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Solo sailor's efforts stalled -

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Sunshine Coast teenager, Jessica Watson's attempt to become the youngest sailor to circumnavigate
the globe has been stalled even before it has begun. Early this morning her boat collided with a
bulk carrier off the Queensland coast and it's mast was broken, but the 16-year-old is undeterred.


ALI MOORE, PRESENTER: A Sunshine Coast teenager's aim to become the youngest person to sail around
the world has stalled before it's even begun.

Early this morning Jessica Watson's yacht collided with a bulk carrier off the Queensland coast.
The intrepid 16-year-old adventurer wasn't hurt but her boat was damaged and its mast broken.

She is undeterred and plans to press ahead with her mission once her boat is repaired.

John Taylor reports from Queensland.

JOHN TAYLOR, REPORTER: Only yesterday this was Jessica Watson, in beautiful conditions buoyantly
heading from the Sunshine Coast to Sydney for final sea trials.

It was to be the 16-year-old's last journey before attempting to sail into history as the youngest
person to ever go round the world solo, non-stop.

But about 16 hours later she needed help.

REPORTER: When you ring your dad and you basically say you've nearly been run down in a shipping

JESSICA WATSON, SOLO SAILOR: No, no, I go, it's alright really. I'm OK but I lost half my mast,

JESSE MARTIN, SOLO SAILOR: Hitting or a tanker hitting you is a fairly big deal.

JOHN TAYLOR: Water police escorted Jessica Watson and her crippled boat into the Gold Coast today.
Around 2am this morning Australian Eastern Standard Time, her yacht collided with the 225-metre
bulk carrier.

The ship kept going, but Jessica Watson's mast was broken.

JESSICA WATSON: I was down below, yeah. But again we will go into it in more detail later.

REPORTER: Were you asleep when it happened?

JESSICA WATSON: We will go into the details later.

We don't want to talk about the incident - we're not allowed to. We're under instructions from the
Maritime Safety Board.

I would like to say God bless Youngest Round.

JOHN TAYLOR: The teenager launched her campaign in May this year with her yacht christened with
soft drink.

Her adventure was inspired years before by her mother's bed-time reading to her about another solo
sailor, Australian Jesse Martin, who set a world record as an 18-year-old back in 1999.

He was shocked by today's collision but knows only too well that close calls happen.

JESSE MARTIN: On my trip there was one time where I woke up and there was a tanker 100 metres or so
behind me.

So the danger had passed. But, you know, that was probably a good thing because I may have freaked
out if I had seen it coming for me.

JOHN TAYLOR: Out in the middle of the ocean, Jessica Watson will be relying on her own wits, with
rescuers far away.

Despite today's incident, Jesse Martin believes she shouldn't be discouraged.

JESSE MARTIN: No, I don't think she should reconsider. It's a good thing probably that it's
happened now. It probably gives her a chance to know the feeling of adrenaline before her trip
actually does start.

So you could probably put this down to training.

JOHN TAYLOR: Jessica Watson is not the only teenage girl with grand aspirations to sail around the
world. Last month in the Netherlands, a 13-year-old girl was placed under the care of the Dutch
Council for Child Protection to stop her from making a solo attempt.

Jessica Watson's parents say their daughter has the sailing experience necessary and fully support
her adventure.

JULIE WATSON, MOTHER: She's it. Honestly, she's it.

ROGER WATSON, FATHER: And I know that all parents will say that their child can do this or do that,
but we believe she is it. She is the person that can do it.

JOHN TAYLOR: She has plenty of other backers as well. The damaged boat isn't even hers. It belongs
to another adventurer, Don McIntyre.

DON MCINTYRE, ADVENTURER: Things are getting really grim here at the moment. Adventure is something
that can be a swear word to a lot of people.

As soon as you say adventure, they say rescue. And there's a lot of people that sort of question
the values of it. But the bottom line is; if we keep wrapping up our society and our young kids in
cotton wool, which is what we're doing, we're changing the culture of Australia.

Australia needs heroes, Australia needs adventurers and there's a lot of real serious positive
benefits from anyone that's getting out there and having a go, and chasing their dreams and really
pushing themselves to the limit.

JOHN TAYLOR: Since declaring her goal, a young girl has been growing up fast, and mixing with some
of Australia's finest sailors.

At this recent Gold Coast boat show her lead in act was acclaimed Australian yachtsman Mark
Richards, skipper of four Sydney to Hobart line honours winners.

MARK RICHARDS, CHAMPION SAILOR: I worked out today the circumnavigation is about 23,000 nautical
miles which is 37 Sydney to Hobart's back to back. So you're going to be about 32 ahead of me! It's
lot. I can't believe it. Anyway, I would just like to wish you all the best of luck.

JESSICA WATSON: Probably wondering why ... why does a 16-year-old girl want to sail solo around the
world. It's not something that's easy to answer. But I wanted a challenge, an adventure, to do
something amazing, to achieve something, and add a girl's name to those lists.

JOHN TAYLOR: Today, despite the setback of a collision with a cargo ship, she remains optimistic
and determined.

JESSICA WATSON: I suppose the big thing for me is that I came through the whole thing feeling
confident. I mean, I won't play it down

It was a pretty scary incident. And it was great to actually know what to do. Years of kind of
planning and learning and it all just happened right and when I called home everyone jumped into
action and it all worked beautifully. So that was pretty cool.