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The true story of True Spirit : What really happened on Jessica Watson's solo sail around the world

EW breaks down fact vs. fiction in Netflix's inspiring movie based on the incredible true story of the 16-year-old who attempted to become the youngest person to sail alone around the world.

Sydney Bucksbaum is a writer at Entertainment Weekly covering all things pop culture – but TV is her one true love. She currently lives in Los Angeles but grew up in Chicago so please don't make fun of her accent when it slips out.

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Warning: This article contains spoilers about True Spirit, now streaming on Netflix.

True Spirit , Netflix's latest book-to-movie adaptation, is an inspiring tale about Jessica Watson, a teen who endeavors to become the youngest person to sail alone, nonstop, and unassisted around the world. Starring Titan 's Teagan Croft and based on the book of the same name, the film follows her harrowing journey as she attempts to sail 23,000 nautical miles around the globe in 8 months — something no other 16-year-old had ever accomplished before. But what makes it even more amazing is that it actually happened in real life.

Below, EW breaks down the biggest moments from the film and the true story behind them.

Is Jessica Watson a real person?

Yes! Watson exists, and she wrote the book about her own experience circumnavigating the globe upon which the movie is based. "There's so many layers of emotion in it for me," Watson tells EW of watching the film for the first time. "It's amazing, and Teagan's performance is extraordinary. It's me, but it's also something else, which I just love."

After playing half-demon empath Raven on the DC Comics series Titans for years, Croft was excited to finally take on a role closer to home. "Playing Raven on Titans , it's purple hair, very sullen," she says. "And the [ True Spirit ] producers needed to double-check that I wasn't like that in real life, that I'd be able to play Jess. I cracked a couple jokes, made a couple remarks, and they saw I'd be able to pull off perky. It's much more in my wheelhouse. And being able to act in my own accent was something I hadn't had the opportunity to do before. It was nice to have that burden lifted."

Watson and Croft met in person for the first time over dinner before the movie began filming, and they had a conversation with director Sarah Spillane about how the onscreen version of Watson wouldn't just be an imitation. "Then we also went sailing the next day altogether, and we met a few times up after that," Croft says. "It was so weird and awkward at first. I felt a weird guilt, like, 'Hello, I'm playing you.' But she was so lovely about it, and we get on really well now."

Did she really attempt to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world?

She sure did — Watson, now 29, departed from Sydney, Australia,, on Oct. 18, 2009, and returned on May 15, 2010, just before her 17th birthday.

Did she succeed?

Well, it's complicated and depends on who you ask. Watson sailed an estimated 18,582 nautical miles, crossing through the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans, all on her own and without stopping. But ultimately, the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC) ruled that Watson was ineligible for the record, having traveled just short of the minimum 21,600 nautical miles necessary to claim circumnavigation of the globe. In response to the decision and criticism, Watson wrote on her blog at the time, "If I haven't been sailing around the world, then it beats me what I've been doing out here all this time!"

The movie notably doesn't mention the controversy about whether or not she earned the title of the youngest person to sail solo, nonstop, and unassisted around the world. Once she returns to Sydney Harbour amid a massive celebration, the credits roll immediately. "The movie and what Jess is all about is not about the record," Croft says. "That's not what drove her. That's not what she was sailing for. She was sailing for the love of it. The point of the movie is about this girl who had a goal that was crazy and dangerous, and what she did was incredible."

"The thing is, it's a bit of an invented controversy because there actually is no record," Watson tells EW. "There's no 'youngest' record because the body that does official sailing records doesn't recognize youngest records, which is understandable. So I don't really understand how there can be controversy over a record that doesn't exist. The voyage and the way I sailed around the world was very similar to what other people did, but there's actually no official rules, so it's a bit hard to not comply with rules that don't quite exist."

All these years later, Watson isn't concerned about any official records or titles. "It really doesn't worry me because it was about the adventure," she adds. "But also, gosh, people really feel the need to add some drama or find a way to almost diminish it slightly. And I'm like, 'Cool, you guys do that. I'm cool with that.' Maybe I think about it too simplistically, but I'm just like, 'Why are we arguing about the number of nautical miles for a record that doesn't exist?' There is no set nautical miles. You can't argue over a rule that doesn't exist."

Did all the characters in the movie exist?

All except for two — and those two were still based on real people. In the film, Avatar : The Way of the Water 's Cliff Curtis plays her sailing coach Ben, but Watson reveals he was just a "beautiful representation of a few people who otherwise wouldn't have been able to be portrayed," from the crew who helped her repair her boat to the group of people advising her over the phone about the weather during her voyage and more.

Her parents were pretty much exactly as they appear in the movie, played by Anna Paquin and Josh Lawson . "Mum was the one who firstly read me Jesse Martin's book from the get-go, which was what inspired me to do this," Watson says. "She had the same curiosity and inspiration for the voyage as me, whereas dad really didn't believe it was going to happen for much longer. And then, obviously, he was quite reluctant, as you see. That is probably pretty accurate in terms of mom and dad's dynamic."

Croft struggled the most filming the scenes where Jessica talks to her family over the phone during her journey. "At that point, the other actors were gone, and it was just me, so sometimes that was really difficult to get into the scene," she says. "But what was lucky in a twisted way was that COVID was really big in Australia at that time, and so the borders between my home state and the state we were filming in had closed. I'd just come from filming Titans , I hadn't seen my sisters or my dad for seven months by the end of shooting True Spirit , so I was able to pull a real, genuine emotion from my real life from the real phone calls I was having."

Watson adds that the reporter, played by Todd Lasance, was fictional but represents all of the members of the media who were aggressively and publicly criticizing her plans. "There were some that were pretty damn similar to him," she adds with a laugh. "I was protected slightly from some of the intensity of it at the time because I was just so single-mindedly focused on this thing, which you need to be to do something like that. It was my team and my poor family who caught the worst of that, but it was intense."

She continues, "I can really understand where people were coming from, and it's kind of beautiful that there was so much concern. But at the same time, I don't think people really understood that there had been years and years of preparation. And this is a really safe boat, it's done this a number of times. It's not as crazy as it seems if you've got no idea about that world."

Did her pre-voyage trial run really end in a massive collision?

Unfortunately, yes. Watson forgot to turn on the proximity alarms before taking a quick nap, and a few minutes later, her boat (named Ella's Pink Lady), crashed into a cargo ship. "That collision scene's one of the ones that's really accurate, so that one's pretty intense for me," Watson says. "That was something I still have the occasional nightmare about, but it's so important to the story. It really made me in a way because having to go through that and find the strength to continue really set me up for being able to deal with the storms at sea."

Did she really leave her hairbrush at home?

In a moment of levity in the movie, Jessica realizes she forgot to pack a hairbrush for her long journey and tapes two forks together to detangle her hair for months. That did happen ... but not on her long trip around the world. "That happened on a sea trial," Watson admits. "So not quite the whole voyage. And actually, I got the idea from Jesse Martin who did forget his hairbrush for his trip and used a fork."

Did she battle dyslexia during her journey?

Watson is dyslexic in real life, and she loves how the movie accurately portrays the struggles she faced whenever she got stressed and messed up her longitude and latitude coordinates. "So many people can relate to this, and it's not far off from my reality," Watson says, before admitting with a laugh, "I mean, I like to think that I was never that bad with my lats and longs and getting muddled up. But at the same time, it's also based on the truth that mum did used to call me out when I'm tired or flustered, and I was getting stuff like that wrong."

Did she get knocked out during a storm?

In the first big storm she faces at sea, Jessica is hit in the head with a frying pan and gets knocked out. But it turns out that entire scene was made up for the movie. "I feel bad calling out some of the things that weren't quite true, but no, no frying pan," Watson says. "Although there was legitimate danger with stuff flying around inside the boat in a storm — household everyday objects become deadly. Keeping your cabin tidy is something I should have been better at."

Did her boat get stuck for a week without any wind?

In the movie, Jessica hits an emotional low point when there's no breeze for an entire week. She gets frustrated and ends up arguing with Ben over the radio. That was all fictionalized for the film but was based on real emotions Watson felt throughout her trip. "In reality, you never get such long stretches without wind," she says. "Often, it's more like a couple of days. And even within that, you might get a few puffs along the way. It is, however, very true to what that experience is like for a sailor, how incredibly frustrating it is to just be at the mercy of the elements and just waiting for the wind to come back. There's nothing you can do. Emotionally, they were some of the really tough days out there."

Did a massive storm temporarily sink her boat?

Onscreen, Jessica's journey ends with her biggest test yet, as multiple major storms merged into one. The giant waves flip her boat upside down, and she gets stuck 15 ft. underwater for an extended period of time. It's a terrifying scene, and it turns out, the movie version isn't even the full story.

