Archive for the ‘singlehanded sailing’ Category

Jessica Watson in her yacht Ella's Pink Lady

Jessica Watson in her yacht Ella's Pink Lady

Jessica Watson Welcomed Home ‎

The 16-year-old Australian girl who braved boat knockdowns and seven months of solitude on a sail around the world set foot on dry land outside the Sydney Opera House on Saturday.  Jessica Watson became the youngest person to sail around the globe solo, nonstop and unassisted when she cruised into Sydney Harbour in her pink, 34-foot (10-meter) yacht to a rock star welcome of thousands. She successfully maneuvered her boat through raging storms, 40-foot (12-meter) waves and seven knockdowns during the 23,000 nautical mile journey that critics thought she wouldn’t survive.

After standing on land for the first time in 210 days, the teen said she’s eager to learn how to drive a car, to eat fresh fruit and salad after months of packaged meals, get a full night’s sleep instead of catnaps and shake off her sea legs with a long walk on the beach. “You will pass your driving test with flying colors,” Prime Minister Kevin Rudd assured Watson, who giggled along with a crowd of thousands of her fans, many wearing pink or waving pink flags in honor of her yacht, Ella’s Pink Lady.

It was a lighthearted moment in an emotional day for the teen, who admitted she was overwhelmed by the attention after so much solitude. Minutes earlier, she had wept with relief after stepping off the yacht and into the arms of her tearful parents, whose decision to let their daughter attempt the feat was dubbed an act of insanity by some.

“People don’t think you’re capable of these things — they don’t realize what young people, what 16-year-olds and girls are capable of,” Watson told the crowd. “It’s amazing when you take away those expectations what you can do.”

Watson, from Buderim, north of Brisbane in Queensland state, sailed out of Sydney on Oct. 18 despite protests by critics that she was too immature and inexperienced for the treacherous journey. Her parents maintained that she was well-prepared and noted she has been sailing since age 8.

“She said she’d sail around the world, and she has,” a tearful Julie Watson said from a nearby boat as she watched her grinning daughter cruise past the finish line. “She’s home.”

Watson sailed northeast through the South Pacific and across the equator, south to Cape Horn at the tip of South America, across the Atlantic Ocean to South Africa, through the Indian Ocean and around southern Australia.

Her feat will not be considered an official world record. Australian Jesse Martin holds the record for the youngest person to sail around the world solo, nonstop and unassisted, after he completed the journey in 1999 at the age of 18.

Martin boarded Watson’s boat to take over during her cruise toward the Opera House, so she could relax and wave to fans. Watson was given a goodie bag that included Tim Tams — chocolate cookies popular in Australia — and a can of whipped cream, which she partially injected into her mouth before laughing and turning away from the cameras.

She was also joined on board by Britain’s Mike Perham, who completed a solo circumnavigation at the age of 17 in 2009, though technical problems forced him to stop for assistance.

Jessica Watson said she enjoyed the trip: “Amazingly, I just enjoyed it much, much more than I ever thought I would and handled the challenges better than I thought,” she told journalists. “You don’t actually have a choice — you’re in the middle of a storm, you’re being knocked down — you can’t fall apart.”

Jessica Watson also had fun, chatting about boys and fashion with “Silly,” a brown seabird that landed on her yacht and kept her company. She sang at the top of her lungs with no audience to critique her and indulged her sweet tooth with chocolate cupcakes she baked in her tiny kitchen. A video she shot shows her giggling while dumping a ceremonial bucket of saltwater over her head after crossing the equator.

And though Rudd dubbed her “Australia’s newest hero,” Watson was dismissive. “I don’t consider myself a hero,” she said. “I’m an ordinary girl who believed in her dream.”

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New York to Barcelona Transatlantic Record

New York to Barcelona Transatlantic Record

Sailing News

Well, March was an interesting month with sailing events around the world, and even a new world sailing record hitting the books. Sailing in Miami, match racing in New Zealand, Around the World boats coming into San Francisco, Plastiki sails out onto the Pacific, and more. There were even some new sailboats and mega yachts launched, including a huge solar powered boat! April is already heating up too, with regattas and sailing record attempts planned on all the coasts.

