Jessica Watson to pass Cape Horn

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Australian teenager ready for notorious landmark

Jessica Watson to pass Cape Horn
Jessica Watson to pass Cape Horn

Far from the comforts of home or a boating holiday, 16-year-old Jessica Watson was expected to pass Cape Horn, at the southern tip of South America, in the early hours of tomorrow (Thursday, January 14).

The adventurous Sunshine Coast teenager was surfing aboard her S&S 34 Ella’s Pink Lady before 35-knot winds and three-metre seas, revelling in some of the sprightliest conditions since she set out three months ago (mid-October) from Sydney to be the youngest to sail around the world.

Her parents were readying themselves to take to the air and circle overhead in a plane, while boats from the Chilean and Argentinean navies are expected to swing by to give her a wave.

"It's been over a month since I've seen another boat and almost three months since I've seen another person, so I feel totally thrilled and spoiled to have so many guests all at once," she writes in her blog.

Owing to strong (williwaw) winds, large rogue waves (up to 30 metres in height), plus stiff ocean currents, if not icebergs (in winter), Cape Horn is considered a sailors' graveyard and rounding the landmark, which requires you sail south of 56 degrees, is regarded one of the major challenges in yachting.

A Horn sailor is thereafter entitled to wear a gold loop earring — in the left ear, the one which had faced the Horn in a typical eastbound passage — and to dine with one foot on the table. – David Lockwood

Photo: Jessica Watson.


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