"There were seven knockdowns," Watson reveals. "Not all of them were quite that bad. A lot of the time, it's just the boat being knocked over. But the 15 ft. underwater is real because my emergency beacon did self-activate as the boat sank. That happened. But the time I was upside down for, it certainly felt like a long time. I haven't really got a concept of how long it was in reality, but we are talking seconds compared to what we see in the movie, which stretches on forever in minutes and minutes and minutes. That's a little bit of an exaggeration there, but it was real to the experience of it feeling like forever."

Was her return to Sydney as epic as it appeared?

Absolutely! When Jessica arrives in Sydney Harbour at the end of her journey, it looks like all of Australia came to celebrate her accomplishment. And as the credits roll, real footage from that moment plays, showing the real Watson reuniting with her family. Incredibly, a young Croft was there in attendance that day.

"I was actually there in Sydney Harbour when she came in, but I'd forgotten since I was only six," Croft says. "When I came across this script, my parents were like, 'We were there!' I've been trying to figure out where we were in the crowd to see if you can see me in that footage. Maybe I'm there in a little pink skirt or something ridiculous."

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Jessica Watson: the true story of True Spirit star’s voyage

Helen Fretter

  • Helen Fretter
  • March 3, 2023

Jessica Watson talks to Helen Fretter about what her round the world journey was really like and how accurate the Netflix film True Spirit is

true spirit yacht

In the late Noughties and early 2010s, sailing garnered astonishing levels of attention due to a series of teenagers bidding to become the youngest sailor to sail around the world. One of the most high profile was Jessica Watson, who set off from Sydney in 2009 aged 16, and completed her loop of Antarctica – and a dip north across the Equator in the Pacific – to return an all-Australian hero after 210 days at sea .

It was a remarkable story, much of which was told in real time in Watson’s blog and video diaries. Thirteen years on, Netflix has made a feature-length sailing film based on her voyage, called True Spirit . Following the film’s release in the UK, we spoke to Watson about the experience.

true spirit yacht

True Spirit is available to watch on Netflix worldwide

Jessica Watson in the spotlight

In the film version of True Spirit viewers are introduced to the teenage Jessica Watson aboard her S&S 34 Ella’s Pink Lady on a trial solo sail, when a violent collision with a 63,000 tonne cargo ship off Queensland leaves the yacht dismasted, and both Watson and her family ashore shaken.

It’s the same opening scene Watson begins her autobiography with, and it’s as shocking to watch as it is to read her written account: “I grabbed at the tiller, flicked off the autopilot and tried to steer us. It was hopeless.

“There was nowhere to go, nothing I could do. Shuddering and screeching, we were being swept down the ship’s hull. A glance told me that the ship’s stern, with its bridges protruding, was fast approaching. The noises were getting louder and, knowing that the mast and rigging were about to come down, I rushed back below hoping for some protection.

“The cupboard next to me ripped apart as the chainplate behind the bulkhead splintered it into a million pieces. The boat heeled to one side then suddenly sprung upright with the loudest explosion yet as the entangled rigging suddenly freed itself and crashed to the deck.”

While the collision would be a terrifying experience for anyone to go through, let alone a teenager on their own, the film highlights how the media storm that met her ashore was even more intimidating. Many commentators questioned the judgement of Watson’s parents, an additional pressure which the film captures neatly.

Watson, now 30, admits that the prospect of being the centre of attention once again with the film’s launch didn’t entirely fill her with joy. “I certainly went into this with mixed emotions. I enjoy my life, I like not being recognised very often, and so there was a bit of trepidation. But at the same time, I’m just so grateful and hopefully this is good for sailing.”

An ethical dilemma

The teen solo sailor trend was a remarkable phenomenon. Australian Jesse Martin was one of the earliest, when he completed a non-stop, unassisted solo around the world voyage to and from Melbourne in 1999 aged 18. Martin recounted the trip in his S&S 34 Lionheart, also the title of his book, which was a major influence and source of inspiration for Watson.

With increasing unease and debate on the ethics of encouraging young teens to take on such potentially dangerous challenges, both within the sport of sailing and across newspaper columns and chat-show sofas around the world, the World Sailing Speed Record Council discontinued recognition of its ‘youngest’ sailor category. Martin has since remained the perpetual record holder, despite the flurry of much younger skippers which followed.

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Jessica Watson (right) with actor Teagan Croft who played her in the film adaptation. Photo: Everett Collection Inc/Alamy

Much of the debate ignored the fact that the teenagers were often extraordinarily experienced yachtsmen from remarkable families. Certainly that was the case for Dutch sailor Laura Dekker , as well as American brother and sister Zac and Abby Sunderland, who both attempted circumnavigations (Zac successfully, Abby’s Open 40 was dismasted).

Jessica Watson also had a fairly nomadic childhood with years spent living on boats or converted buses. Ironically, her father had a television hire company but the Watson family never owned one, as she recalled in her autobiography: “I think Dad saw how dependent people became on them and how they restricted the lives of their owners – keeping them inside and inactive – and he decided he didn’t ever want to be like that.”

The Watson family’s unconventionality gets a little lost in the film, so keen were directors and scriptwriters to make them relatable, and show the toll Jessica’s attempt took as an emotional undercurrent tugging throughout the film. For Jessica herself, however, the family storyline was a powerful one to watch.

“Seeing the emotional experience that [my family] went through is pretty intense. I think I’ve appreciated it better in the years since, particularly when other sailors I knew have been in trouble at sea and I’ve had to sit on shore. It’s far worse waiting for news, I would rather be out there in the thick of it. So it is really a reminder of the one extraordinary thing they did by reluctantly letting me go.”

Other figures who had a huge part in Watson’s story – including Golden Globe Race organiser Don McIntyre, who secured her S&S 34 – are blended into one single character who becomes her mentor, shore team, and sounding board.

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Some scenes in True Spirit have been dramatised. Photo: Everett Collection Inc/Alamy

How close to reality is True Spirit film?

While it’s gratifying to see sailing in a mainstream family film , sailing hasn’t always succeeded on the silver screen and there are elements of True Spirit which will rankle. It’s something Jessica Watson is well aware of.

“Of course, as sailors there’s parts of the movie which will be a little bit maddening for us.

“I was never relaxed about the details. I always wanted the details to be right where possible. So I have mixed feelings [about some of it]. But there’s so much I love about it too, that it showcases how beautiful it is, how special it is [to be at sea], and there’s nothing better than a little S&S sailing along for me.

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Scene from the Netflix film of Watson’s solo circumnavigation. Photo: Images: Everett Collection Inc/Alamy

“It was a case of spending a lot of time with the director and the cast, talking about the inspiration behind it and helping them understand that world. And then I had to step away when it came to shooting some of the details and left them to do that.”

There is one scene – a knockdown which Watson did experience in real life – that involves a degree of suspension of disbelief. “That massive wave did happen in the Atlantic, but it probably didn’t happen quite that dramatically,” Watson says. “Though they did capture the essence of the feeling that time does stand still when you’re upside down in a knockdown.”

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Watson arriving back in Sydney Harbour to a hero’s welcome in 2010. Photo: Reuters/Alamy

There are other moments where dramatic licence takes over, including one where Watson is nearly swept overboard through the lifelines. The reality was rather more boring. “I had a furling headsail and then a staysail on an inner forestay, where the storm jib went as well. That all worked incredibly well. As the weather picked up, I was able to just furl the headsail away and have the storm sail ready to go,” she explains, “Something I’m quite proud of is I that I never went on the foredeck – in fact I never left the cockpit – in over 30 knots of wind.

“Sure, I maybe sacrificed a little bit of speed, but that was part of the really conservative way that I was sailing. I could put my fourth reef in from the cockpit, but very often approaching really bad conditions I’d have the mainsail stitched and away.”

Unsurprisingly there’s little in the movie to show more mundane tasks, such as waiting for GRIB files to download. In fact, Jessica Watson was very well supported for weather routing by New Zealand meteorologist Bob McDavitt, who sent multiple daily updates which Watson would overlay with her own weather charts.

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Jessica Watson and Ella’s Pink Lady cross the finish line for her unassisted solo circumnavigation. Photo: Christophe Launay/DPPI Media/Alamy

While routing has always been accepted for solo record attempts, with no official governing body to answer to, the question of what counted as ‘unassisted’ for youth sailors was open to interpretation. In 2007 British teenager Michael Perham became the youngest person to solo sail across the Atlantic aged just 14, while his father shadowed him sailing in a separate yacht.

For Watson, there was controversy whether her 23,000-mile route ventured far enough north of the Equator to count as a true around-the-world. “It certainly doesn’t worry me,” says Watson. “The biggest thing for me is that there’s no official record, as none of the bodies recognise the youngest records, which is perfectly understandable. So I don’t understand how there can be a debate about whether or not you comply with a rule that doesn’t exist.

“The route I took, chosen with my team, was about making it as safe as possible. It put me in the right oceans at the right times, and it did the things that are generally recognised as sailing around the world . I’m very at peace with that.”

true spirit yacht

The next Jessica Watson?

