The father of Jessica Watson, who hopes to become the youngest person to sail solo and unassisted across the globe, has said it would be worse to deny his daughter permission to attempt the record than to lose her during the voyage.
Roger Watson said he was 100% supportive of his daughter’s ambitious plan to sail solo around the world.
“It would be devastating if we lost her but I still think it would be worse to say ‘no you can’t go’ because of that risk, because of what she’s put into it,” he told the local current affairs programme 60 Minutes.
Andrew Cape, an Australian who has sailed around Cape Horn seven times, wrote to Jessica to “make known my concerns regarding your planned record attempt”.
“I do not want to shatter your dreams but to undertake such a voyage requires more experience than you currently have,” Cape wrote in a letter delivered to Jessica.
He said heading straight into the huge waves of the Southern Ocean was “foolish”.
Despite the warning, and colliding with a 63,000tonne cargo ship on a training sail last month, Jessica would not be persuaded against making the record attempt.
For the next eight months, as she sails across more than 21,000 nautical miles of ocean, she will live aboard the 34-foot yacht Ella’s Pink Lady with little except a satellite phone and internet access for company.
Her location will be tracked by a GPS device attached to her clothing as she voyages round Cape Horn and on towards the Cape of Good Hope.