Jessica Watson was born 18th May 1993, on Australia’s Gold Coast, and at age 16, became the youngest person to sail solo non-stop and unassisted around the world.
Defying criticism from those who said her task was destined to fail, after 210 days at sea navigating some of the world’s most challenging stretches of oceans and surviving seven knockdowns, Jessica sailed back into Sydney Harbour on 15 May, 2010.
As she docked at the Sydney Opera House, the country wept with pride. She walked up the pink welcome carpet, met the Prime Minister on stage and then delivered what many believe is one of the most simple, but brilliant and inspirational speeches of all time where she replied to the Prime Minister’s summary of her as our newest Australian hero:
“I would like to disagree with our Prime Minister. I do not consider myself a hero. I am just an ordinary person, who had a dream and worked hard at it. By sailing solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world, I have proved that anything really is possible”.
It was an extraordinary performance, considering she had not seen a person in seven months. She had captured the hearts of not only Australians, but millions of supporters around the globe as they cheered on the 16 year old Aussie, who had overcome the adversity and odds to achieve what many thought impossible.
It was Jessica’s writings during her voyage that seemed to captivate people. She became a story teller and her fan base grew to the extent of having 5 million hits on her website when she sailed into Sydney.
Within 3 months of her return, Jessica wrote a book called “True Spirit” which told the story of her epic voyage. The book went straight to number 1 in Australia and has been published in 12 countries – another extraordinary achievement from the girl who suffered badly from dyslexia, only years earlier!
Jessica also filmed a documentary, 210 Days, which was narrated by Sir Richard Branson.
She was named Young Australian of the Year 2011.
In January 2012, Jessica was announced in the Australia Day Honours list, receiving an OAM (Order of Australia Medal) for services to sailing and being a role model for the youth of Australia.
A movie is now being produced about her incredible story, scheduled to commence production in 2016.
Jessica Watson – she is an inspiring story that ultimately proves that we all have the power to live our dreams – no matter how small or big they are!