“I’m just an ordinary person, who had a dream, worked hard at it and proved that anything really is possible.” – Jessica Watson
In 2009, 16-year-old Jessica Watson set sail with dreams of becoming the youngest person to ever sail solo around the world, non-stop and unassisted. The 42,000km voyage would take her across the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans, at the mercy of mother nature as she battled cyclonic winds and surging seas, facing monster waves up to 70 feet high. Jessica’s epic journey has now been immortalised in the inspirational feature film, ‘True Spirit’, just released on Netflix.
There were many that wrote Jessica Watson off as far too young, her goal far too dangerous, her unsettling confidence far too naive. Debate that only intensified after her 34-foot yacht collided with a 62,000-tonne cargo ship on a practice run. But the incident only fuelled Jessica’s fire, and on 18 October 2009 she set sail aboard Ella’s Pink Lady, on a marathon adventure that would put her determination and unshakeable spirit to the ultimate test.
13 years on, and Jessica’s legendary story has finally been captured on the big screen. Written and directed by Australian Sarah Spillane, ‘True Spirit’ chronicles Jessica’s onboard journey to conquer the ‘Everest of Sailing’, from her battle with sleep deprivation and heart-wrenching isolation to terrifying knockdowns that capsized her boat in raging storms – including one that left her upside down, 15-foot underwater.
While millions of people around the world followed Jessica’s journey in real-time thanks to her raw live video blogs, this full-length film starring Teagan Croft, Anna Paquin, Josh Lawson and Cliff Curtis is a beautiful and uplifting portrayal of Jessica’s adventure. It’s an inspiring testament to the power of the human spirit, as well as the courage, tenacity and resilience that enabled this relatable Aussie teen to survive 210 days at sea.
Two months after her successful journey, Jessica released her memoir. Based on her immaculately kept onboard journals, the book provides a riveting inside account of her extraordinary voyage, providing a framework for the film adaptation now bearing its name.
Jessica’s incredible achievement earned her Young Australian of the Year honours, and she was also awarded an Order of Australia Medal for services to sailing and being a role model for the youth of Australia.
‘True Spirit’ is a real journey of self-discovery, and a reminder that sometimes, in order to find out who you are and what you are capable of, you have to step out of your comfort zone and take a risk. As Jessica says, “You don’t have to be anyone special to achieve something big. You just have to want to do it.” Believe in your dreams, back yourself and hang on tight!
Oh – and if you haven’t seen the actual footage of Jessica’s triumphant homecoming, do yourself a favour and take a look. If watching Ella’s Pink Lady sweep through Sydney Heads, Jessica at the helm, her parents standing proudly on the dock, with 80,000 people cheering her home, doesn’t bring tears to your eyes, well… nothing will!
As one of our most popular motivational speakers, Jessica Watson shares her captivating story with infectious enthusiasm, uplifting hearts and inspiring people to believe in the impossible. She encourages audiences to challenge their expectations of themselves, helping them believe they are capable of achieving extraordinary feats, and sharing the tools that enable them to take on their wildest dreams. If you’d like to talk to us about engaging Jessica for your next event, get in touch with us for a chat!