Solo sailor finds a love match

Solo sailor Jessica Watson is enjoying being back on land and her new relationship. Photo / Getty Images
Solo sailor Jessica Watson is enjoying being back on land and her new relationship. Photo / Getty Images

Jessica Watson is dating an English sailor who also sailed solo around the world, and has her eyes set on the Sydney-to-Hobart race.

The Australian solo round-the-world sailor, who turned 17 last week, spoke about her relationship with Mike Perham in an interview with Australia's Sunday Telegraph, and admitted they were dating.

"Yes, we are," Watson told the newspaper. "It's not quite as dramatic as everyone's saying, but it's lovely, it's very cute."

Watson, whose grandparents live in New Zealand, was greeted in Sydney this month after sailing solo unassisted around the world.

"I've really been getting a kick out of wearing nice clothes again," she said.

"And having a hot shower and sleeping in a big, comfortable bed has been just amazing."

Perham, 18, who holds the official record as the youngest person to sail around the world unassisted, said he wasn't too fazed by the media attention he was now receiving.

"I've already been through all of this before," he said.

Perham and Watson grew close over satellite phone during her seven-month voyage. They will sail her yacht, Ella's Pink Lady, to the Sunshine Coast together in the next few weeks.

Jessica said she had to wait until she turned 18 to compete in the Sydney-to-Hobart, but it was on her list.

"There's no big expedition to the moon planned; I'm not into space travel," she said.

"The next big adventure and personal challenge for me is finishing the book and documentary, travelling and seeing a few places by land and getting my driver's licence; we'll see after that."

- NZ Herald

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