World Records

16-Year-Old Sets Sail

Falcon Heene may not have even made it out of his attic, but one young’un set off on a real adventure this week: Jessica Watson, a 16-year-old Australian, began her attempt at solo circumnavigation on Sunday when she left Sydney in her yacht. She plans on spending the next eight months at sea sailing some 28,000 miles around the world on her 10-meter boat, hoping to become the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe alone. Her departure was not without controversy, however: the government in her home state of Queensland, as well as some of Australia’s most experienced sailors, have urged her not to try. Watson’s attempt comes just a few months after 13-year-old Laura Dekker of Holland was ordered into state care to scuttle her own plans to break the record; the current record-holder is 17-year-old Mike Perham, who completed his circumnavigation in August.