Queensland to be final destination for Ella’s Pink Lady
Jessica has passed the halfway mark and is homeward bond to Sydney, a few storms and knockdowns have given her lots of content for her book. Steady as she goes.
Jessica Watson is attempting to sail around the world before she gets too old and claim the youngest title off Mike Perham. Follow her adventure here. I will update this thread with news as it happens.
Teen sailor Jessica Watson in town for Long Beach Boat Show
10 September 2010
Teenage sailors Zac Sunderland and Jessica Watson, who became celebrities after piloting boats around the world by themselves, are scheduled to make appearances this weekend at the Long Beach Yacht & Boat Show at Shoreline Village Marina.
Sunderland’s younger sister Abby, who became even more famous earlier this summer when she became the subject of a dramatic rescue during her ill-fated solo-circumnavigation attempt, is across the country to compete Saturday in a race on Lake Huron.
Zac Sunderland, who lives in Thousand Oaks, briefly became the youngest person to have circled the planet alone in a sailboat. But that distinction now belongs to Watson, an Australian who returned to Sydney in May, just days before turning 17, after a 210-day odyssey in a 34-foot pink sailboat.
Book Finished and Finally Driving!
Saturday, July 03, 2010
It’s been another busy week. Starting with the book, (which is now finished and has gone to print!), getting my L’s, interviews for the documentary down in Sydney, more interviews, plus all sorts of other odds and ends, including getting Ella’s Pink Lady out again this afternoon with a few friends.
Ella’s Pink Lady still gets a steady stream of visitors coming down to take a look from the shore and I’m sure she was as happy to get out on the water today as I was. It was great to go for a nice easy sail out around Old Woman Island with a bunch of girls. Sort of Champagne sailing, but without the champagne!
Jessica celebrating her amazing voyage with fellow solo circumnavigators from left to right:
Mike Perham, Jesse Martin, Brian Caldwell, David Dicks, Jon Sanders and of course the star of the show, our inspirational Jessica Watson!
Hi everyone just a really quick update to let you know I’m across the line and have had the most amazing day (mega mega under exaggeration!). I ended up crossing the line a few hours late, to a totally overwhelming welcome, way way beyond anything I’d ever imagined. It would take a very long time to tell you all about it, so I’ll save that for another time. Seeing everyone again and finally getting those hugs was really something special!
I’ll keep writing this blog for a little while, to tell you all about how I’m finding life back on land, but I have a feeling that there’s going to be just too much to tell so you’re going to have to wait for the book!
Thanks again to everyone who’s sent me a message and was thinking of Ella’s Pink Lady and I out there, It made all the difference.
Well that’s it from me because there’s fresh food to eat, more hands to shake and pretty soon a big non-rolling bed to sink into. What a day!
Jessica Watson talks with the host of Thursday Night Live as she heads toward Tasmania. Tune in to One HD on 29 April for another update
Jessica Watson talks about heading south, mending her sail, and nearing home with the hosts of One HD’s Thursday Night Live. Tune in again on 22 April to see another update with Thursday Night Live.
Meet Jessica Watson – get your tickets here
Thursday, April 15th, 2010
Then, as I started to think things were improving the wind suddenly started gusting like crazy, laying Ella’s Pink Lady right over on her side and pinning her there. While I was having some serious fun (note sarcasm!) reefing in the cockpit (double clipped on of course!), down below, water was flooding in up through the sink because of the crazy angle we were on. Normally I shut the sink seacock when the weather’s a bit bouncy. But having thought that things were quietening down, I’d only just opened it again. The water flooded right through the galley then into the bilges. But Ella’s Pink Lady’s pumps soon had it out again. I’m not particularly thrilled about my soggy mess of a galley.
But far more annoyingly, before I managed to get enough of it down, the mainsail tore badly in two places. The wind didn’t last long and when the weather improves a bit I’ve got a lot of stitching ahead of me.
Everyone’s telling me not to let my guard down being so close to home. But believe me, with this weather keeping me on my toes, there’s no way I’m relaxing in the slightest. I was beginning to think that I’d seen a fair range of different weather but this lightning has been something new.
