In an interesting follow-up to the story of Laura Dekker earlier this fall, an Australian girl has embarked on her own attempt to become the youngest person to sail around the world on her own.
Sixteen-year-old Jessica Watson left Sydney over the weekend with plans to be gone approximately eight months.
The big difference is that Watson did not face any governmental opposition. It’s easy to point at the age difference between the two girls (Dekker is thirteen) as the reasoning, but I’m still not sure that age should play that big a role. Both girls, after all, have already racked up significant hours sailing alone — but Watson actually hit another ship on a test run in September, according to an article on the BBC’s website.
There isn’t any kind of magical change between the ages of thirteen and sixteen that make one girl obviously more trustworthy on her own, any more than there’s a mystical change the day you turn eighteen. The more I think about these sorts of situations, the more I become convinced that they really do need to be considered on a case by case basis.