Youngest Person to Sail Around Cape Horn Solo: Abby Sunderland, one of the two 16 year old girls currently sailing non-stop around the world, achieved a mighty milestone recently. The teenager rounded the infamous Cape Horn, becoming the youngest person ever to sail around the famous landmark alone. Read More: Abby Sunderland

16 Year Old Girl Sailing Around the World: Jessica Watson, the other 16 year old girl sailing around the world non-stop for a sailing record is also doing well, and seem to be counting the miles until she reaches home in Australia. Jessica has now sailed past the 19,000 nautical mile mark of her solo circumnavigation, today is day 170 of her voyage. She said she was happy for Abby the day after her rival went around Cape Horn: “It was great to hear that Abby Sunderland rounded Cape Horn yesterday. I’m really thrilled for her. It brings back lots of memories of when I was down there. Go Abby!” Read More about: Jessica Watson

Sailing in Miami: The annual Miami Grand Prix sailing regatta was marked a success by those who sailed in it again this year.  The competition was tough, but Gold Digger II took the win in IRC. Flash Gordon took it for the Farr 40s, and Teasing Machine beat all the other Melges 32s. Read more: Miami Grand Prix


Sailing in Florida

Louis Vuitton: Emirates Team New Zealand beat the Mascalzone Latino Audi sailing team in the Louis Vuitton Trophy Auckland finals. Next up in America’s Cup sailing is the Louis Vuitton Trophy La Maddalena in Sardinia on 22 May 2010. Read More: Louis Vuitton Series

Virgin Islands Regatta – Virgin Islands – Sailboats from around the world gathered in the clear blue Caribbean waters off St. Thomas this past weekend, sailing at the 37th annual International Rolex Regatta. Nearly 70 teams competed this year, sailing all types of boats from little beach cats all the way up to the Frers 80 yacht Kialoa V, which was the largest sailboat in the fleet. Read More: Sailing St.Thomas

Sailing San Francisco

Clipper Race Sailing San Francisco

Clipper Around the World Race:  Under the shadow of darkness the dragon of Qingdao sailed under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco Bay, marking the end of the marathon North Pacific leg of the race from the team’s home port in China. The Chinese entry crossed the Race 7 Noonday Rock finish line near the North Farallone Islands to claim their second podium position of the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race. Most of the other Clipper Race yachts have also crossed the San Francisco finish line and are enjoying time in port. Read More: Clipper Race

Sailing Big Boats at St. Barts: Some spectacular yachts were seen racing around the island, participating in a little event known as the St Barths Bucket Regatta. John Williams and his crew on the J-Class Ranger took the overall win at the St. Barths Bucket Regatta, while the Perini Navi yachts Andromeda la Dea and P2 had to settle for second and third respectively. Read More: Yachts Racing in St Barths



Plastiki Sets Sail: After years of development and promises about David de Rothschild’s plastic bottle boat, the Plastiki set sail this month across the Pacific Ocean. De Rothschild hopes the ship’s expedition will bring attention to the global waste problem. “We’re needlessly losing millions of seabirds and hundreds of thousands of marine mammals from ingesting plastic every year, I decided to take this ‘out of sight, out of mind’ problem and build a boat out of the very items that we were seeing ending up in our natural environment.” Read More: Plastiki

Solar Powered Boat: Another “green” boat, Planet Solar, the largest solar powered boat ever built has been unveiled, and will soon be ready to take on the world. At 101 feet long, with 50 feet of beam, this boat is indeed massive enough to be called a mega-yacht, making it the world’s first eco-mega-power-yacht. Read more: Planet Solar



Groupama 3 New World Sailing Record: The trimaran Groupama 3 became the fastest boat to circumnavigate the Earth non-stop, ever* in March. Franck Cammas and crew sailed around the world faster than any other, and earned one of the most important and coveted awards in sailing, the Jules Verne Trophy. Read More: The Fastest Boat Around – Groupama 3

