Jessica Watson
Jessica Watson

Jessica Watson honoured by prestigious US boat club

NEARLY a decade after her inspirational round-the-world voyage, Sunshine Coast woman Jessica Watson has been honoured by the Cruising Club of America in a ceremony in New York.

Ms Watson held the eyes of the world for 210 days when, aged only 16, she sailed out of Sydney Harbour on a perilous voyage around the globe.

Despite suffering a series of frightening incidents, Ms Watson managed the trip entirely alone and without assistance, returning to Sydney Harbour just shy of her 17th birthday.

Since then, Ms Watson has been Young Australian of the Year (in 2011) and that same year was awarded the Jane Tate Trophy for being the first woman skipper across the finish line in the Sydney to Harbour Yacht Race. She also led what was then the youngest crew to compete in the race and made it second across the finishing line.

Now 25, Ms Watson has two books to her name, is involved in an online boat insurance comparison website, and is a youth representative for the United Nations World Food Programme.

In a statement, Ms Watson thanked the Cruising Club for her Young Voyager Award, which recognises her "for outstanding contributions to the sport of sailing and the history of yachting"

"With the club's impressive history and award alumni it's humbling to receive this award," Ms Watson said.

"If you truly want to live life, you have to get involved, pursue your passions and dream big."