SYDNEY - After a seven-month journey that spanned the globe, an Australian
teen sailor crossed the finish line of her round-the-world journey Saturday,
becoming the youngest person to sail solo, nonstop and unassisted around the
Thousands of spectators erupted into cheers as 16-year-old Jessica Watson
maneuvered her pink 34-foot (10-meter) yacht into Sydney Harbour, the finale
to an epic adventure in which she battled 40-foot (12-meter) waves,
homesickness and critics who said she'd never make it home alive.
Watson's feat, however, will not be considered an official world record,
because the World Speed Sailing Record Council discontinued its "youngest"
And though she sailed nearly 23,000 nautical miles, some sailing enthusiasts
have also argued that Watson didn't travel far enough north of the equator
for her journey to count as a true round-the-world sail as defined by the
record council's rules. Watson's managers have dismissed those claims and
argued she doesn't need to adhere to the council's rules anyway, since they
won't be recognizing her voyage.