Outdoor Life correspondent Gayne Young looks to the past and the present to find the outdoor personalities that prove just how wimpy the rest of us really are.
Among my many accomplishments at age 16 were getting a driver’s license, having a part time lifeguarding job at the city pool, and making out with Jenny Evans on her living room couch while her parents were obliviously unaware in the next room. How do these experiences compare to those of 16-year-old Australian teenager Jessica Watson? Well…they don’t. Because compared to her, I’m a wimp.
If things continue as well as they have, in the next week or two Watson will officially become the youngest person to sail around the world. Solo.
Her seven month journey began last October when she set sail from Sydney under a swarm of fanfare and her ecstatic declaration of, “Today, I am going to sail around the world.” Since then she and her Sparkman and Stephens 34 boat, Ella’s Pink Lady, have logged more than 20,000 miles. She has had emotional ups and downs, faced gale force winds, eaten caught squid (Eating squid is not gross. Eating it with Vegemite, as she did, is. Trust me. I’ve had that stuff.), and had special moments with, “Hot chocolate in hand … a light sprinkling of rain and with an albatross circling above.” Her voyage has been well documented in the press and on her website.
Hot on Watson’s nautical heels however is American Abby Sunderland who began her circumnavigating odyssey this past January. If she completes the voyage she will take the crown as the youngest to circle the globe solo as she is 5 months younger than Watson. Just as with Watson’s attempt, Sunderland’s has been a feature of the press and updated on her website.
While many argue that 16 is far too young to attempt what many regard as the “Mt. Everest” of the nautical world, I’m not sure of my position yet. From what I’ve read both young ladies are more than capable and extremely mature. The same can’t be said about me and 16. All I know is that these are two tough sailors and that they make most of us look like a wimp in comparison.
What do you think? Are they too young? Is Gayne a wimp? Comment below!