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Teen sailor hits halfway mark

(Previously mentioned here) Teenage sailor Jessica Watson is expected to reach the halfway point in her trial run to Sydney on Friday night.

The 16-year-old will pass Coffs Harbour on Friday evening, as her online blog clocks up around 114,000 hits a day from virtual spectators around the world.

She set sail from the Gold Coast, where her yacht Ella's Pink Lady had been undergoing repairs, in the early hours of Thursday on a sea trial before her quest to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world non-stop.

So far, the attempt has stirred a lot of public debate about whether she's prepared and experienced enough for such a demanding expedition - especially after her yacht was damaged in a collision with a 63,000-tonne cargo ship off North Stradbroke Island on September 9.

Spokesman Andrew Fraser said he had spoken with Ms Watson on Friday afternoon as she passed Grafton, on the NSW north coast.

He said she was facing 2.5 metre swells but was benefiting from 26 knot northerly winds.

However, the winds were expected to turn southerly over the weekend and a storm was brewing.

"She's made really good time on the first half of it," Mr Fraser told AAP.

"She'll probably slow down in the second half.

"It's a great test for the boat and it was a relief for everybody to get through the first night."

Ms Watson is expected to reach Sydney on Monday.

© 2009 AAP

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Posted in: News by SoulRiser on October 4, 2009 @ 2:52 PM

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