Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tania Aebi and Jessica Watson

I am reading a fantastic book right now called Maiden Voyage written by Tania Aebi. When she was 18 years old, Tania's father told her that in lieu of college, she could go sailing around the world. She had very little sailing experience (and no boat), so they bought her a 26' boat and she sailed away from New York harbor with her cat Dinghy. She learned about the boat and sailing along the way, avoiding disaster through pure luck. Very quickly she learned how to navigate by the stars, fix her own engine, and battle brutal storms without a single soul to help her.

Her journey began in 1987.

22 years later, I have picked up this book and can feel the seasickness as she sails to the French Polynesians, and cry when I read of her mother's death along the way. It is a book I cannot put down, yet I don't want it to end, either.

On October 18th, another young soul set out to see if she could follow the same journey. Jessica Watson, at just 16 years of age, plans on becoming the youngest person to sail around the world unassisted. Her boat, a 34 footer is much larger than the 26 feet that Tania had to handle, but probably much better equipped. Regardless, it is fantastic to see these people going out there and taking on the world, literally. I plan on following her blog along the way, and hopefully she will have as interesting a story to tell as Tania did.

Maybe someday, Justin and I will be so lucky as to sail as we please, not tied down to land (hence Jigsaw Indexing), but for now I am happy that I can sit down next to the fireplace and curl up with a wonderful story of a young girl learning of life and happiness as she sails the high seas with her head held high.

1 comment:

  1. Jenny - Just came across your blog when I was searching for recent stories on Jessica. It surprised me to see both Jessica and Tania mentioned, so I decided to take a look. We had the opportunity to meet Tania when she was visiting San Diego and she was giving a talk on her voyage. I remember reading the book a number of years ago. We have also met Jessica. We sailed our boat from San Diego to Australia during the 2001-2008 timeframe. When we arrived in Mooloolaba, the Watson family occupied the berth next to us. We met Jess then (2004), but, I'm not sure she was thinking of this adventure at that time (she would have been only 11). We heard about her plans while we were still in Australia (2007), but we had left Mooloolaba. We've been following her trip closely ever since. She's got a lot of determination. It's a huge challenge to sail a small boat in the Southern Ocean, to say nothing of solo unassisted and non-stop! Good luck with your future plans to sail your boat. It's a great thing to go cruising. I retired early in 2000 and decided to live the dream. Our boat is named Final Straw, and she's a Mason 54. You can see more about her and our Pacific crossing at

    Clark Straw