16-year-old Queensland teen sets sail for record attempt

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Sydney, Oct.18 (ANI): Teenage Queensland adventurer Jessica Watson has finally set sail on her quest to becoming the youngest person to sail solo around the world.

The 16-year-old's spokesman, Andrew Fraser, said Jessica got off to a good start and many people came out in boats and lined the headland to cheer her on when she took off aboard her yacht, Ella's Pink Lady, from the Spit in Middle Harbour.

"There is probably about 100 boats out here (seeing her off)," news.com.au quoted Fraser, as saying.raser said the weather conditions were good and that winds should pick up once she got past the heads.

NSW Maritime boats escorted Jessica out of the Heads.

The teenager from Queensland's Sunshine Coast and her team spent Saturday "fine-tuning" their preparations and planned to get a good night's sleep.

Fraser said she was relieved and upbeat to be finally beginning her voyage, after being delayed in Sydney by gusty winds last week.

Jessica is setting off on her quest despite calls for her to abandon the voyage from the likes of the Queensland Government and some of Australia's most experienced sailors.

Concerns were heightened when her yacht collided with a 63,000-tonne cargo vessel off North Stradbroke Island during an aborted journey to Sydney last month.

Fraser dismissed the doubters.

"Let's have this conversation in eight months," he said.

After leaving Sydney, the 16-year-old will head towards northern New Zealand, then to Fiji, Samoa, South America and South Africa, then sail the final leg of 4000 nautical miles back to Australia. Her route will be similar to that taken by Australian Kay Cottee, who became the first woman to sail solo, unassisted and non-stop around the world in 1988. (ANI)

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