Day One: Youngest Around Alone Collides with a Chinese Bulk Carrier

jessica watson dismasted

To add fuel to the fiery argument of how young is too young to sail around the world alone, Jessica Watson’s Pink Lady had a challenging start to her quest when she collided on her first night with the Silver Yang, a Chinese bulk carrier.


Here’s a video from a press conference after the incident which gives you the opportunity to see the teen’s take first hand.

Initial reports of this incident indicate that the Chinese vessel was at fault. However, from all that I can tell this is purely speculation at this point. There will be an investigation which will determine what happened on the first fateful night of Jessica’s adventure.

Here’s a link to an interview with Jessica’s parents. It’s great that they are proud of Jessica.  They should be; she’s a very impressive young woman. However, what she encountered on her first day at sea alone is only the tip of the iceberg of experiences she will encounter if she continues. In this case,  she was lucky she was within ten miles of port. How will she (and her parents and the general public) hold up if she dismasts in the middle of the ocean, thousands of miles from the nearest port and maybe even from other ships?

In any case, Jessica’s incident underscores the perils of going to sea. Being alone in a small boat adds a whole other dimension of risk.

So, Jessica, her parents and all of us, need to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. This is real risk that is dangerous at any age. Godspeed.

Published by

Peter A. Mello

Father, son. Lifelong mariner, student of leadership, photographer. Professional creative placemaker.

3 thoughts on “Day One: Youngest Around Alone Collides with a Chinese Bulk Carrier”

  1. Personally I am not in favour of solo sailing, because it does not allow for running a proper watch schedule. Having sailed commercially myself, I think that sailing solo is taking a big risk, and also puts other people at risk.

    What makes me angry is that the captain of the Chinese vessel did not stop to render assistance, and instead made a runner.

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