While Watson was inspired by reading about Jesse Martin’s adventures, would she welcome new young sailors inspired to tackle a circumnavigation after watching True Spirit ? “Absolutely, if people are serious,” she says.

Such a project is, however, very reliant on having the right yacht. “People do ask me if I would do it again, and my answer is only if the boat was exactly the same and I had the same support crew, otherwise it’s a resounding ‘No!’.

“It was absolutely that boat and how she was set up that enabled it to be possible. Someone said almost as a criticism, ‘lt was just the boat that got her there.’ But I agree with them.

“The S&S 34 is just such a gorgeous little boat. There’s nothing quite like the way that they sail beautifully upwind in a bit of a blow.”

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True Spirit

Teagan Croft in True Spirit (2023)

The story of Australian teenager, Jessica Watson, the youngest person ever to sail solo nonstop around the world. The story of Australian teenager, Jessica Watson, the youngest person ever to sail solo nonstop around the world. The story of Australian teenager, Jessica Watson, the youngest person ever to sail solo nonstop around the world.

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  • Trivia Jessica Watson was allowed to keep the replica of her boat used for filming after production had completed.
  • Goofs In the movie in rough weather Jessica is seen strapped to the bunk . Yachts do not use this system, they all use lee cloths . Which you see on the real boat at the end of the movie with real footage from the boat . Hint its red.

Jessica Watson : There's strength in being yourself. You know, I think... that's as hard as climbing any mountain. You know, I think there's bravery in admitting that you're not okay.

  • Soundtracks Walking on a Dream Written by Luke Steele , Jonathan Sloan and Nick Littlemore (as Nicholas Littlemore) Performed by Empire of the Sun Courtesy of EMI Music Australia Pty Ltd/Astralwerks Under license from Universal Music Enterprises

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True Spirit: History vs. Hollywood

Why did jessica watson want to sail around the world.

According to the True Spirit true story, Jessica's desire to sail solo around the world began when she was 12 when her mother read Jesse Martin's book Lionheart: A Journey of the Human Spirit to her and her siblings as a bedtime story. Jesse Martin was a German-Australian sailor who in 1999 became the youngest person to sail solo, nonstop, and unassisted around the globe. Jessica had spent much of her life on the water and had taken sailing lessons with her brother and sisters. She had spent five years living on a 16-meter cabin cruiser with her family. They also lived on a retrofitted double-decker bus for a period of time. She was quoted in The Los Angeles Times discussing the reason for her journey, "I wanted to challenge myself and achieve something to be proud of. And yes, I wanted to inspire people. I hated being judged by my appearance and other people's expectations of what a 'little girl' was capable of. It's no longer just my dream or voyage. Every milestone out here isn't just my achievement, but an achievement for everyone who has put so much time and effort into helping getting me here." As is noted in her book True Spirit: The True Story of a 16-Year-Old Australian Who Sailed Solo, Nonstop, and Unassisted Around the World , her father, Roger Watson, was against her going, and while her mother, Julie, was supportive, she was not living a missed dream vicariously through Jessica. It was clear to her coach and mentor Bruce Arms (represented to some degree by actor Cliff Curtis' Ben Bryant character in the movie) that the decision was very much her own. An image of the real Jessica Watson (left) is shown on one of the original covers of the True Spirit book. Australian actress Teagan Croft (left) appears on the new cover of the book.

How did Jessica Watson prepare for her around-the-world journey?

While conducting our True Spirit fact-check, we learned that like in the movie, she was heavily involved in the preparation for her trip, including overseeing various modifications to her boat, Ella's Pink Lady . The sailing vessel was refitted with a new galley, reconditioned water and diesel tanks, and underwent an entire reconstruction of the electrical system. By that point, Jessica had roughly 6,000 ocean and 6,000 coastal miles of sailing experience. She had also taken numerous courses, including several maritime safety and first-aid courses. She completed a radar course, diesel engine course, radio operator course, and a yachtmaster ocean theory course.

How big was Jessica Watson's boat?

Her sailing vessel, named Ella's Pink Lady , was 10.23 meters long (33.6 feet). Built in 1993, the pink boat was a Sparkman & Stephens model S&S 34. French skincare brand Ella Baché sponsored the boat, hence the naming. Jessica Watson did not own the boat. It was lent to her by Australian adventurer Don McIntrye. Jessica Watson's boat Ella's Pink Lady is pictured in real life (left) and as it's depicted in the movie (right). Photos: Facebook Jessica Watson / Netflix

Did Jessica's boat collide with a Chinese cargo ship a month prior to her leaving on her around-the-world voyage?

Yes. In answering the question, "How accurate is True Spirit ?" we confirmed that about a month before Jessica Watson left, she was en route from Brisbane to Sydney when her boat, Ella's Pink Lady , collided with the Silver Yang , a 63,000-ton Chinese bulk carrier. She had reportedly been taking a five-minute nap at the time of the collision and had failed to spot the Silver Yang on her radar prior to lying down. She also had forgotten to turn on her proximity alarms. "'No, no,' I go, 'It's alright, really, I'm okay, but lost half my mast, yeah,'" she stated after the accident. She managed to get the boat to port using the motor. Jessica said that the collision scene in the movie is "really accurate" ( Entertainment Weekly ). A final report concluded that both boats were at fault, with the Silver Yang's watchkeeper failing to maintain an adequate lookout and spot her in time to avoid her. It's true that the accident ignited even more controversy around whether a 16-year-old girl should be attempting a solo circumnavigation. - 60 Minutes Australia

Did Jessica receive a lot of pushback arguing that she was too young to sail solo around the world?

Yes. Like in the Jessica Watson movie, the prospect of a 16-year-old girl sailing solo, nonstop, and unassisted around the world indeed generated a considerable amount of controversy. Critics argued that she was too young and didn't have enough experience. The Australian Childhood Foundation raised concerns over whether a 16-year-old had the ability to fully understand the risks. Jessica would not be allowed assistance from anyone during her journey, nor would she be allowed to moor to another boat or to any port. However, advice via radio communication was permitted.

Is Cliff Curtis' character, Ben Bryant, based on a real person?

No. Ben Bryant is a fictional character that was created to represent a number of the different men who helped make Jessica Watson's journey possible. In a January 2023 Instagram post, Jessica wrote, "The fictional character Ben is one of my favourite things about the movie. Ben represents a whole team of people. While there are many who so deserve their own character @cliffcurtis_ has beautifully captured the spirit of these men who were so determined to see a young girl take on the world and the way they are some of my best mates. Forever grateful to everyone who played a part in making the voyage possible!" One of the men the Ben Bryant character represents is Jessica's mentor and project manager, fellow sailor Bruce Arms. In the book, Jessica describes Bruce as being "crucial in getting me ready." Another experienced sailor who helped Jessica was Don McIntyre. He had sailed solo around the world in 1990, and he and his wife Margie bought the boat Jessica used for her around-the-world trip. Other men who contributed were Scott Young and Andrew Fraser, who acted as Jessica's managers and helped her attract sponsors.

Did Jessica Watson forget her hairbrush?

No, at least not on her round-the-world trip. "That happened on a sea trial," she clarifies. She did use a fork, having gotten the idea from sailor Jesse Martin, who forgot his brush when he circumnavigated the globe. The movie finds Jessica (Teagan Croft) taping two forks together and using that as a brush.

What route did Jessica Watson take when she sailed around the world?

Alone with her boat and the open ocean, the True Spirit true story confirms that 16-year-old Jessica Watson completed a global circumnavigation that was almost entirely within the southern hemisphere. She set out from Sydney across the Pacific Ocean to the northeast, briefly crossing the equator into the northern hemisphere. She then crossed back over the equator and sailed southeastward far into the freezing southern waters to round South America's infamous Cape Horn, where the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans meet. From there, she sailed northeastward through the higher latitudes and round the horn of Africa before reentering the unforgiving Southern Ocean as she made her way back into Australian waters, traveling a total of 24,285 nautical miles. The Jessica Watson map below traces her voyage.

Did Jessica Watson's boat steer itself most of the time?

Yes. Jessica Watson's Pink Lady boat was equipped with a self-steering wind vane system. Jessica called the system "Parker" after the chauffer of the pink Rolls-Royce in the British television series Thunderbirds .

Is the reporter in True Spirit based on a real person?

No, at least not directly. Todd Lasance's character, reporter Craig Atherton, is not directly based on a real-life individual. Instead, he represents all of the members of the media who were naysayers and criticized Jessica's plans. "There were some that were pretty damn similar to him," she said with a chuckle. "I was protected slightly from some of the intensity of it at the time because I was just so single-mindedly focused on this thing, which you need to be to do something like that. It was my team and my poor family who caught the worst of that, but it was intense." -Entertainment Weekly

Did Jessica perform the tradition of dunking herself in salt water when she crossed the equator for the first time?

