By this time your mind was made up. You learnt how to use a spell-checker and worked on a proposal for obtaining sponsorship with assistance from your Mum and Dad, and a group of helpful friends.

By October (2008) you had reeled in a few businesses interested in sponsoring you and you continued to increase your sailing experience by sailing on a large catamaran named ‘Big Wave Rider’ which was owned by Bruce Arms who later became your Project Manager’. On this trip you experienced the use of a drogue (parachute) designed to slow a boat running downwind in a storm. You followed this trip with some racing with the Cairns Yacht Club before returning home to begin doing presentations to raise interest in your planned voyage.

On 2 December 2008 your new website “” was launched and you set a target date for departure as ‘late next year’ (2009). About the same time you acknowledged the efforts of Zac Sutherland and Mike Perham and became ever more determined to become the youngest female to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world.

You again joined a crew on ‘Magic roundabout’ and set off from Mooloolaba to conquer the Tasman, known by Aussies and New Zealanders as ‘The Ditch’. It was a trip planned to give you hands on experience making all the decisions required to complete the voyage and you experienced a variety of weather conditions and learnt much from it. It was a voyage in which you learnt how to set a steering wind vane, how to tolerate little and no wind, how exciting it was to be accompanied by sea birds and dolphins, what it was like in a ‘bouncy’ 3 metre sea and strong wind, and what ‘living aboard’ a boat was really like.

During January 2009 you again joined the crew on ‘Big Wave Rider’ and learnt what it was like to fix rigging things while suspended from the top of a yacht’s mast.
Around that time too, you gained a number of sponsors and Bob McDavitt, a well known meteorologist from New Zealand offered his support and weather routing service for your voyage.

Early in February you departed Mooloolaba for Hobart, Tasmania, on ‘Big Wave Rider’ and on the way you called in at Southport and Sydney and sailed under Sydney Harbour Bridge for the first time. On this trip you experienced the use of a solo climbing system to climb ‘BWR’s’ swaying mast to fix a lashing on the radar reflector near the top of the mast while at sea. [to be continued]

In Hobart you met Don McIntyre, a very experienced solo sailor who was to become one of your most valued supporters, and who provided the boat in which you would sail to fulfill your dream. You then went to New Zealand to board a yacht called ‘Evohe’ for a trip to Campbell Island, at latitude 52 S, for experience in the cold conditions of the ‘furious fifties’, you recently referred to as the ‘fearsome fifties’. Back home again, and March became a month of looking for sponsorship and raising awareness of your plans.

During May your press conferences became increasingly frequent, you celebrated your sixteenth birthday, studied for your Ocean Yachtmaster certificate, learnt to use a sextant, gained your Australian Boat Licence, began sailing an S&S 34 referred to as ‘’, and took it to the Sanctuary Cove international Boat Show on the Gold Coast south of Brisbane. After that ‘ was stripped down and one by one her numerous faults were fixed. Nothing was to be left to chance and a steady stream of new equipment was fitted to make her as safe as she could be.

In June you did a sea survival course, learnt how to maintain a marine diesel engine, how to diet on the trip, and listened to Don McIntyre and Mike Perham quiz you on how you would cope with numerous different sea scenarios.

In July ‘’ was painted pink, and on 27 July 2009 she was renamed ‘Pink Lady’ and trucked to Sydney for the Sydney International Boat Show, and you attended many interviews with Don McIntyre, Jesse Martin and other supporters. ‘Pink Lady’ was then returned to Mooloolaba for more fitting out to make her ready for the voyage.

On 2 September 2009 Ella Bache stepped on board as your major sponsor and ‘Pink Lady’ became ‘Ella’s Pink Lady’.

It was time for action. On 8 September you departed Mooloolaba and the Sunshine Coast for Sydney. You overcame a hiccup caused when you didn’t give way to a ship and made an unscheduled visit to Gold Coast City Marina for repairs before again departing for Sydney on 1 October.

Ella Bache ‘launched’ their involvement as major sponsor on 12 October and ‘Ella’s Pink Lady’ was readied for departure. Those of us who were following your progress began to sense your building excitement, and interest in the date of your departure from Andrew Short Marine at
The Spit on Sydney’s Middle Harbour increased.

Then, on 17 October 2009 you announced: “Tomorrow I’m going to get up and sail around the world!”

Since then you have done just that. You stepped up to the mark and set off to fulfill your chosen task, and as time went by you ticked the boxes and wrote ‘job done’ as you passed each goal you set to achieve your dream.

And now, at the end of 2009 you have Cape Horn in your sights and have accumulated a large following of International supporters who communicate with you via your blog pages and think of themselves as part of your ‘extended family’, and an even larger collection of blog-readers interested in your daily progress.

You have become renowned as a wonderfully descriptive writer, a photographer who teases us with the beauty of all that the sea and sky has to offer, a video commentator with a unique sense of understated humour, and Australia’s most famous “Chocaholic”!
Thanks to Tony L (Mt Martha VIC) for his insight so far.