New York-Barcelona Transoceanic Sailing Record: The New York-Barcelona Transoceanic Sailing Record begins between April 5th and the 12th from Ambrose Light in New York and will finish in the Barcelona port between April 20th and the 30th. The two competing teams are comprised of Alex Pella, Pepe Ribes and the American Stan Schreyer with Estrella Damm, and Pachi Rivero, Antonio Piris and Peter Becker with W Hotels. The New York Yacht Club, which is collaborating with the project, has picked Edward Cesare as a reserve skipper for both teams. — Read More: NY-BYC

World Match Racing Tour: Looking forward, April 6th sees the start of the World Match Racing Tour culminating in crowning the ISAF Match Racing World Champion at the end of  10 international events. This year’s Tour starts on Tuesday in Marseille with ‘Match Race France’ running from April 6-11, at Yacht Club Pointe Rouge.  This is the second time Marseille has hosted the WMRT, the area is blessed with excellent match racing courses and is a much-loved destination for the global stars of the sailing world. Read More: World Match Racing Tour

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Rolex Miami OCR Sailing in Miami

Rolex Miami OCR by Rolex/Dan Nerney

Sailing at the Rolex Miami OCR

It was “one race, one chance” today at US SAILING’s 2010 Rolex Miami OCR, the second of seven stops of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Sailing World Cup 2009-2010.. After gold, silver and bronze medalists were determined yesterday in three Paralympic classes, it was now the turn for sailors in ten Olympic classes to claim podium positions, but the plot came with a twist. Just as will happen at the Olympics in 2012, only the top-ten finishers–determined after five days of fleet racing–earned the right to sail in today’s single medal race for each class, except for in Women’s Match Racing. In that event, which makes its Olympic debut in 2012, sailors competed in finals and petit-finals to determine medalists.

The Rolex Miami OCR, which this year hosted 448 teams (633 athletes) from 45 nations, is one of the world’s most competitive regattas for 2012 Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls. As such, each nation’s medal tally is closely watched; USA had the most medals with 10, followed by Great Britain with six, France with five and Spain with four.

In the Women’s Match Racing finals, Anna Tunnicliffe (Plantation, Fla.), Molly Vandemoer (Redwood City, Calif.) and Debbie Capozzi (Bayport, N.Y.) defeated Lucy MacGregor’s GBR team in a highly charged, best-of-five series. Team MacGregor hadn’t lost a race since the first round until today’s race three against Tunnicliffe. Tunnicliffe went on to win the fourth race s well, tying up the score 2-2, so the tie-breaker became a do-or-die match for the gold. After a tough start, Tunnicliffe trailed MacGregor on the first beat, but MacGregor hit some waves and slowed down and Tunnicliffe caught up by the bottom mark. On the downwind leg, MacGregor jibed early, and Tunnicliffe extended on port and jibed, catching the waves. From that point on, Tunnicliffe defended the starboard layline and narrowly edged out MacGregor by half a boat length.

“We had a great day on the water,” said Tunnicliffe. “My team did a great job of staying in the game despite the two losses in the beginning. We fought back and kept it calm and pulled off the moves we needed to and are so happy we came out on top.”

Thanks to a substantial 35-point lead in the Laser Radial, Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) wrapped up the gold medal a day early in the 57-boat fleet, but today she added another bullet to her collection. Following in second was Spain’s Alicia Cebrian who sailed a consistently strong event, and the bronze medal went to GBR’s Alison Young. Railey’s strengths this week were her boat speed and being able to see the pressures and realizing the phase of the shift a few seconds ahead of her competition. By the end of the regatta, she had found her groove and won several races comfortably. Coach Luther Carpenter (LaPorte, Texas) said she managed risk very well in very difficult conditions.

“I’m so pleased about winning the gold,” said Railey. “I wasn’t thinking about the results. I was out there taking one race at a time and pushing myself to use new techniques I’ve incorporated into my sailing. I’ve been learning when to take risks and when to stay conservative.”

2008 Olympians Amanda Clark (Shelter Harbor Heights, N.Y.) and Sarah Chin (Hoboken, N.J.) won an impressive gold medal in the Women’s 470, after taking a year off since the 2008 Games in Qingdao, China. Leading into today’s medal races, they were two points away from the top (the top three were only separated by one point each) and finished fifth in today’s race, which secured their overall win. France’s Ingrid Petitjean and Nadege Douroux won silver and Denmark’s Henriette Koch and Lene Sommer won bronze.