Yes. In fact, she filmed the moment and shared the equator video with her followers. It could be found via Jessica Watson's blog. "Oh, it's my first time across the equator," she stated, "so uh, it's traditional to have a dunk in salt water as you go across." She then proceeded to pour a bucket of salt water over her head, similar to what she does in the movie. Jessica Watson celebrates crossing the equator for the first time by performing the tradition of drenching herself in salt water.

Is Jessica Watson dyslexic?

Yes. "For a long time I struggled with reading and spelling," she wrote in her book, adding that she still has problems with spelling. She said that her mom and teachers realized early on that she was dyslexic. The language disorder is typically defined as a "difficulty recognizing and learning the connection between sounds and words." Jessica says that her mother always encouraged her affinity for books and read to her regularly.

What animals did Jessica Watson see on her journey?

A True Spirit fact-check reveals that Jessica reported seeing a variety of marine life, including dolphins, fish, and a blue whale. She saw various birds, including albatross that circled around her boat. In her blog, she also described a frightening moment at night when a large sea creature that she could not identify repeatedly jumped out of the water around her boat.

What did Jessica Watson do while she was on the boat?

"I always had something to do," she told 60 Minutes Australia . "I don't know what I did, but I always found something to do. There was always, you know, a boat to look after, bits and pieces of maintenance to do, and, you know, people to talk to, blogs to write, just sitting there soaking it in, reading. I read a lot, did a little bit of schoolwork." Teenage sailor Jessica Watson (left) shared this image of herself to social media during her around-the-world journey. Actress Teagan Croft (right) is pictured as Watson in the Netflix movie.

Does Jessica Watson have any siblings?

Yes. As seen in the Netflix Jessica Watson movie, she has an older sister named Emily and a younger brother and sister, Tom and Hannah. Like her parents, her siblings were able to communicate with her via her satellite phone and email as she sailed.

Did Jessica Watson get knocked out by a frying pan during a storm?

No. In the first significant storm she encounters in the Netflix True Spirit movie, Jessica is knocked out when an unsecured frying pan hits her in the head. According to Jessica, the scene never happened in real life. "I feel bad calling out some of the things that weren't quite true, but no, no frying pan," she told Entertainment Weekly . "Although there was legitimate danger with stuff flying around inside the boat in a storm — household everyday objects become deadly. Keeping your cabin tidy is something I should have been better at."

Did Jessica Watson's parents fly over in a small plane?

Yes. Though it's not shown in the film, Jessica Watson's parents flew over her boat twice during her journey. The first time was in a twin-engine plane shortly after she rounded Cape Horn (pictured below) in January 2010. The flight was paid for by the media. Due to poor weather conditions, it took three tries until her parents were able to reach her location. "Hi, mum, how are you? How do I look from up there?" she asked her mom during the flyover. "You look so small on that huge ocean," her mother replied. They both shed tears during their conversation. Her parents flew over her again in April to celebrate her entering Australian waters. On her blog, Jessica shared these images on January 14, 2010 of when she rounded Cape Horn (pictured), which is located on Hornos Island in the Hermite Islands group at the foot of South America.

Did Jessica Watson have to perform repairs during her journey?

Yes. In researching the question, "Is True Spirit accurate?" we learned that Watson indeed encountered several complications on her journey, including various repairs that she had to make to her boat. The repairs were chronicled on Jessica Watson's blog, including repairs to the mainsail, battery monitor, stove, toilet (twice), kettle, and the replacement of the wind generator blades. She eventually replaced the wind generator with a spare, and she replaced the engine's fuel pump after being plagued by engine trouble toward the end of her journey. "The little Yanmar engine is going again! A little delicately, but it is running with a water transfer pump rigged up in place of the fuel pump which had stopped working," she explained in her blog. "It's pretty dodgy with all the mismatching hoses but should do the job." As for the leak that arises in the movie, Watson says that it didn't happen in real life. "There's quite a leak in the movie that it looks like I'm fixing with blu-tack. In reality, there was nothing major, which again, was a real testament to the preparation behind it and a lot of things going right; a lot of conservative decisions." Jessica shared this photo on social media in April 2010 with the caption, "Fitting the blade to the new wind generator." Photo: Facebook

How many days was Jessica Watson alone at sea?

Jessica's solo, nonstop, unassisted around-the-world journey took 210 days (approximately seven months) and she logged 24,285 nautical miles, though her officially recognized sailing distance was considerably less. She departed Sydney Harbour on October 18, 2009 and returned on May 15, 2010.

Did Jessica encounter the monster waves shown in the movie?

Yes. She survived a total of seven knockdowns on her voyage, which is when a boat is knocked over on its side to roughly 90 degrees or less by wind or waves. In terms of sailing, it is characterized by the boat capsizing to the point that the mast touches the water. Some of the knockdowns were severe, including one in which Ella's Pink Lady was thrown upside down into the trough of a wave. Jessica clung to the handholds as things flew around the cabin and her feet inched up the wall and onto the roof, with the mast pushed 180 degrees into the water. This was one of four knockdowns that occurred during a late-January storm in the South Atlantic Ocean, which had produced 65-knot winds or greater. The True Spirit movie true story confirms that in the latter portion of her journey, Jessica encountered three monster low-pressure systems that formed in succession off Antarctica and surged through the Southern Ocean, producing 50-knot winds and gigantic waves up to 12 meters (39 feet) high.

Was Jessica Watson's boat underwater?

In an intense moment in the Netflix movie, Jessica's boat is submerged upside down and is at least 15 feet underwater. Several minutes seem to pass before her boat resurfaces. The real Jessica Watson said that this moment in the film was dramatized. "But of course, there's movie magic involved as well," she said. "There are some details that certainly don't follow the reality, and sailors will, no doubt, pick them up. The big storm scene where the boat's underwater for quite some time, in reality, wasn't that dramatic. But in that moment, it certainly felt like it. So maybe it's sort of true to the feeling behind it." -Practical Boat Owner She told Entertainment Weekly , "The 15 ft. underwater is real because my emergency beacon did self-activate as the boat sank. That happened. But the time I was upside down for, it certainly felt like a long time. I haven't really got a concept of how long it was in reality, but we are talking seconds compared to what we see in the movie, which stretches on forever in minutes and minutes and minutes. That's a little bit of an exaggeration there, but it was real to the experience of it feeling like forever."

How old was the real Jessica Watson when she completed her solo sailing trip around the world?

Like in the Netflix movie, Jessica was 16 when she sailed into Sydney Harbour on May 15, 2010 to complete her solo, nonstop, unassisted journey around the world. She stepped off the Pink Lady boat and into the arms of her relieved parents just three days before her 17th birthday. Jessica Watson steps off her boat and into the arms of her relieved parents after completing her circumnavigation.

How did Jessica Watson handle being alone at sea for so long?

Jessica says that she handled it "really well." "I'm not sure if that means that I'm really simple or not, but I really did enjoy being by myself," she told 60 Minutes Australia . "I obviously really missed everyone, you know, from the day, the minute I started out of Sydney Harbour, you know, it was something's missing and I missed everyone so badly, but I did, I really enjoyed it. You know, once I got used to it, I enjoyed, you know, the sort of freedom, the independence of being by yourself." Though we don't see it in the Jessica Watson movie, she cried after she departed and the boat with her mom and dad on it had turned back (in the film, they bid her farewell from the dock). In her book, she mentions crying when she found out her brother got his first job because she couldn't be there to congratulate him. She also describes breaking down and crying prior to passing Cape Horn when she felt like she wasn't making any headway toward the cape. Her parents were scheduled to fly over and she felt guilty that she was delaying everyone. She later describes being in a "black hole" of depression for three days when she was several hundred miles from Australia, blaming her mood on the rainy weather but then saying that justification was "complete nonsense." Jessica Watson (left) is pictured as she rounds Cape Horn in poor weather conditions. As she did in the movie (right), she was able to talk to her parents via sat-phone, including when they flew over her location. Photo: Facebook

Did Jessica expect nearly a hundred thousand people to show up to welcome her home?

No, her surprise in the movie is true to real life. "I expected a few people here to meet me," she told 60 Minutes Australia , "but what we got coming into Harbour was just completely overwhelming." Roughly one hundred thousand people packed Sydney Harbour to welcome her home, including Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who called her the "newest Australian hero," to which she really did disagree. "I don't consider myself a hero, I'm an ordinary girl," she told the crowd. "You don't have to be someone special to achieve something amazing, you've just got to have a dream, believe in it, and work hard."

Did Jessica Watson chronicle her journey in a blog?

Yes. The True Spirit true story confirms that Jessica Watson's blog featured near-daily posts that she made about her journey. She also shared many pics and several videos with her growing number of supporters. Each one of her posts received hundreds of comments, mostly wishing her well. Though she has a new website at JessicaWatson.com.au , her original blog from her journey can still be read at YougestRound.Blogspot.com . It's a must-read if you want a better idea of what her real-life trip was like. On her blog, Jessica shared this picture that she took from atop the mast of the Pink Lady in January 2010.

