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Jessica Watson's Homecoming - Part 5 (One HD)

1y ago
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Sixteen year-old Jessica Watson returned to Sydney Harbour from her seven month around the world non-stop unassisted voyage to be hailed a hero a word you heard come from many mouths on Saturday May 15. Running late, after sailing her S&S34 Ellas Pink Lady a little far north, and grappling with a torn main, Watson ended up having to beat into a cold harsh wind on a big swell, instead of surfing into the Harbour with the wind behind her, delaying her 11.30am entrance by some two hours. Little did it matter to the crowds on and off the water, in fact more and more people seemed to appear in both places as the day wore on. The sky was buzzing with choppers and a sky-writing plane which emblazoned Jessica across the sky, while Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Premier Kristina Keneally were kept waiting at the Opera house their secretaries must have been kept extremely busy changing the appointment books. I went offshore with John Winning and a few mates from the Vaucluse Yacht Club and we joined the throng on a very lumpy sea. Along the way we saw other famous single-handed distance sailors Ian Bicky Kiernan and Jesse Martin and other famous sailing faces, along with the rest of the sailing community and general public on hire boats. Every shoreline was filled to capacity, as far as Bondi Beach, along North Head, Camp Cove, Nielsen Park, Bradleys Head, to name a few and finally the Opera House, which was packed to capacity. Others in town to welcome Watson home included triple world non-stop unassisted sailor Jon Saunders, and one-lapper David Dicks, along with British round the world assisted sailor Mike Perham. One wit on our boat said they should rename Watsons Bay Watsons Bay, as it was the last Bay Watson, who is due to turn 17 on Tuesday, saw as she left Sydney Harbour on October 17 last year. Watson, in her usual way, was in great spirits when she arrived back on the Harbour. Waving to the crowds on a cold day, she was wearing shorts, which her mother could help remarking on. However, you could see the emotion on the Queensland sailors face at times as she sailed up the Harbour, clearly overcome by the fact she had finished and by the crowds there to cheer her on a different story from the day she left when there were only a handful of spectators. Jesse Martin and Mke Perham joined Watson aboard her boat on Sydney Harbour once the finish siren had been sounded and then she was finally reunited with her family, breaking down in her proud parents arms. Her father and brother helped the Buderim teenager up the pink carpet to the podium where the Prime Minister and the Premier were waiting to greet her. Watson handled criticism from the media and general public when she hit a ship on her practice run to Sydney with remarkable maturity, she did the same again when a website owner accused her publicly of not going the distance (as she should have; he is not the yachting expert he makes out but someone always looking to the last chance for some self-publicity). Yesterday, she handled herself with the same aplomb, embracing all, including those whose minds have been changed by this remarkable girl who is yet to finish school and is looking forward to getting her drivers learner permit! Jessica Watson is a hero and a great role model for other young people to go out and live life to the full and to live their dreams.