Australian Waters and Squid Lunch
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Today started with a lovely sunrise as Ella’s Pink Lady sailed over the green line on the chart and into Australian waters. Hot chocolate in hand (yes I managed to repair the kettle!), a light sprinkling of rain and with an albatross circling above, it was one of those really special moments.
But we’ve still got a long way to go and over the next week we will pass under the Great Australian Bight and head south to Tasmania. It’s very likely that I’ll pass back over the green line out of Australian waters again. It’s weird being so close, but still having so many miles to cover.
I think a lot of people are wondering why I’m going south of Tasmania, rather than taking a short cut through the Bass Strait. The reasoning behind this is that Bass Strait is full of shipping and islands which would mean a few days with very little or no sleep for me. Plus Bob’s long range weather forecast also predicts light head winds (also known as very painful sailing) if we tack that route, instead of heading south around the bottom of Tasmania. So I’m just going to have to grit my teeth and put up with a slight drop in temperature again, before heading north for the last time.
Time Flying By and Heading North
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Sorry I haven’t updated you all in a while, the last few days have just flown by all of a sudden without my noticing. Time seems to be passing very strangely at the moment, flying by in great chunks at a time. But then occasionally dragging by minute by minute. But fast or slow, I’m still enjoying every minute of it all.
You’ve probably noticed on the tracker that Ella’s Pink Lady has been headed north again over the last few days. As usual, we’ve headed to lower latitudes to avoid the worst of a weather system passing to the south. The wind is expected to rise a bit as it passes later today, but it shouldn’t be too uncomfortable.
Right now it’s perfect sailing, with 20 knots of wind and sunshine. Life on board is same old, same old with the little ins and outs keeping me happy. As much as I’m looking forward to it, getting back home is going to be quite a shock, as I’ve really worked myself into my own groove out here.
Well that’s it. Another ocean and cape down! It took a while with light winds for the last few days but Ella’s Pink Lady has passed under Cape Agulhas, but being 400nm south of land I couldn’t quite see it this time. A bright orange half moon and a spectacular sky of stars was enough of a celebration. But of course, I also put a bit of a dent in the chocolate supplies and let off a few party poppers!
There’s still so many miles to cover across the Indian and then around the bottom of Australia, but it really feels like we’re on the homeward leg now. Only 4,200nm till Cape Leeuwin and Australia, a very exciting and slightly scary thought!
The lovely weather over the last few days has more than made up for our slowish speeds. As a high pressure system passed over us, we’ve had perfect clear skies, warm sunshine, gentle seas, plenty of birds and the odd
albatross for company. In between a lot of enjoying the sunshine and contemplating how perfect it all was, I also used the quiet conditions to keep up with a few jobs and give everything a good double-check over. I made a total mess re-applying Sika flex to the odd persistent leak. Also snapped another two needles and put a few holes in my hands re-stitching one of the tears in the mainsail, then threaded on new windvane lines after finally giving up on the chafed and scruffy old set.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Life Goes on as Normal Out Here
Still more nice sailing for Ella’s Pink Lady and I. Yesterday was particularly great with our speed sitting on an almost constant 7knots all day. The wind has mostly been between 12 and 17knots. Well that’s my best guess anyway, because since losing the wind instruments, I’ve had to resort to the oh so primitive method of looking out the window and at a piece of string tied to the rigging, to determine the wind speed and direction!
These are just the sort of conditions Ella’s Pink Lady and I love. Does anyone object if I give Sydney a miss and go around for a second lap?! No, don’t worry I wouldn’t do that to you. I might still be having the time of my life out here, but there’s also things back home that I miss. There’s no way that I’d be able to sail past a hot shower and I’m worried that if I’m away much longer I won’t be able to recognize my brother, who is apparently getting taller by the minute!
Every year at school we used to get asked what Australia Day meant to us, this year I couldn’t be much further from Australia, there’s none of the things that make a typical Australia Day celebration out here, no sunshine, beach, no taking the day off or BBQ but this year I really can say I’m proud to be an Aussie! And also how great it feels to have the support of the country behind me!
I’ve still got a lot of the world to see (a lot of Australia too actually!) but the things that are special about Oz to me (other than all the cool scenery!) is our relaxed positive attitude and ‘can do’ approach! I’d like to think that we’re a county that’s capable of coming together to tackle challenges, one that’s capable of showing the world that we can achieve the things that we believe in.