Did Jessica Watson's journey add up to an officially recognized circumnavigation?

No. Technically, her primarily southern journey did not go far enough north of the equator to satisfy the World Speed Sailing Record Council (WSSRC) to be a true around-the-world trip. The WSSRC, which is the official record body, recognizes a full circumnavigation of the globe as having traveled an orthodromic distance (great circle) of at least 21,600 nautical miles, the circumference of the Earth. According to Sail-World.com , Jessica's voyage came up at least 2,000 nautical miles short and therefore would not go into the WSSRC's record books as a full global circumnavigation. It's true that her own log had her traveling 24,285 nautical miles, but official sailing distances do not include the amount her vessel tacked and detoured for weather. The 1999 officially-recognized circumnavigation of one of her idols, German-Australian sailor Jesse Martin, went significantly farther north of the equator. "I could give you a million technical arguments, you know, my trip is no different to so many other people who have circumnavigated and you know become very famous for doing it," said Jessica, "but it's like I said, it doesn't worry me. There's always going to be someone out there who says something, and possibly because they just don't want to believe that it's possible for a 16-year-old to sail around the world." In her book True Spirit , she stated, "If I haven't been sailing around the world, then it beats me what I've been doing out here all this time!" Her manager, Andrew Fraser, defended her journey by pointing out that the WSSRC does not recognize records achieved by sailors who are not yet eighteen, so their input doesn't matter. He argued that it was never stated she would be going for a world record, simply that she would become the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe solo, nonstop, and unassisted ( Brisbane Times ). In the book, Jessica says that she wrote several letters to the WSSRC asking the organization what she had to do to secure the record. They responded by stating that she would not be able to since age records were no longer recognized. The "youngest" category was removed in an effort to prevent ambitious parents from sending ever-younger kids out to sea. Still, she felt that she had done everything necessary for the record, including starting and returning from the same point and crossing the equator and all meridians of longitude. She pointed out that she sailed "a little longer" than Kay Cottee's solo, unassisted, and nonstop circumnavigation, which was recognized by the WSSRC.

Where can I see Jessica Watson's boat, Ella's Pink Lady ?

The nearly 34-foot yacht was purchased jointly in 2011 by the Queensland and Commonwealth governments for $300,000. It is currently on display at the Queensland Maritime Museum. Jessica Watson is pictured with the boat Ella's Pink Lady  at the Queensland Maritime Museum, where it has been on display since 2011. Photo: Queensland Maritime Museum Facebook

Where is Jessica Watson today?

After successfully completing her around-the-world journey, Jessica wrote about it in her 2010 book True Spirit , which became the basis for the 2023 Netflix movie. The TV documentary 210 Days , narrated by Richard Branson, was also released in 2010. It featured footage of Jessica before, during, and after her solo trip. In 2011, she was named Young Australian of the Year, and in 2012, she was awarded the Order of Australia Medal. Jessica became involved in various projects, including becoming the youngest skipper in Australia's famous Sydney to Hobart yacht race. Her team, which was the youngest ever to compete, took second in their division. Humanitarian work included becoming a Youth Representative for the United Nations World Food Programme, a role that took her to far-away Laos and refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan. According to her website, Jessica graduated from university, completed an MBA, and was a founding member of the marine start-up Deckee, which advertises itself as an "all-in-one boating app" that combines official information with crowdsourced reports, focusing on marine weather, safety alerts, activity logging, location sharing, official regulations, and local knowledge. In 2014, she gave a TEDx Talk in Brisbane in which she discussed her experience sailing around the world. She wrote a second book that was published in 2018, a sailing-themed middle-grade novel titled Indigo Blue . She's been a sought-after corporate speaker and has worked as a management consultant as part of Deloitte's Human Capital consulting team. In 2021, she was a consultant on the True Spirit Netflix movie about her 2010 circumnavigation. The real Jessica Watson (left) was a consultant on the True Spirit Netflix movie. She's pictured with actress Teagan Croft (right) who portrays her in the film. Photo: Instagram @jessicawatson_93

Is Jessica Watson married?

In 2021, tragedy struck when Jessica Watson's boyfriend of ten years, Cameron Dale, 29, died six weeks after suffering a catastrophic stroke. The pair had met at Hamilton Island's Race Week in 2011, the year after Jessica's solo circumnavigation. Like Jessica, he was a passionate sailor and had spent days trying to meet her. At the time of Cameron Dale's death, Jessica had been acting as a consultant on the True Spirit movie and continued to do so after his passing. However, she points out that she was not heavily involved in the shooting of the movie, "Because obviously, I was with Cam in an ICU (Intensive Care Unit)." On Instagram, she wrote, "On Monday, 30 August 2021 we lost our Cam – my long-term partner in every aspect of life and planned future. ... Cam and I have been inseparable since 2011, our shared world centered on messing about on boats. Describing what Cam means to me is impossible – everyone who knows us understands how much we simply loved each other. ... Being Cam's 'Jess' is the role I'm most proud of." Just over a year later, The Weekend Australian Magazine wrote an article about her loss. In it, she stated, "I've been called courageous for my sailing exploits – but the courage it's taken to get through this is incomparable." Tragically, Jessica Watson's boyfriend of ten years, Cameron Dale, passed away in 2021 after suffering a severe stroke. Photo: Facebook Jessica Watson

 Was Jessica Watson's Boat Underwater? True Spirit Fact vs Fiction
 16-year-old Jessica Watson Documentary Segment | 60 Minutes
 Jessica Watson Crosses the Equator and Dunks Herself
 True Spirit Trailer

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True Spirit, an Interview with Jessica Watson

By: Zeke Quezada, ASA Movies , women on the water

True Spirit , available only on Netflix, on February 3, 2023, captures the essence of sailing from the exhilarating sailing sequences to the abysmal loneliness to the harrowing storms. Reacquaint yourself with the story that captured the world’s attention when a teenager decided to attempt to become the youngest sailor to sail non-stop around the globe. You will feel the wind in your face, your palms will sweat when the storms roll in and spoiler alert, you might cry a little as well.

Jessica Watson sat down with American Sailing to discuss sailing, her adventure and True Spirit the film about her sailing expedition to be the youngest person to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted. True Spirt is only available on Netflix on February 3, 2023.

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Jessica Watson: I certainly didn’t step off Ella’s Pink Lady and feel I’d had enough of sailing, if anything my love for it has grown tenfold. Although it is also something I’ve taken increasingly less seriously and I’m no great racing sailor. Since the voyage around the world I went on to other sailing challenges like skippering the youngest crew to compete in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart and in more recent years have enjoyed messing about in dinghy’s, a trailer


True Spirit

Netflix Release Date | February 3, 2023

Synopsis | When the tenacious young sailor Jessica Watson (Teagan Croft) sets out to be the youngest person to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world, many expect her to fail. With the support of her sailing coach and mentor Ben Bryant (Cliff Curtis) and her parents (Josh Lawson and Academy Award winner Anna Paquin), Jessica is determined to accomplish what was thought to be impossible, navigating some of the world’s most challenging stretches of ocean over the course of 210 days.

True Spirit is directed by Sarah Spillane, written by Sarah Spillane, Rebecca Banner and Cathy Randall with Debra Martin Chase, Susan Cartsonis and Andrew Fraser serving as producers. Bridget Webb, Vivien Turner, Stacy Clausen and Todd Lasance also co-star in this incredible true story of perseverance and human accomplishment that shows that you are only as big as the dreams you dare to live.

Director | Sarah Spillane

Writers | Sarah Spillane, Rebecca Banner, Cathy Randall

Based On the book by Jessica Watson

Producers | Debra Martin Chase, Susan Cartsonis, Andrew Fraser

Cast | Teagan Croft, Cliff Curtis, Bridget Webb, Vivien Turner, Stacy Clausen, Todd Lasance, with Josh Lawson and Anna Paquin

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Movie Reviews

Tv/streaming, collections, great movies, chaz's journal, contributors, true spirit.

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"True Spirit" is an inspirational adventure about Australian sailor  Jessica Watson , who in 2009 became the youngest sailor to circumnavigate the globe by herself. Her quest was sparked by another record-breaker, German sailor Jesse Martin, who did the same thing ten years earlier when he was two years older than Watson; Watson used his memoir and course as partial inspiration, with support from her family and manager and after many years of training and experience on the water. 

Watson's family was criticized in the media and by government officials for being irresponsible, and some at the time worried that Watson lacked a full understanding of all the risks involved in the trip and wasn't mature or responsible enough to undertake it (she collided with a bulk carrier during a test run from Sidney to Brisbane and was found to have been asleep at the time). Nevertheless, she persisted, sailing around the world, surviving multiple storms and a long period of windless stasis. She was recognized with multiple citations and medals and became an emblem of the can-do spirit, particularly for girls and young women who love sailing but felt excluded from it by sexism. 

