Jessica Watson's boat has structural damage

Australian schoolgirl Jessica Watson remains confident of heading to Sydney next weekend to prepare for her attempt to break an around-the-world sailing record. But damage to her yacht Ella’s Pink Lady following a collision with the 63,000 tonne cargo vessel Silver Yang, is worse than at first realised.

The 16-year-old Queensland schoolgirl was heading to Sydney on a test run before attempting to break the record for the youngest person to sail solo around the world.

While it was initially believed the yacht suffered only minor damage to the
rigging, repairers discovered the internal structure of the yacht was stressed.
As a result, repairers at the Gold Coast City Marina have cut a hole in the side
of the fiberglass structure to make internal repairs.

Ms Watson’s media spokesman Scott Young said that thanks to the “outstanding” repair efforts, it was expected work on the yacht’s internal structure would be completed in the next few days. “Work on the mast and sail will then be conducted and Jessica is confident she will be heading to Sydney again next weekend,” Mr Young said. Before setting sail to Sydney, however, Mr Young said Ms Watson would be taking the yacht on several test sails.