So how am I celebrating? Well last night I was pretty thrilled to get a call on the sat phone from Kevin Rudd who offered to pass on a Happy Australia Day message to everyone from me!
Jessica Rides Out Perfect Storm and Knockdowns
Jessica Watson has faced her toughest test to date on her solo circumnavigation, having experienced a violent storm overnight with hurricane-force wind gusts of up to 70 knots and a swell of 7-10 metres, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
Jessica also experienced her first knockdown and then had to endure three more during the eight hour storm. A ‘knockdown’ is when the mast goes below horizontal and into the sea. In Jessica’s case, she was hit by a series of rogue waves.
During the storm, Jessica sailed past the 11,000 nautical mile mark. She was belted in to her wet-seat throughout.
Despite the horrific conditions and some minor damage, the good news is that both Jessica and Ella’s Pink Lady have fared well.
“We certainly copped a pounding out here
Wind, Waves, Action and Drama!
My quite sunny conditions ended with a bit of a bang, Ella’s Pink Lady and I have been having a very interesting time out here. The wind had been expected to rise to a near gale, but none of the computers or forecasts picked that it would reach the 65knots that I recorded, before losing the wind instruments in a knockdown!
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.
With everything battened down and conditions far too dangerous to be on deck, there wasn’t anything I could do but belt myself in and hold on. 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.
JESSICA CROSSES LAT & LONG 49, PREPARES FOR APPROACHING STORM
Overnight Jessica crossed a point in the Atlantic Ocean where the latitude and longitude are the same number – 49 degrees South and 49 degrees West.
It is the only point of her voyage where the Latitude and Longitude are the same number.
Jessica and her yacht Ella’s Pink Lady continue to make good progress, but they are currently bracing for a storm with gusts of over 60 knots predicted today, which marks day 97 of her epic solo circumnavigation.
We will provide another update once the front passes and Jessica is clear of the storm.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
What I Miss The Most
Ella’s Pink Lady has been steadily plodding along north and east out into the Atlantic and yesterday I was treated to a day of incredible sunshine. It was so lovely that I actually drifted off to sleep, sprawled out across the cabin top (of course, with my Ella Bache sunscreen on!). The warm sun and the sound of the water against the hull had me nodding off within minutes.
Better still I was woken up by a pod of beautiful back and white dolphins swimming along next to us. As always they were a treat to watch, playing in the greeny, blue swell. Then there was the pretty pink sunset that I could actually enjoy sitting outside without feeling like my fingers and toes were about to fall off. Sorry, I feel like I’m bragging!
Seeing as I’ve been out here for over three months and very almost 100 days, I thought I’d put together a list of what I miss the most. Not that it’s not all totally worth it out here!
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Highlights From An Incredible Few Days!
I’m going to apologize in advance for the over-use of explanation marks, but it’s certainly been an amazing few days! Sorry not to have updated you all earlier on my side of events, but after running on not much more than adrenalin for a good 4 days, I’ve only had one thing on my mind – sleep!
So much has happened lately. So many highs. But I’m going to start at the beginning with Tuesday and 60nm between us and the Cape. Passing squalls, the waves standing up a little as we passed in to shallower water, the wind settling into a consistent 40knots by nightfall, all made life pretty interesting.
But the fast disappearing miles till the Cape and sighting land (Diego Ramirez Island) that
afternoon had me completely pumped up and totally bouncing with excitement! Seeing land after so long was incredible. I can hardly remember feeling so thrilled, which when I think about it, seems like a bit of an overreaction considering I couldn’t actually see anything more
than the outline of a grey bit of rock disappearing frequently, as we dropped into the troughs between waves. Through my eyes at the time, that distant bit of rock was the most beautiful and incredible thing I’d seen. It’s amazing how deprivation can make something look a million times more special! I imagine that my first long hot shower when I get back home will be much the same!
That night was a busy and sleepless one as we approached the Cape. To ensure that we didn’t just go surfing by in the dark, I put a bit of effort into slowing us down and just as it was getting light, there it was – the distinctive outline of Cape Horn!
