Jessica Watson hits bulk ore carrier on way to round-world start in Sydney

Jessica Watson, the 16-year-old girl who has roused divergent opinions regarding her attempt to become the youngest ever solo around-the-world sailor, has damaged her yacht in a collision with a merchant ship off the Queensland coast.

She was sailing her yacht 34ft yacht Pink Lady 15 nautical miles east of Stradbroke Island, near Brisbane, when she hit the 225 metre bulk carrier around 2:30am on Wednesday morning. The accident broke the mast and damaged the deck, but Jessica wasn't hurt. She motored to Southport, on the Gold Coast, where she was met by her parents and maritime authorities.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) says the merchant ship allegedly didn't stop after the collision. AMSA and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau will investigate the incident.

Jessica was en route to Sydney for the start of her round-world voyage, which must now be in doubt. We have been carrying a blog from Captain Cranky on the plans of a 13 year old Dutch girl to also sail solo around the world, with the majority of posts agreeing that it's madness. What do you think? Should Jessica call off her attempt? Is solo sailing madness? Add your comments here or contribute to the Hot Air debate.

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