Page last updated at 05:20 GMT, Sunday, 18 October 2009 06:20 UK

Australian girl makes sailing bid


Jessica Watson leaving Sydney Harbour

A 16-year-old Australian girl has begun an attempt to become the youngest person to sail solo and unassisted around the world.

Jessica Watson left Sydney Harbour in a bright pink yacht on Sunday as she started a planned eight-month, 23,600-mile (38,000km) journey.

Officials had urged her to abandon the attempt after her boat crashed into a cargo ship on a training run.

She and her family have insisted she is experienced and capable.

She is trying to beat a record set in August this year by British teen Mike Perham who completed the round-the-world journey aged 17.

In September, Ms Watson's yacht, Pink Lady, had its rigging and mast damaged when it collided with a 63,000-tonne cargo ship on a test run.

Queensland maritime officials concluded that she had probably dozed off before the collision.

In a similar controversy, authorities in Holland put 13-year-old Laura Dekker under state care for two months in August to stop her from setting off on a solo attempt.

Print Sponsor

Dutch sailor girl put under care
28 Aug 09 |  Europe
Young sailor sets global record
27 Aug 09 |  England
US sailor, 17, sets solo record
16 Jul 09 |  Americas

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific