Jessica Watson on board Ella's Pink Lady.
Jessica Watson on board Ella's Pink Lady. Brett Wortman

Testing time for Jessica's pink lady

SUNSHINE Coast schoolgirl adventurer Jessica Watson will test her repaired yacht today ahead of an attempt to break an around-the-world sailing record.

The yacht, Ella's Pink Lady, was damaged in a collision with the 63,000 tonne cargo vessel Silver Yang, off North Stradbroke Island, in the early hours of September 9 this year.

The 16-year-old 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 its rigging, repairers at the Gold Coast City Marina discovered the vessel's internal structure was also stressed.

Boaties and tradesmen have contributed an estimated $50,000 worth of free repairs.

Jessica was expected to head to Sydney early next week where she will undergo preparations for her record attempt.

She told website sail-world.com she had been delighted with the support.

“It has been beyond my wildest imagination, I just can't thank everyone enough,” she said.

Her father Roger told the website he had confidence in Jessica's ability. “Of course we're worried, who wouldn't be,” he said.

“But we're equally confident in her ability and I think I would have been in plenty of trouble if I had attempted to forbid her going.

“I may have to draw the line somewhere, though - she's spoken about getting a motorcycle when she returns and having been the victim of a couple of spills I think I'll be doing what ever it takes to discourage that.”

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Jessica's Pink Lady 'worse than expected'
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