JESSICA PREPARING FOR MORE STRONG WINDS BEFORE ROUNDING THE CAPE
Tuesday, 12 January 2010
As Jessica prepares to round the infamous Cape Horn, she may first have to face more gale force winds over the next 24 hours, the result of a low pressure system to the south of her current position.
Jessica is currently 150 nautical miles from Cape Horn, sailing in winds of 20 knots and a 3-4 metre swell. She is well prepared for the possible and excited about rounding the Cape.
“It is only 20 knots at the moment, but it looks like we may get some stronger winds before we round the Cape
Monday, January 11, 2010
Closing on the Cape. Slowly!
I’m really not having the most exciting………..
……………………To try to take my mind off the tedious speeds and uncomfortable rolling, I’ve been working away at a few books, totally throwing myself into the stories. Mum keeps asking me what books I’m reading and I think she’s a bit surprised at my replies. I’ve hardly picked up an adventure or sailing story since leaving. Instead I’ve been reading and re-reading the most mindless, trashy
stories that I have. When part of your mind (and often all of it) is constantly thinking of nothing but sailing and all the different aspects of looking after Ella’s Pink Lady, the last thing I feel like doing is reading about more sailing!
So things out here couldn’t be more different to all the stories of swimming, sunshine, diving and surfing from back home. But as always, I wouldn’t be anywhere else. Having no wind can completely drive you up the wall, but at the same time seeing the surface of the big, gentle swell become so glassy that it reflects the moody, grey sky is just incredible. So good things still do come with the bad.
Anyway down to business. The has wind has finally picked up to a steady 12knots in the last few hours, so Ella’s Pink Lady is pushing along nicely again now. You have no idea how good it feels to be moving again! We’ve still got about 270nm till Cape Horn
Friday, January 8, 2010
Just a quick update. Becalmed today, but the Albatrosses have joined us again (see pic below).
Only 450nm to Cape Horn and I’m even more excited now as Mum and Dad flew out of Australia today to watch Ella’s Pink Lady rounding the Cape!
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Closing on the Cape
Thanks for being patient waiting for the next blog. My great shore team will always post an update when I don’t have the time to.
The wind hit 40 knots again on Tuesday which kept life interesting and a little bouncy. Since then it’s steadily dropped off to my current 8 knots today, which is really only just enough to keep us moving, slowly!
In typical Southern Ocean style, the visibility hasn’t been great with almost constant light, misty drizzle and not the slightest hint of a clear sky. But no complaints from me. Like I’ve said before, in its own way it’s just as pretty as sunshine and blue water. Looking at it another way, you could always say that at least the low visibility means that you can see very little of the bad weather!
The good news is that I was able to fix the little problem with the mainsheet block easily. But the bad news is that despite spending yesterday morning trying to fix the heater, it still won’t play nice! Oh well, on the scale of things the heater not working really isn’t much of a problem, just one of those optional extras.
I’m really starting to get pretty excited about Cape Horn as we’re getting so close now, with just over 500nm to go!
That’s going to have to be it from me today as my fingers as are pretty keen to slip back into some nice warm gloves!
Mostly it’s just been a normal day out here, not a lot of wind but just enough to keep us moving on a gentle sea at a steady 5 knots.
Tonight’s sunset was far from normal though, it was amazing! I thought it was good to start with, but then the colours just kept getting better and better as the sun disappeared. And yes I captured some pics (below) to capture the moment and colours. Hope you like them.
Well it’s just going to be a quick update for today as my tummy is telling me I’m way overdue for some food!
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Lucky Not Lonely!
For the first time in over two weeks I saw something man made other than Ella’s Pink Lady (drum roll please!). It was a small white piece of plastic that floated by this morning while we were becalmed for a short while. Not all that exciting, but it made me think about just how completely in the middle of nowhere I really am and about how every mile is taking us further into a pretty much empty stretch of ocean. It’s still strange to think that I’m probably hundreds of miles from the nearest person, in fact it’s now almost two months since I’ve seen anyone. Sure I’ve seen other boats but none of them have come close enough toactually make out the crew.
30 KNOT WINDS AND THROUGH PEAK OF SQUASH ZONE
Friday, 11 December, 2009 (5.00pm AEDT)
The past 24 hours has seen Jessica endure her toughest conditions to date on her solo circumnavigation attempt, with wind gusts of up to 30 knots and 3 a metre swell, courtesy of a low pressure system on her way south to Cape Horn.