Her story would seem like a can't-miss subject for a crowd-pleasing film, and "True Spirit"—starring Teagan Croft of DC's "Titans," directed by Sarah Spillane and co-written by her and Cathy Randall —does not miss. The screenplay's structure tends to impede dramatic momentum by regularly cutting back to key moments in Watson's childhood just when the present-tense action is building up a fine head of steam. But the sailing sequences, a mix of location footage and green screen bits, are stirring, sometimes breathtaking, and occasionally storybook-poetic (as in a nighttime scene that begins with an overhead shot of Watson's boat, Ella's Pink Lady, seeming to float in a sea of stars, then tilts up to show that the stars are reflections in the water). 

In real life, as noted in Watson's memoir, her dad vigorously opposed her taking the trip, but the film makes it seem as if he had only a moment's hesitation; and Cliff Curtis' "coach" character, Ben Watson, is a fictionalized version of Watson's real mentor and project manager, Bruce Arms. He's been given a tragic backstory here that seems mainly there to give the heroine something to cruelly use against him at a moment when they're both stressed out. (Yes, they make up.) But there are always compressions, deletions, and inventions in dramas based on life, and the leanness of this film's approach works mostly in its favor, even if there are times when one might wish they'd leaned into the "fable" aspect a bit harder (what an animated film this might have made!).

Overall, however, there's something a tad anodyne and "off" about this production. It's so perky and clean-scrubbed that it feels like a Disney Channel version of a wilderness survival tale, suitable for young children who presumably can't handle too many complexities or contradictions, and whose parents (perhaps) believe that the highest function of popular culture is to show families as harmonious institutions, and outsiders as interfering know-nothings. 

And at the same time, strangely, the film is so single-mindedly focused on vindicating Watson and her family and coach, and making anyone who raised objections to the trip seem like killjoy ninnies and usurpers of free will, that there are moments when it seems like the movie equivalent of a sore winner. Media naysayers are incarnated by a composite character TV reporter, played by actor Todd Lasance —a showboater with a punchable smirk who has been given the name "Atherton," presumably an homage to the narcissist portrayed by actor William Atherton in " Die Hard ." Of course Atherton, too, eventually comes around and cheers for Watson. Additionally, Watson's blog as framed within the movie seems like more of an illustration of how to bypass the media and get one's "message" out than an autobiographical treasure trove documenting Watson's incredible journey. Meanwhile, the ingrained sexism that Watson faced from records-certifiers who came up with all sorts of reasons to deny her right to claim a world's record afterward go largely unexamined. 

Watson's memoir and the 2010 documentary about her achievement, "210 Days," are altogether more thorough and nuanced looks at this story, though of course that's nearly always true of documentaries that tell the same story as works of fiction. Dramatic features tend to have goal-directed stories with uncomplicated happy endings. The messiness of life gets sanded off in the name of giving the people what they supposedly want.

Now playing on Netflix.

Matt Zoller Seitz

Matt Zoller Seitz

Matt Zoller Seitz is the Editor at Large of RogerEbert.com, TV critic for New York Magazine and Vulture.com, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism.

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Film credits.

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True Spirit (2023)

109 minutes

Teagan Croft as Jessica Watson

Cliff Curtis as Ben Bryant

Anna Paquin

Josh Lawson

Bridget Webb

Vivien Turner

Stacy Clausen

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‘True Spirit’: Release Date, Cast, Trailer, and Everything You Need to Know


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All the New Movies Coming to Streaming This Week: 'IF,' 'Trigger Warning,' and More

Where the heck is that new ‘salem's lot’ movie, get in touch with the new emotions of 'inside out 2', quick links, when and where is true spirit releasing, watch the true spirit trailer, who’s in the cast of true spirit, what is true spirit about, who is making true spirit.

Coming up this February is True Spirit , which follows the story of an Australian girl who made news as the youngest person ever to sail solo around the world. True Spirit chronicles the remarkable voyage embarked on by a sixteen-year-old girl, Jessica Watson, who risks everything, including her life, to fulfill her ambition of sailing nonstop across the world on her own. It's a film of love, hope, and survival. Jessica Watson traveled some of the world's most isolated waters, surviving seven knockdowns and 210 days at sea alone. At the end of her journey, She was received by the Australian Prime Minister of the time, who called her an Australian hero. Her story is now being brought to life in this inspirational new Netflix movie and here's everything you need to know about it.

Related: How True Are 'Spotlight' and 'American Sniper'? This Infographic Fact Checks "True Story” Movies

Mark your calendars! True Spirit officially premieres on February 3, 2023. The movie is being released exclusively on Netflix. If you don’t have a Netflix subscription yet, you can opt for one of their four plans: Basic with ads ($6.99/month), Basic ($9.99/month), Standard ($15.49/month), or Premium ($19.99/month). As for the Basic with ads plan, you may want to confirm with your provider to check its availability, as it might not be available through all third-party billing partners. Each plan comes it its own perks, such as the number of devices you can access Netflix from, the quality, and your ability to download content.

Watch on Netflix

The trailer for True Spirit was released by Netflix on January 10, 2023. The clip introduces us to Jessica Watson and her 34-foot pink yacht, all alone in the middle of the calm ocean. Aspiring to be the youngest person to sail around the world nonstop and unassisted, she has a lot on her plate: worried parents, public skepticism, and the unpredictable dangers of the sea. With the trials and tribulations that await her, Jess's character is put to the test, and she quickly learns that strength and struggles go hand-in-hand. Breathtaking and inspiring, True Spirit redefines what it means to be truly brave.

Teagan Croft stars as Jessica Watson, the protagonist of True Spirit . Croft gained recognition for playing Rachel Roth on the DC Universe / HBO Max series Titans , as well as playing Indi Sommerville in The Osiris Child . Croft started her acting career with a theatrical adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird , playing the role of Scout Finch at only nine years old. She also had a recurring role in Home and Away as Bella Loneragan. Starring alongside her are award-winning actors Cliff Curtis as Ben Bryant and Anna Paquin as Julie Watson. Curtis’ acting credits include Training Day , Collateral Damage , and The Dark Horse , for which he received the Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Performance by an Actor. Paquin gained worldwide praise for her performance as Flora McGrath in The Piano , which won her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress at only 11 years old, cementing her as the second-youngest winner in Oscar history.

Joining the rest of the cast are Superstore ’s Josh Lawson as Roger Watson, Bridget Webb as Emily Watson, Stacy Clausen as Tom Watson, and Todd Lasance as Craig Atherton.

Related: 10 Surprising Movies That Will Inspire You To Follow Your Dreams

Below is the official synopsis for True Spirit :

“When Jessica Watson sets out to be the youngest person to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world, she must overcome her greatest fear as she navigates the world’s most challenging stretches of ocean. Based on a true story.”

True Spirit chronicles Jessica Watson's 210-day sailing journey around the world. She accumulated over 22,000 nautical miles despite being only 16 years old at the time. While many consider her epic journey to be a triumphant achievement, it obviously was not without its challenges, as she faced everything from gale-force winds to dangerous icebergs to extreme loneliness. The movie follows her growth from a regular young girl to someone who has the strength, guts, and determination to pursue her dreams.

True Spirit is directed by Sarah Spillane . Spillane is known for her works such as The Manual and Around the Block - the latter starring Christina Ricci and Jack Thompson . Around the Block premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and has won an Australian Directors Guild Award. In addition to directing True Spirit , Spillane also serves as and executive producer and one of the film's writers. Joining the team are fellow writers Rebecca Banner and Cathay Randall , producers Andrew Fraser , Debra Martin Chase , and Susan Cartsonis , as well as executive producers Georgina Marquis and Shahen Mekertichian . Director of photography Danny Ruhlmann and editor Veronika Jenet are also part of the project. True Spirit is produced by Resonate Entertainment and Sunstar Entertainment Pty Ltd.

The long-awaited film adaptation of Jessica Watson's record-breaking solo round of the world in Queensland was produced with support from the Queensland Government under Screen Queensland 's Production Attraction Strategy. The film was shot at Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast as well as other sites in South East Queensland and Sydney, and it is expected to bring in more than $24 million for the state economy and generate more than 300 employment for Queensland actors, crew, and extras. True Spirit is Netflix's second feature film to be shot in Queensland, following Spiderhead , starring Chris Hemsworth , which was shot last year in the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre and on location in The Whitsundays, Jacobs Well, Arundel, and Tallebudgera Valley.

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  • Netflix’s Real-Life Sailing Adventure <i>True Spirit</i> Is an Anthem of Teenage Independence

Netflix’s Real-Life Sailing Adventure True Spirit Is an Anthem of Teenage Independence

S ixteen is often the age where you start dreaming of striking out on your own, of trying something just a little bit dangerous—though you still want to know that your parents have your back if you fall. That’s the appeal of True Spirit, a movie based on the real-life adventures of Jessica Watson , who at age 16 became the youngest person to sail around the world solo. Directed by Australian filmmaker Sarah Spillane, the picture is appealingly breezy, though it does have its share of tense moments involving killer waves and charcoal-toned stormy skies. Mostly, it’s an anthem of teenage independence and daring, the story of one young woman who set her sights on a dream while still a child and willed it into reality just a few years later. Not every teenager could pull it off: this is a story about believing in possibilities rather than being constrained by limits, and about respecting nature while also reveling in its wild, unpredictable glory.

