Jessica Watson's 'true spirit' re-inspiring, 13yrs after solo global voyage

The incredible story of Jessica's solo voyage around the world has been depicted in the Netflix film 'True Spirit'

In 2009, aged just 16, Jessica Watson set off to sail around the world on her own.

Steering her 34 ft yacht across four oceans, the Queensland teenager circled the globe without stopping once, passing the four capes (Cape Horn, Cape Agulhas, Cape Leeuwin and the Cape of SE Tasmania) and crossing the Equator twice.

When she sailed into the Sydney Harbour after 210 days at sea, she was met by tens of thousands of proud Australians who welcomed Jessica back to her homeland with an "overwhelming" celebration.

Jessica Watson was relaxed with family after returning to local shores on May 15 2010

She had defeated 70ft waves and persevered despite her boat, Ella's Pink Lady, being knocked down seven times. Importantly, she had proved herself to those who didn't believe.

During a grand ceremony held in Jessica's honour, she was labelled a "hero" by then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

But Jessica didn't see it that way - she told him: “I'm just an ordinary girl who believed in her dream. You don't have to be someone special, or anything special, to achieve something amazing."

She quickly became etched in the minds of many as the girl who sailed around the ocean before she could drive a car.

The moment Jessica Watson stepped off her boat and touched dry land for the first time in 210 days

Now Jessica's bravery and her tale of triumph is being retold in a fresh new Netflix biopic True Spirit.

The movie, directed and written by Aussie director Sarah Spillane, is re-inspiring Jessica's old fans who may remember the flotilla following along as she made her way to be reunited with her family, while touching the hearts of a new audience ready to learn the heartfelt message she has always been passionate about sharing.

And it's not without its Kiwi ties.

Cliff Curtis features in the movie as the keen sailor's trusted mentor while Teagan Croft  plays Jessic

Cliff Curtis takes on the role as her determined mentor, Ben, and Anna Paquin makes up one half of Jessica's supportive parents, who are both from New Zealand in real life.

Jessica is played by Australian actress Teagan Croft who was careful to give the character in the movie her own edge.

Speaking to the Today show, she said:"We all sat down and had a big meal and talked about how we wanted to talk about a character from the ground up and create an authentic, honest character as well."

Teagan says she was keen to bring her own edge to Jessica's character

Jessica, now 29, revealed it's been "so weird" to see herself portrayed on the big screen - but the experience has been "incredible".

She said: "Teagan brings something of herself to it, as did everyone who worked on this, so it's something in its own right as well. It's great."

Looking back at old footage, she said: "There's still a little part of that extraordinary emotion that's still with me today, just completely overwhelming... in the best possible way."


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