“It was a very tactical regatta; we couldn’t necessarily rely on being fast in a variety of conditions to pull us through,” said Clark. “It was the best racing we could ever ask for.

“It’s great to win our first major regatta back,” she added. “This was a huge positive for us. We wanted to enter this quad with a strong start, proving we still have what it takes. This time around, we’re ready to be on the podium.”

Norway’s Eivind Meklleby and Petter Morland won a gold medal in the Star class in a come-from-behind victory over USA’s Andy Horton (S. Burlington, Vermont) and James Lyne (Granville, Vt.), who led the 24-boat fleet throughout the regatta. Only three points separated the two teams going into today’s race. Horton and Lyne went back at the start for an unforced error, so they played catch-up for the rest of the race and finished fifth in the race and second overall, only one point behind the Norwegian team. Mark Mendelblatt (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and John Von Schwarz (Annapolis, Md.) rounded out the podium with a bronze.

In the Men’s 470 class, the Swedish team of Anton Dahlberg and Sebastian Ostling was third going into today with the knowledge that whoever finished first among yesterday’s top-four boats would secure the gold medal. “There is so much to tell,” said Dahlberg about today’s action on the race course. “It was one of the closest races yet, and every inch counted.” He explained that yesterday’s leaders (and eventual bronze medalists) Gideon Kliger and Eran Sela (ISR) became part of a “tough lineup” and got caught up on the top mark. “They had been in second and had to do penalty turns; a lot of boats did turns.” Dahlberg and Ostling, in eighth at the time, scooted clear. By the second windward mark, France (not in medal contention) was leading with the Swedes in second and eventual silver medalists Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS) behind them. “We all did a jibe set,” said Ostling, “and we were focused on our position with Australia when suddenly they jibed away (to make sure they covered ISR), and we were glad. We managed to get a boost for boat lengths at the end and won.”

Dahlberg and Ostling competed here three years ago but admittedly were beginners trying to get experience. “Now we have a lot more confidence, for sure on the downwind legs,” said Ostling. “This is our first gold; it’s big for us, big for Sweden.” The duo is hoping that the same scenario might play out at the 2012 Games if they are fortunate enough to represent their country there. “In Beijing we were 15th, and with more experience, hopefully we can medal,” said Dahlberg.

For the French 49er team of Manu Dyen and Stephane Christidis, it was important to finish in front of the Austrian team of Nico LM Delle Karth/Nikolaus Leopold Resch and the Danish team of Simon Karstoft andJonathon Bay. The three were one-two-three going into today and finished the regatta in the same order. “After a really good start, our goal was to control them and we managed to do that,” said Christidis matter-of-factly. “Usually we have a longer rest after our Worlds, which this year were held in January in the Bahamas (the team finished fourth), but we came right to Miami because this event and the World Cup is very important to us.

In RS:X Men’s (windsurfing), The Netherlands’ defending champion Dorian Rijsselberghe watched Spain’s Ivan Pastor most closely in his play to win the gold. With a short 500-meter windward leg, Rijsselberghe’s entire race took less than 30 minutes to complete. As he tells it, he was next to Pastor at the start boat, and in the beginning Pastor was controlling him. “But the more we were going the more I got control,” said Rijsselberghe, “just by speed and hard work.” Then it was the tacking game. “My goal was first to get rid of him to be sure he was not in front, then start racing others.”

The light 7-9 knot breezes were typical of “pumping conditions” that have prevailed here for the windsurfers and continually tested their physical strength. “In these conditions you have a maximum heart rate of 4-5 times normal, and you have to get ‘over the hump,’ as we say and get up on a plane. Today there was not a lot of wind, but just enough to have a nice race.” Pastor took the silver, while France’s Julien Bontemps won the bronze.

In RS:X Women’s , the battle between Spanish teammates Marina Alabau, the defending champion, and Blanca Manchon, yesterday’s leader, wound up with Alabau snatching gold and Manchon settling for silver. “I was worried for the French as well at the start,” said Alabau, “but it was me who rolled Blanca, and she had to tack to the wrong side. I was more concentrated on not losing second, but thinking maybe to get a first. By the first mark, I was second behind Laura (Linares of Italy), and I just had to keep my position.”

