Great sailing, Jessica


Sir Francis Chichester was one of my childhood heroes.

He was the first person to sail single-handed around the world by the clipper route, and the fastest circumnavigator, taking nine months and one day overall.

I don’t know how many records Jessica Watson broke in her circumnavigation which finished yesterday, but sailing solo round the world, aged 16, in just 210 days is an impressive feat.

So too is her message:

Watson urged others to follow her example by living out their dreams.

“I don’t consider myself a hero. I’m an ordinary girl who believed in her dream,” she told a large, cheering welcome-home crowd in Sydney.

“You don’t have to be someone special to achieve something amazing. You’ve just got to have a dream, believe in it and work hard.”

Watson said she hoped her voyage proved what could be achieved by setting your mind to it.

“Anything really is possible.”

I wonder what her parents felt about her embarking on such a journey.

Had she come to grief en route they would have been called irresponsible for letting their daughter attempt such a feat.

Now that she’s succeeded they can be praised for helping her accomplish her dream.

September 17 in history


On September 17:

1787 The USA Constitution was signed.

1883 USA writer William Carlos Williams was born.

1901 English adventurer Sir Francis Chichester was born.

Norfolk Island two cent stamp commemorating Chichester’s arrival in his Gypsy Moth in 1931.

1929 English racing car driver Sir Stirling Moss was born.

1931 US actor Anne Bancroft was born.

1941 The death penalty was abolished in New Zealand.

1944 the airborne invasion of Holland began. Operation Market Garden is celebrated annually.

Waves of paratroopers land in the Netherlands during Operation Market Garden in September 1944.

Sourced from BBC On This Day, NZ History Online and Wikipedia.

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