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Australian teen embarks on round-the-world quest

Oct 19, 2009 Australian teenager Jessica Watson has set sail on an attempt to become the youngest person to sail around the world alone.  The sixteen year-old set sail amid a storm of controversy over whether she should be allowed to proceed with her voyage, given her lack of experience and a recent collision with a cargo vessel.  

From Bloomberg.com:

Jessica Watson, 16, who set sail from Sydney yesterday, expects to spend about 240 days at sea on a 23,000-nautical mile (42,596-kilometer) journey that will take her past Fiji, up to the equator, then on to Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope before she heads back to Australia.

Her record attempt, backed by more than 30 sponsors and suppliers including skincare brand Ella Bache and Panasonic, has prompted warnings that she is too young and inexperienced to take on such a challenge. Watson's collision last month with a 63,000-ton Chinese bulk carrier as she sailed to Sydney from the northeastern state of Queensland where she lives handed ammunition to those urging her to reconsider the trip.

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