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Bad Navigator Rewarded with Young Aussie Gong

Jessica Watson, the schoolgirl who famously did not sail around the world, has been named the 2011 Young Australian of the Year.

In conferring the award, The National Australia Day Council acknowledged that Miss Watson has long “dreamt of sailing solo, unassisted, non-stop around the world”. Which is true. The Council went on to claim that “at the age of 16, she made it happen”. Which is not.

To be sure, Miss Watson did sail a very long way. And indeed she did so solo, unassisted, and non-stop. It was just that pesky “around the world” part that brought her unstuck.

One of the things a young sailor needs to know, if they want to be acknowledged as a global circumnavigator, is the World Sailing Speed Record Council’s definition of a circumnavigation, which is really just a fancy statement that explains how to go around in a really big circle. It seems that if Miss Watson was aware of this definition, she seemed to think it didn’t apply to her. It did.

And no, Jessica, it’s not because you’re under 18 that the WSSRC is refusing to acknowledge your achievement. It’s because you didn’t sail around the bloody world!

As to the Young Aussie gong then: it can only be inferred that the Aussie Day Council has acknowledged Miss Watson for being the youngest person to sail solo, unassisted, non-stop, for a really long way, and for absolutely no point whatsoever.

Well done Jessica. Mind the freighter.

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