Great Achievement But No Record for Teen Sailor

May 5, 2010 Updated: October 1, 2015

Teen solo sailor Jessica Watson, 16, sets sail on her yacht Ella's Pink Lady in Sydney Harbor on October 18, 2009, in Australia.  (Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
Teen solo sailor Jessica Watson, 16, sets sail on her yacht Ella's Pink Lady in Sydney Harbor on October 18, 2009, in Australia. (Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
The 200-day solo sailing voyage around the world by 16-year-old Australian Jessica Watson, is expected to conclude on May 15 with a festive welcome in Sydney. However, her journey has not covered enough miles to grant her the world record of youngest to sail solo around the world.

From the start there were concerns about her record attempt. Rob Kothe, a Web editor for Sail-World, published recently that she will have travelled 18,582 nautical miles instead of the 21,600 nautical miles required by the World Speed Sailing Record Council (WSSRC) to win the official “around the world” record.

The nautical miles are measured in a straight line, and not by the actual distance sailed on the water. She met other requirements, including crossing the equator and passing all longitudes.

Australian media reports said Watson could still get the record if she extends her journey north around Great Keppel Island and back to Sydney to add the needed miles. Jessica says in her blog that she looks forward to sailing into Sydney harbor, and to her next adventures like re-adjusting to life on land, finishing school, and completing her book.