BRISBANE, Australia, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- The Australian teenager now in the midst of a solo, non-stop around-the-world sail suffers from profound dyslexia, her mother says.
Julie Watson told The Brisbane Courier-Mail her daughter, Jessica, 16, was diagnosed with dyslexia when she was still in preschool. She struggled with school because she could not learn to read.
When Jessica was 11, her mother read her "Lionheart: A Journey of the Human Spirit" by Jesse Martin, who in 1999 became the youngest person to sail alone around the world without stopping. Julie Watson said her daughter "went very quiet, you could see the cogs turning."
"She realized he was an ordinary person with vulnerabilities and humanness," Julie Watson said. "And that's why he wrote the book: so people realized you don't have to be superhuman to go around the world."
Jessica is now trying to break Martin's record. She is on board her yacht, the Pink Lady, halfway across the South Atlantic.
"She has struggled all along with perception and people saying: 'How could she do that if she can't even spell?' But you don't have to accept that as a limitation," her mother said.