Linares, who won today’s race, took the bronze and epitomizes the up-and-coming youth contingent at this regatta. Coming into today in fourth, the 19-year-old said, “I was determined more than in any other of the races. I was calm; I believed in myself. I just finished a youth period and now I am not anymore a youth, so I am entering another period where it will be my job to be a professional sailor trying for the Olympics.”

“Not only did we have terrific racing this week by the best sailors in the world,” said Gary Bodie (Hampton, Va.), Regatta Co-Chairperson, “but also we had the best, most qualified group of volunteers we’ve ever had. They worked tirelessly to run a superb event.”

Medals were awarded tonight to the top three boats in each Olympic and Paralympic event at a ceremony held at Coral Reef Yacht Club. In addition to her gold medal, Paige Railey was chosen to receive US SAILING’s Golden Torch Award, given to the American sailor deemed to have the best overall performance among all classes. Tunnicliffe was the last athlete to win the award in 2006, so she presented Railey with the trophy.

US SAILING’s 2010 Rolex Miami OCR
Top-three Finishes Day Six – Final

Star (26 boats) – 11 races
1. Eivind Melleby/Petter Morland Pederson (NOR), 1-11-2-(20)-1-1-2-2-8-2-6, 36
2. Andy Horton/James Lyne (Burlington, Vt., USA/Granville, Vt., USA), 2-1-3-1-4-5-(25/OCS)-1-6-4-10, 37
3. Mark Mendelblatt/John Von Schwarz (St. Petersburg, Fla., USA/Annapolis, Md., USA), 8-8-1-11-(25/OCS)-2-1-5-2-14, 55

49er (36 boats) – 16 races
1. Manu Dyen/Stephane Christidis (FRA), 2-6-3-7-9-1-(15)-6-1-10-(10/OCS/RDG)-10-3-4-(37/OCS)-6, 93
2. Nico LM Delle Karth/Nikolaus Leopold Resch (AUT), 3-5-4-14-11-8-3-5-7-14-(20)-5-2-2-15-12, 110
3. Simon Karstoft/Jonathon Bay (DEN), 10-23-2-5-6-3-12-14-9-3-3-3-1-(37/BFD)-8-16, 118

Laser Radial (57 boats) – 11 races
1. Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla., USA), 1-1-4-10-3-9-3-1-(58/BFD)-1-2, 35
2. Alicia Cebrian (ESP), (58/BFD)-2-19-5-1-4-4-5-20-8-6, 74
3. Alison Young (GBR), 3-11-16-1-8-(25)-11-9-13-24-16, 112

Laser (104 boats)-11 races
1. Nick Thompson (GBR), 1-6-1-1-(23)-13-1-1-1-3-6, 34
2. Jean-Baptiste Bernaz (FRA), 2-11-14-11-1-3-8-(25)-16-8-10, 84
3. Kyle Rogachenko (GBR), 12-9-9-15-9-3-10-4-(27)-1-14-86

470 Men (34 boats) – 11 races
1. Anton Dahlberg/Sebastian A-stling (SWE), 7-4-2-8-11-(19)-4-4-16-5-2, 63
2. Mathew Belcher/Malcolm Page (AUS), 3-(19)-10-18-5-2-1-17-2-3-6, 67
3. Gideon Kliger/Eran Sela (ISR), 2-6-4-6-12-(13)-2-13-6-9-10, 70

470 Women (26 boats) – 11 races
1. Amanda Clark/Sarah Chin (Shelter Island Heights, N.Y.,USA/Hoboken N.J., USA), 7-6-2-1-3-1-(13)-3-3-8-10, 44
2. Ingrid Petitjean/Nadege Douroux (FRA), 10-2-1-(11)-5-2-1-2-4-6-14, 47
3. Henriette Koch/Lene Sommer (DEN), 8-4-5-6-1-(10)-2-1-2-3-18, 50

