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Monday, November 1, 1999 Published at 13:19 GMT


Teenager sets round-the-world record

Jesse Martin's 11-month voyage sees him sail into the record books

An Australian teenager has become the youngest solo yachtsman to sail non-stop around the globe.

Jesse Martin, 18, returned to Melbourne on Sunday - 11 months after leaving the port to embark on his epic journey.

[ image: Teenage sailor is looking forward to hamburgers]
Teenage sailor is looking forward to hamburgers
Since setting sail last December, his 34ft sloop - Lionheart-Mistral - has covered 30,000 miles.

Martin received a hero's welcome at the Sandringham Yacht Club, his record-breaking efforts cheered by a 20,000-strong crowd.

"It feels great to be around people again and to smell the smells of land," Martin said.

The teenager was modest about his circumnavigation record: "I do not consider myself as the world's best sailor, I have never been in a yachting race in my life.

"I've just put up a bit of sail and done four knots all the way around the world - that's nothing special."

Heavy seas put wind up sailor

The young sailor did admit to being afraid during his ambitious voyage.

His craft narrowly escaped a collision with a tanker and was once hit by a whale in the South Atlantic.

The yacht also took a battering in heavy seas, and was knocked over on several occasions.

"There were times, especially off the Cape of Good Hope, when I was worried. You've got things way out of your control ... big, huge, energy waves smashing into you. I was concerned for the mast."

Safe on dry land, and after almost a year of pre-packed meals, Martin says he is looking forward to eating hamburgers again.

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