Despite the stronger winds, the low was not as bad as the predicted 40-50 knots initially forecast. The good news is that she is through the peak of the squash zone, which is a strange and unpredictable area between the tropics and the Southern Ocean.
For all the concerned bloggers and supporters eagerly awaiting an update report, we can assure you that Jessica and Ella’s Pink Lady are progressing well and she will update you all when she can. She is resting, eating well and well prepared should conditions rapidly change.
Doesn’t Get Much Better!
We’ve had that messy sea and squally conditions for the last few days but the clouds and squalls have well and truly cleared out today, leaving Ella’s Pink Lady to fly along in picture perfect trade wind conditions. The trade winds are the name given to the band of steady south easterly winds in this part of the world but what the books don’t say is how lovely the sunshine is, how nice it is to have a steady breeze and how amazingly blue the water looks speckled with whitecaps. Maybe it’s just that I’m just in a particularly good mood and seeing everything through happy glasses but I don’t think it gets much better than this!
On the down side the south easterly trade winds are also a bit of a pain, because south east is exactly where I’d like to be going! We’ve been able to make some great progress south but we’re not getting anywhere when it comes to making ground to the east. Still nothing to worry about because as we go further south the wind will drop off and probably come from a bit of everywhere (this areas known as the variables or subtropics) before settling in from the west when we get down south to the roaring 40’s. Bob’s latest forecast gives us around another week on this course with similar conditions before we’re able to turn on to a more direct line to Cape Horn.
Finally a Fish!
Yes I’m more than a little pleased and very relieved to report that I finally got a fish! (see pic below). That was starting to get a bit silly. My best guess is that it’s a yellow fin tuna, its not huge but I’m sure that there will be plenty for everyone! I can’t say that there would be many fisherman who would be proud of the mess I made filleting it. I’m just glad there was no one here to witnesses the whole thing, but practice makes perfect right?!
Turns out that wasn’t my last tack last night. The wind and current weren’t going to make things easy for us, so it was a particularly sleepless night as we tacked and inched along ever so slowly.
Every time I thought that we’d finally cleared the Island, the wind would change slightly and we’d have to put another tack in. It’s all a bit frustrating but as always it’s hard not to feel cheerful when the stars are shining and the music’s turned up.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Around Kiritimati Island
Winds on the nose and a current against us for the last few days has made for pretty painful progress, we’re only just getting close to Kiritimati (Christmas) Island now. All going to plan we should be around and clear by the morning, it’ll be a relief to have a bit of sea room and to be making progress south again.
Kiritimati Island sounds pretty interesting so I’ve added it to the list places to stop off at next time! Apparently it’s the world’s largest atoll and thanks to a few random changes in direction by the date line its also the worlds eastern most country. From what I’ve read it sounds pretty
picture perfect with white sandy beaches and coral lagoons but don’t worry I’m not too tempted to stop, in fact I’ll be lucky if I can even see a distant glow of lights as I pass by tonight. Oh and its said to be a good spot for fishing!
We passed a boat (three actually!) for the first time in over a week yesterday, they were big fishing boats but didn’t appear to speak English. I also got a bit of a fright yesterday, I was sitting down below at the nav station and heard the horrible nose of something rubbing down the hull
Friday, November 20, 2009
No change that I can see. The water is still blue, the waves are still rolling and the wind still blowing, but apparently now the water splashing across the deck and slipping away behind Ella’s Pink Lady, is northern hemisphere water!
I thought that crossing the line would be just like any other day out here, so I surprised myself a little by getting a bit emotional as I juggled three different cameras while counting down the latitude read out on the GPS. It’s not so much physically crossing into the northern hemisphere that had me so worked up (you can only get so excited about an invisible line in the water!!) but the fact that it meant the end of the first leg. Sure this has probably been one of the easier legs (call it the shake down!) compared to some of the sailing down south to come. But the distance we’ve already covered is pretty amazing. Getting this far (and everything that happened before the start line!) has given me the confidence to know that even though we’ve got some seriously tough times ahead, we’re going to be able to have fun tackling whatever comes our way.