Last updated at 12:20 BST, Wednesday, 05 May 2010

Record blow for teenage sailor

Summary

5 May 2010

A 16-year-old Australian girl is nearly home after sailing around the world. But she may not have sailed far enough to get the record as the youngest person to make the journey.

Reporter:
Nick Bryant

Jessica Watson

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Report

After more than six months at sea Jessica Watson is in the final stretch of her epic voyage around the globe. She's hoping to reach Sydney Harbour later this month a couple of days shy of her seventeenth birthday.

But although there's no question that she's circumnavigated the globe, sailing experts say she hasn't gone far enough to claim the record of being the youngest person to sail solo non-stop and unassisted around the world.

The influential Sail World website has praised her heroic achievement but is a stickler for the rules of what it calls "true circumnavigation". To have achieved that, it says, the teenager should have sailed much farther north into the Atlantic to a point in line with France, rather than simply crossing the Equator and then returning south.

"We don't want to take away from what the kid's done," said the editor of the website "but it's one thing to be a hero and another to be a record holder. Had she sailed three thousand seven hundred kilometres further she could have made that boast."

Nick Bryant, BBC News, Sydney

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Vocabulary

the final stretch of

the last part of

epic voyage

long and difficult journey

a couple of days shy of

a few days before

circumnavigated the globe

sailed completely around the world

to sail solo non-stop and unassisted

to sail by herself without stopping and without getting any help during the journey

influential

important and respected

is a stickler for the rules

believes that rules are very important and must be followed exactly

the Equator

the imaginary line that goes round the middle of the Earth and marks the boundary between the northern and southern hemispheres

she could have made that boast

she could have said that she had broken the record

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