Jessica—played as a young child by Alyla Browne and as a teenager by the capable actress Teagan Croft—has always lived by or on the water, and has always loved sailing. She may struggle with dyslexia, but she understands the sea and its power. She’s particularly enthralled by the story of teenage sailor Jesse Martin, who in 1999 became the youngest sailor to cross the globe solo. He was 18; she wants to break his record. She saves her pennies for a boat, the Pink Lady.

True Spirit

Read more reviews by Stephanie Zacharek

Most of that setting is fleshed out in flashback scenes: the movie opens in 2009, as 16-year-old Jessica attempts a solo trial run in advance of her big adventure. She has an adviser, Ben Bryant (Cliff Curtis), an ace sailor who long ago gave up on his own dreams, but who has agreed to help Jessica fulfill hers. Her parents (played by Anna Paquin and Josh Lawson), have also encouraged her all along, even though the media slams them for allowing a minor to embark on an adventure that could endanger her life.

And the trial run, it turns out, is a near disaster: Jessica seems so excited by the notion of being out on the sea by herself—we see her dancing around the tiny cabin in a pop-star reverie, singing into her toothbrush—that she forgets to set an important alarm and ends up being sideswiped by a cargo ship. She makes it back to shore, but her boat is badly damaged. And news reporters are waiting for her, practically rejoicing in her failure: the most smug of these is an uptight dude in a trim, tiny suit (Todd Lasance), who’s convinced Jessica doesn’t have what it takes to pull off the grand feat she’s assigned herself.

Read more: The 49 Most Anticipated Movies of 2023

Well, she’ll show him! And she does, 210 days later, days of glorious puffy clouds and unfettered joy but also of worrying windless stretches and angry red skies. At one point Jessica peeks out her cabin window and recites the old maxim, “Red at night, sailor’s delight, red at morning, sailor’s warning,” and boy, does that turn out to be apt: the storm that ensues is a doozy, its waves tossing her tiny vessel as a cat dipsy-doodles a toy mouse. Jessica does everything right, lowering the sails, releasing the drogue (a parachute-like device designed to stabilize the boat) and strapping herself in for safety—and still, there are dangers she can’t account for. The movie rides this unpredictability like a surfboard.

Because this is a true story, recorded by the person who lived it, we know how it ends. But that doesn’t make the threats faced by a teenager alone at sea any less treacherous. True Spirit also deals realistically with Jessica’s low points. She keeps a blog to record her experience, and at one point tearfully confesses her loneliness: she misses the passel of siblings she’s left behind at home, and there are days when she wonders why she’s invested so much in this risky undertaking. But most of the time, she relishes the small experiences that come wrapped up in this big one, cooking her own meals on a tiny burner or going above deck to shave her legs in the sun. True Spirit makes freedom on the high seas look like fun, a far cry from staring at a screen in your bedroom, waiting for your life to begin.

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True Spirit ending explained: Does Jessica successfully sail around the world?

True Spirit

‘True Spirit’ is an Australian biopic based on Jessica Watson, who became the youngest person to sail around the world in 2010. The film is now streaming on Netflix.

Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers

Plot summary

Jessica Watson and her family had always lived close to the coast practically lived in the ocean. Jessica sailed for the first time when she turned twelve and became obsessed.

For four years, she learnt everything about sailing and the ocean. She even worked part-time and saved up to complete her dream; to sail around the world.

In September 2009, Jessica is undertaking a trial run before she embarks on the journey. But it doesn’t go smoothly as a cargo ship wrecks her boat’s mast.

She contacts her coach, Ben Bryant, who tells her family. Jessica’s father, Roger, is extremely worried about her daughter. Jessica is close to her sister, Emily.

After the failed trial run, journalists flock to her family and are waiting for her to fail, but she is unwavering in her desire to take on this journey.

The media is also hard on Ben, who lost one of his crew members during The Millennium Cup. There are doubts about whether he can lead her.

Nonetheless, Ben manages to get some assistance in fixing Jessica’s boat and she’s now ready to circumnavigate the globe in ‘Pink Lady’, her yacht.

In a flashback, Ben inspires Jessica to undertake the solo sailing journey. Back in the present, Jessica has been making a video diary of her voyage.

She explains the route as well: Leave from Sydney, go northeast up past the equator, then back down to round Cape Horn at the tip of Chile, then go across the Atlantic Ocean to the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa and then over the Indian Ocean to Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia and down to South East Cape in Tasmania and finish back in Sydney.

After Jessica crosses the equator, she holds a short ceremony to celebrate her worthiness. But the joy is short-lived as a storm approaches.

Ben advises that she weather it. And despite Roger’s concerns, she decides to go through with it. Although she gets knocked out in the storm, she safely makes it to the other side.

Throughout the journey, Jessica is in constant contact with her family. She even spends Christmas with them and makes sure to catch up on every life detail.

Jessica’s next arduous task is sailing through the winds and currents of Cape Horn but she completes this phase without any difficulty.

However, the yacht is unable to progress further due to a lack of winds. This carries on for days and she starts breaking down. She confesses to her mother that she feels alone.

She calms her down with a song and eventually, the yacht catches wind and Jessica’s journey resumes.

True Spirit ending explained in detail:

What happens during the Pacific Ocean stretch?

Jessica gets a call from Emily, who has enrolled at Sydney University. She is about to tell her about a boy she met, but Jessica’s tone suddenly changes to one of concern.

She spots multiple storms approaching her. Ben, who had a falling out with Jessica, returns to her house after noticing the storms. He and her family advise her to reach the nearby port and abandon the journey.

The media also reports this development. All of Jessica’s followers around the world are concerned about her well-being.

Does Jessica navigate the storms?

Emily suggests Jessica look at the video messages recorded by her followers. She realises that her story is serving as an inspiration to countless people across the world.

Jessica figures out a way to get past the storms; by moving with them instead of trying to weather them. Her family thinks it’s extremely risky, but Roger says he’ll support whatever she decides.

The world waits with bated breath as Jessica attempts to endure the storm. She starts throwing up and a giant wave even submerges the yacht.

Her family assumes the worst when she does not pick up their calls. However, the yacht manages to return to the surface. Jessica contacts her family to tell them she’s safe.

Does Jessica complete the journey around the globe?

Jessica’s family tells the media that she has made it past the storm as the reporters and followers around the world rejoice.

Jessica returns to Sydney after 210 days in the sea and is welcomed by a huge crowd along with numerous boats. She is considered a hero by many for being the youngest to complete this journey, at 16 years of age.

In her speech, she says that she does not consider herself a hero. She wants her achievement to inspire ordinary people to achieve extraordinary milestones.

The film ends with footage of the real Jessica Watson right from her video diary to the day she reached the Sydney coast.

Also Read: Lockwood & Co. review: Gripping adventures of a quirky trio

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Books | building a ‘yacht’ in a pickup bed | the biblio file.

“Land Yacht Seaward: Building A Cozy Wooden Camper For A...

“Land Yacht Seaward: Building A Cozy Wooden Camper For A Small Truck” by David Bruhn. (Contributed)


Bruhn adds that he is “not a builder nor a master woodworker, just a retired naval officer and author who possesses a table saw, chop saw (radial arm saw), small electric and hand tools, and who has access to a friend’s drill press … designing the camper as I went along.”

Step by step, thinking things through, sometimes getting it wrong, Bruhn worked a few days each week for almost three months, documenting each step of the way, sourcing materials from Chico and Butte County businesses where possible, finding sources farther afield as needed (especially for the key ingredient, marine-grade Philippine mahogany), finally making the successful maiden voyage to Fort Bragg with his wife, Nancy.

Details emerge chapter by chapter, with dozens of photographs and diagrams, from design considerations (the maximum “payload” for the 2015 Frontier is 1100 pounds, including the camper and people) to fitting “Seaward” on the truck and creating the interior.

It’s all told in a literal nuts-and-bolts narrative in “Land Yacht Seaward: Building A Cozy Wooden Camper For A Small Truck” ($20 in paperback from HeritageBooks.com ).

A foreword, by Lynn Salmon, notes Bruhn kept six considerations in mind: “functionality, cost, attractiveness, strength, durability, and weight.” True to its name, of course, the “Seaward” had to have portholes on the doors. For security, Bruhn kept the locking tailgate. But when it was up and locked, the “Seaward” doors wouldn’t open. Just how Bruhn solved that challenge is part of the charm of the book, a tribute to the creative spirit.

