Born 18 May, 1993 in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, Jessica Watson started sailing when she was eight years old and still afraid of the water.
When Jessica was 11 and living on a boat, her mother, Julie, read Jesse Martin’s book, Lionheart, to Jessica and her siblings. Jessica had never thought she could be an adventurer, but listening to Jesse’s story, she realized that he was just an ordinary person with a dream. She could do what Jesse did. She could sail around the world.
On 18 October 2009, she departed Sydney, aiming to achieve her dream and become the youngest ever to sail solo, non-stop, and unassisted around the world. During the journey no other person would be allowed to give her anything and she must not moor to any port or other boat.
Nearly seven months later, on 15 May, 2010, Jessica was greeted by a sight she will remember for the rest of her life. After having not seen a person for seven months and having viewed land in the distance on only three occasions during that time, Jessica was greeted by 1,600 support boats and over 100,000 adoring fans on the Sydney Harbour foreshores waiting for her to cross the finish line. Across the country, a national television audience watched as history unfolded and every major network in Australia broadcast the final four hours of her voyage.
As she docked at the Sydney Opera House, the country wept with pride. She walked up a pink welcome-home carpet, met the Prime Minister on stage, and then delivered what many believe is one of the most simple, brilliant, and inspirational speeches of all time, replying to the Prime Minister’s summary of her as the newest Australian hero:
“I don’t consider myself a hero. I’m an ordinary girl who believed in a dream. You don’t have to be someone special or anything special to achieve something amazing. You’ve just got to have a dream, believe in it and work hard. And I’d also like to think that by sailing solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world that I’ve proved what really can be achieved when you set your mind to it. That anything really is possible.” Jessica Watson 15 May, 2010
During Jessica’s voyage, it was her writings that captivated people the most. She became a storyteller, and her fan base grew, with over five million hits on her website when she sailed into Sydney.
Within three months of her return, Jessica wrote a book, True Spirit, telling the story of her epic voyage. After the book was released it went straight to number 1 on the best-seller list. Then Jessica also released a documentary of her journey, narrated by Sir Richard Branson.
Jessica Watson’s story is an inspiring one that ultimately proves that we all have the power to live our dreams – no matter how small or big they are.
In January, she was awarded the prestigious honour of 2011 Young Australian of the Year.
Jessica skippered the youngest crew ever to compete in the 66 year history of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race in December 2011, aboard Ella Bache another Challenge. The crew boasted an average age of just 19. Jessica won the Jane Tate Trophy for first female skipper to finish and the crew finished 37th overall, recording an incredible 2nd place result in the highly competitive Sydney 38 Division!
In January 2012, Jessica was named in the Australia Day Honours list, being awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM), for her services to sailing, youth and being a role model for young Australians.
Jessica was a part of the Perpetual Loyal supermaxi which sailed in 2013 Sydney to Hobart. The team finished 2nd overall.
In 2016, Jessica is studying for an MBA, continuing her speaking engagegements and will act as a consultant for the film based on her journey around the world titled "TRUE SPIRIT".