Finn (37 boats) – 11 races
1. Edward Wright (GBR), 1-2-(19)-1-4-1-1-3-5-2-8, 28
2. Giles Scott (GBR), 2-7-1-3-3-3-(8)-6-2-7-14, 48
3. Gasper Vincec (SLO), 5-12-5-8-(19)-2-7-1-3-1-3-5-4, 52

Elliott 6m (24 boats)
1. Anna Tunnicliffe/Molly Vandemoer/Debbie Capozzi (Plantation, Fla., USA/Palo Alto, Calif., USA/Bayport, N.Y., USA)
2. Lucy Macgregor/Annie Lush/Ally Martin (GBR)
3. Claire Leroy/Marie Riou/Elodie Bertrand (FRA)

RS:X Women (25 boats) – 9 races
1. Marina Alabau (ESP), 2-2-(4)-2-4-2-1-3-4, 20
2. Blanca Manchon (ESP), 1-1-(10)-3-2-1-4-1-8, 21
3. Laura Linares (ITA), (6)-4-2-1-5-6-2-4-2, 26

RS:X Men (37 boats) – 9 races
1. Dorian Rijsselberghe (NED), 1-1-2-7-1-5-(9)-4-8, 29
2. Ivan Pastor (ESP), 6-5-4-1-2-3-2-(12)-10, 33
3. Julien Bontemps (FRA), 5-10-1-9-7-(16)-10-1-2, 45

2.4mR (28 boats) – 10 races
Paul Tingley (CAN), 5-5-7-2-1-1-4-(9)-1-3, 29
Thierry Schmitter (NED), 1-3-6-3-2-4-(29/DSQ)-2-9-2, 32
John Ruf (Pewaukee, Wis.,USA), 2-1-2-10-3-6-1-(11)-8-1, 34

Sonar (9 boats) – 10 races
1. Aleksander Wang-Hansen/Per Eugen Kristiansen/Marie Solberg (NOR), 1-4-1-1-3-1-1-3-(7)-1, 16
2. John Robertson/Hannah Stodel/Steve Thomas (GBR), 3-3-2-6-1-2-2-1-(8)-4, 24
3. Rick Doerr/Brad Kendall/Hugh Freund (Clifton, N.J., USA/Tampa, Fla., USA/South Freeport, Me., USA), 4-(8)-4-4-4-3-3-2-2-2, 28

SKUD-18 (7 boats)-10 races
1. Scott Whitman/Julia Dorsett (Brick, N.J., USA/Boca Raton, Fla., USA), 1-3-1-1-1-2-2-2-1-(8/BNF), 14
2. Jennifer French/Jean-Paul Creignou (St. Petersburg, Fla., USA/St. Petersburg, Fla., USA), 2-2-3-4-6-1-1-1-(8/OCS)-1, 21
3. John McRoberts/Brenda Hopkin (CAN), 3-4-2-2-3-4-(6)-4-2-2, 26

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Jessica Watson

Jessica Watson

16 year old Jessica Watson is gearing up for the most dangerous part of her solo round-the-world voyage.  The teenager is heading for the world’s most deadly stretch of sea, Cape Horn, relying solely on the headsail after suffering a problem with the mainsail.  Jessica Watson’s parents have flown to South America in the hope of catching sight of her as she rounds Cape Horn.

Cape Horn is notorious for strong winds, big waves, strong currents and icebergs. But despite admitting to being a “little bit on edge” because of the strong winds and cold, the Australian teenager is in good spirits and enjoying the challenging conditions. “The cabin temp has been sitting on 4C. The wind chill outside is really quite something. Handling wet lines on deck is just downright painful, but mostly I’m staying toasty warm in all my layers,” she said.

Jessica Watson is expected to reach Cape Horn early next week. If Jessica completes the trip around the world, she will become the youngest solo yachtsman to circumnavigate the globe.

More news about Jessica Watson:
Jessica Watson Sailing for a Record?
Jessica Watson Gets a Beating Sailing to Sydney
Jessica Watson Warned to Call off Sailing Trip

Geoff Holt

Disabled Sailor Geoff Holt by OCVision

Record-breaking disabled sailor Geoff Holt is starting on his 2,700 mile journey to cross the Atlantic. Returning to the scene of the accident that paralysed him 25 years ago, Geoff is sailing across some of the most hostile waters in the world on his 60 foot catamaran sailboat Impossible Dream. If he makes it, he will be the first quadriplegic sailor to make the journey, unassisted in every aspect of the sailing.

