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Round-the-world Aussie teen sailor enters home stretch

An Australian teenager aiming to become the youngest person to sail solo and unassisted around the world was days away from completing her goal on Monday, after battling the worst conditions of her trip.

After completing more than 20,000 nautical miles, schoolgirl Jessica Watson had to fight harsh weather while sailing around Tasmania, with 12 metre-high (40-foot) swells and 55-knot winds buffeting her boat.

"The last two weeks were the most difficult," Watson's manager Andrew Fraser There are several notable people by the name of Andrew Fraser:
  • Drew Fraser, an Australian academic who sparked a major furore over academic freedom during 2005
 told AFP (1) (AppleTalk Filing Protocol) The file sharing protocol used in an AppleTalk network. In order for non-Apple networks to access data in an AppleShare server, their protocols must translate into the AFP language. See file sharing protocol. .

"That region of ocean is quite notorious for its treacherous conditions. We are just relieved that Jessica has managed to safely negotiate her way through."

The dangerous weather has taken its toll on the teenager, who on her blog reported sore muscles and bruises after her 33-foot bright pink yacht "Ella's Pink Lady" fought through the huge waves.

In her latest entry on Monday, the 16-year-old said she had rounded Tasmania's South-East Cape and was now sailing north towards Sydney.

"I never expected rounding Tasmania to be much of a big deal, but all of last week's struggles made finally getting around the (South East) Cape 10 times sweeter," Watson wrote.

Watson is less than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometres) from the finish line of her 23,000 nautical mile (38,000 km) solo round-the-world trip, non-stop and unassisted.

The teenager was criticised before setting off on October 18 last year, after doubts were raised by authorities over her ability to complete the arduous journey alone.

She headed east over the Pacific and briefly crossed the equator before rounding South America's Cape Horn Noun 1. Cape Horn - a rocky headland belonging to Chile at the southernmost tip of South America (south of Tierra del Fuego)
Chile, Republic of Chile - a republic in southern South America on the western slopes of the Andes on the south Pacific coast
, sailing across the Atlantic and below Africa's Cape of Good Hope Noun 1. Cape of Good Hope - a point of land in southwestern South Africa (south of Cape Town)
2. Cape of Good Hope - a province of western South Africa

Cape of Good Hope n
 before crossing the Indian Ocean back to Australia.

The difficult sailing conditions have forced Watson to delay her date of arrival in Sydney, initially thought to be May 8 or 9.

"There are more gales forecast, so we will get a better idea later this week on when she will arrive. It should be the weekend of 15-16 May," Fraser said.

"She's not under any pressure to arrive earlier. This will allow her to catch up with some much-needed sleep."

Watson now looks set to beat the record set by Australian Jesse Martin For the American actor, see Jesse L. Martin. For the American politician, see Jesse M. Martin.
Jesse Martin (born August 26, 1981, Dachau, Germany) is an Australian sailor who in 1999 became the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe solo, non-stop, and unassisted.
, who completed the journey aged 18 in 1999.
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Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:May 3, 2010
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