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Youngest sailor may be denied recognition

May 5, 2010 at 7:46 PM

SYDNEY, May 5 (UPI) -- Sailing experts say a 16-year-old Australian sailor may be denied recognition as the youngest ever to circle the globe because she took the wrong route.

Jessica Watson is expected to sail into Sydney harbor this week to end a 200-day voyage that yachting experts say won't qualify her for the record as the youngest-ever around-the-world sailor, Britain's Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.

Her voyage was "wonderful," said Rob Kothe, editor of "Sail-World" magazine, but would not qualify because she had not sailed far enough and did not follow the course required by the World Speed Sailing Record Council.

Watson is trying to break the record set by fellow Australian Jesse Martin, who was 18 when he sailed around the globe in 1993.

For "around the world" status, a voyage must cover 21,600 nautical miles, Kothe said, and Watson failed to sail far enough north to qualify.

"To claim that you have broken (the) record, regardless of age, you need to sail the same course," he said.

Martin "sailed 26,300 nautical miles, he went way up past Spain and turned and came back down … because that's what the rules say you need to do."

Kothe said that Watson was 1,500 nautical miles short of the record.

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