This is not Geoff Holt’s first time in the spotlight. In 2007, Geoff sailed his way into the record books when he completed his Personal Everest when he became the first disabled yachtsman to sail single-handed around Great Britain.

Geoff says that this will be his first time he will be away from his wife Elaine and 7 year old son Tim at Christmas time, but he will not be spending it alone as whilst Geoff is a vastly experienced yachtsman he does need someone to help with his personal care. New Zealand born, Susana Scott who has specialist skills in caring for those with a high-level disability will provide care for Geoff, but will have no input into the sailing.

Geoff explains why this is such a personal challenge, ‘I’ve been living off the memories. I now want to relive the experience. It seems right to sail back to Cane Garden Bay in Tortola in the British Virgin Islands as this is where I had my accident. I will be returning as a quadriplegic yachtsman and it is a personal challenge where I feel I will be closing the circle from having my accident and returning again as a yachtsman.’

Read an interview with Geoff Holt here: Geoff Holt Interview


Laura Dekker

14 Girl Not Sailing Around the World, Yet

Netherlands — A Dutch court has ruled that 14-year-old Laura Dekker is not yet experienced enough to set off on a record-breaking sailing trip around the world alone.

Judges at Utrecht District Court also placed Laura Dekker under the guardianship of child protection authorities until next July.

The ruling on Friday means Laura can keep living with her father but her parents must consult child protection authorities about all major decisions in her life and she cannot begin her planned solo trip.

Judges said plans to ensure Laura’s safety on the voyage were insufficient for them to let her set sail.

After a closed court hearing on Monday, Laura Dekker said she plans to wait until next May, after school ends, to embark on the voyage.


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16-year-old Jessica Watson will begin her bid to become the youngest round-the-world solo sailor on Sunday, her spokesman said, defying calls to cancel the trip after she crashed on a test voyage.

Jessica Watson will sail out of Sydney Harbour in her bright pink yacht, Ella’s Pink Lady, early on Sunday after days of strong winds abated, spokesman Andrew Fraser said on Saturday.

“We were always hoping we could get her away on the weekend, and it has all fallen into place,” Fraser said.

“She’s absolutely 100 percent happy with the preparation and the boat and the conditions are looking good. Her head space is really good.”

Watson will be given a private send-off by family and friends for the well-publicised trip, but crowds of onlookers are expected to gather along the harbour as she heads for the high seas.

The teenage adventurer hit the headlines last month when she crashed into a 63,000-tonne cargo ship just hours into a dummy run after apparently dozing off, snapping her yacht’s mast and damaging its rigging and hull.

Marine safety experts said she was lucky to have stayed afloat and reported seeing childish doodles on her navigation charts, prompting calls from senior officials for her to abandon the attempt.

“There are people out there who I suppose have their doubts, and rightly so because it’s a big, scary and possibly dangerous thing, but I am not here without confidence,” Watson said later.

Watson hopes to complete the hazardous 23,000 nautical mile journey alone and unaided, bettering fellow Australian Jesse Martin who finished the feat aged 18 in 1999.

In August, Britain’s Mike Perham, 17, became the youngest person to sail round the world but rudder problems and other hitches forced him to pull into port three times.

Watson will sleep in 20-minute bursts and has had a new, powerful alarm fitted on her boat to stop any recurrences of her September accident.

Her bid follows a ruling by a Dutch court in August that 13-year-old Laura Dekkers could not embark on a solo round-the-world voyage and should be placed in the care of social services.

In February, 72-year-old Jure Sterk went missing off the Australian coast after setting sail from New Zealand in October 2007 in his yacht, Lunatic, on a bid to become the world’s oldest non-stop circumnavigator.

Jessica Watson‘s route will take her north from Sydney to the equator above New Zealand, around South America’s treacherous Cape Horn and back via the Southern Atlantic and the Cape of Good Hope.

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