If “glamping” is upscale, glamorous camping, Bruhn introduces readers to “glachting” (“glamour land yachting”). Interested? I can’t read the book for you; you’ll have to do-it-yourself.

David Bruhn is Nancy Wiegman’s guest on Nancy’s Bookshelf on North State Public Radio, mynspr.org , Wednesday, June 19 at 10:00 a.m., repeated Sunday, June 23 at 8:00 p.m.

Dan Barnett teaches philosophy at Butte College. Send review requests to [email protected]. Columns archived at https://barnetto.substack.com

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Dan Barnett teaches philosophy at Butte College. Send review requests to dbarnett99@me.com. Columns archived at https://barnetto.substack.com


Books | searching for hemingway | the biblio file.


Crude Oil Tanker, IMO 9418602

  • VesselFinder

The current position of MOSCOW SPIRIT is at South America West Coast reported 30 days ago by AIS. The vessel arrived at the port of Talcahuano Anch., Chile on May 8, 21:28 UTC. The vessel MOSCOW SPIRIT (IMO 9418602, MMSI 311000449) is a Crude Oil Tanker built in 2010 (14 years old) and currently sailing under the flag of Bahamas .


Position & Voyage Data

Predicted ETA-
Distance / Time-
Course / Speed 
Current draught15.0 m
Navigation Status -
Position received
IMO / MMSI9418602 / 311000449
Length / Beam275 / 48 m

Map position & Weather

Recent port calls, vessel utilization, vessel particulars.

IMO number9418602
Ship typeCrude Oil Tanker
Gross Tonnage83850
Summer Deadweight (t)156480
Length Overall (m)274
Beam (m)48
Draught (m)
Year of Build2010
Place of Build
Crude Oil (bbl)
Gas (m3)-
Classification Society
Registered Owner
Owner Address
Owner Website-
Owner Email-
Manager Address
Manager Website
Manager Email

Similar vessels

Vessel Built GTDWT Size (m)
201083850 156493274 / 48
201183850 156639274 / 48
201183850 156532275 / 48
200983850 156643274 / 48
201283850 156597274 / 48
201283824 160024274 / 48
201283824 160152274 / 48
201383882 154107274 / 49
201383882 154036274 / 49
201383882 154233274 / 49

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MOSCOW SPIRIT current position and history of port calls are received by AIS. Technical specifications, tonnages and management details are derived from VesselFinder database. The data is for informational purposes only and VesselFinder is not responsible for the accuracy and reliability of MOSCOW SPIRIT data.

'Three Sisters' immerses us in Chekhov's world of desire and regret

Invictus manages to capture most of the play’s challenging, dramatic sprawl..

Katherine Schwartz (from left), Ellie Duffey and Maria Stephens play the siblings in Invictus Theatre Company's production of "Three Sisters."

Katherine Schwartz (from left), Ellie Duffey and Maria Stephens play the siblings in Invictus Theatre Company’s production of “Three Sisters.”

Aaron Reese Boseman Photography

So near and yet so far: The titular siblings of Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” yearn to escape the mundane stasis of Russia’s rural provinces for the excitement of Moscow. In Chekhovland, dreams don’t usually come true. So it goes with siblings Masha, Irina and Ólga, whose lives are defined by dreams forever deferred in the playwright’s 1901 drama. Moscow may be in reach within the span of a carriage ride or two, but for Irina, Masha and Olga, it might as well be the moon.

Directed for Invictus Theatre Company by founding artistic director Charles Askenaizer, Chekhov’s three-hour classic (translated by Paul Schmidt) serves a turbulent sea of curdled ambitions lined with slivers of desperate, futile optimism. The latter holds sway when soldiers arrive at the home that Irina (Ellie Duffey), Masha (Katherine Schwartz) and Ólga (Maria Stephens) share with their brother Andrey (Michael B. Woods), a gambling addict.

While Andrey drives the family toward financial ruin, his sisters engage with giddy joy when the troops come calling. In the soldiers, the women see an escape, be it geographical, romantic or simply in the form of gossip from the beloved city they recall from their childhoods.

The soldiers are a somewhat interchangeable lot on stage, but Invictus mostly succeeds in creating a world where the very air feels thick with desire and regret, the two inextricably knotted together.

The story is intensely dialogue-driven, save for a blazing metaphor of an off-stage fire and a late-in-the-play off-stage shooting that serves as a violent exclamation point to the sisters’ thwarted longings. The action unfurls in sisters’ home, beginning as they anticipate the soldiers’ arrival and ending several years later, after the dominant forces shaping their lives — marriage, children, jobs and money — shift and settle with grim permanence.

Throughout, the challenging, dramatic sprawl “Three Sisters” encompasses contains a veritable banquet of angst, joy, wit and existential despair. Invictus captures much of it. And even when it stumbles, Chekhov writes with such forceful acuity and stark beauty it’s easy to simply get lost in the dialogue.

Askenaizer needs to tighten up the pacing significantly. “Three Sisters” feels like it’s playing at half-speed sometimes, usually at the most emotionally fraught moments, as if the audience would miss the full impact of the moment if it weren’t slowed down to a crawl.

The director also needs to rein in some of the excessive emotional pyrotechnics: Duffey has a youthful, flirty charm as Irina, who is a very young 18 at the start of “Three Sisters.” Askenaizer has her sprawling over furniture and rolling on the floor like a toddler hyped up on sugar, delivering her lines with over-the-top exaggeration that turns the character from a naive young woman into a childish simpleton.

Stephens’ Olga captures the character’s warmhearted compassion as well as her resignation to both self-proclaimed spinsterhood and a teaching career she despises. Ólga is 28 when “Three Sisters” starts, but in Stephens’ performance, you can sense the weariness grinding her down: She looks young, but bears the exhaustion of someone far older.

As the unhappily married Másha, Schwartz brings acidic irony to some of the production’s most biting comedic scenes. When Masha embarks on a romance with one of the visiting soldiers, the affair becomes — like the play itself — a portrait of fleeting joy and a portent of life’s inevitable cruelties.

Woods gives the feckless brother Andrey a believable core of incompetence and desperation — both traits that will have a ruinous impact on his sisters.

Finally, there’s Cat Hermes as Natasha, whose gleaming blonde hair, vibrant attire and authoritative delivery establish her as a fox in the proverbial henhouse. Natasha’s ambition is as bold as her jewel-toned clothing (vivid work by costume designer Jessie Gowens). In Hermes’ deceptively comic delivery, Natasha contrasts the sisters in almost every way — including the practical ruthlessness she deploys in order to make her own dreams a reality.

Cat Hermes (with Michael B. Woods) plays Natasha with vibrant attire and authoritative delivery.

Cat Hermes (with Michael B. Woods) plays Natasha with vibrant attire and authoritative delivery.

Set designer Kevin Rolfs has transformed the Windy City Playhouse space into a parlor and dining room of believable 20th century shabby-chic. Tellingly, a fuzz of moss creeps over the furniture, signifying decay and the end of an era.

Askenaizer intersperses the action with lilting acoustic music from guitarist Kevin Cruz and vocalist Ophelia Harkness. The duo creates an auditory ambiance that evokes the spirit of the drama itself: a thicket of love and loss, underscored by the sardonic humor that defines human comedy itself, be it in real life or reflected in Chekhov’s version of it.



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    Rustem Teregulov Yacht. He is the owner of the yacht Grand Rusalina. The Grand Rusalina yacht was built by Trinity Yachts in 2009, exhibiting superior craftsmanship and design. The yacht is powered by Caterpillar engines, reaching a maximum speed of 15 knots with a cruising speed of 11 knots, and a notable range of over 6,000 nautical miles.

  21. Building a 'yacht' in a pickup bed

    A foreword, by Lynn Salmon, notes Bruhn kept six considerations in mind: "functionality, cost, attractiveness, strength, durability, and weight.". True to its name, of course, the "Seaward ...

  22. Ship MOSCOW SPIRIT (Crude Oil Tanker) Registered in Bahamas

    Vessel MOSCOW SPIRIT is a Crude Oil Tanker, Registered in Bahamas. Discover the vessel's particulars, including capacity, machinery, photos and ownership. Get the details of the current Voyage of MOSCOW SPIRIT including Position, Port Calls, Destination, ETA and Distance travelled - IMO 9418602, MMSI 311000449, Call sign C6CE5

  23. MOSCOW SPIRIT, Crude Oil Tanker

    The current position of MOSCOW SPIRIT is at South America West Coast reported 4 days ago by AIS. The vessel MOSCOW SPIRIT (IMO 9418602, MMSI 311000449) is a Crude Oil Tanker built in 2010 (14 years old) and currently sailing under the flag of Bahamas . Plans & Prices. Track on Map Add Photo. Add to fleet.

  24. 'Three Sisters' immerses us in Chekhov's world of desire and regret

    In Chekhovland, dreams don't usually come true. So it goes with siblings Masha, Irina and Ólga, whose lives are defined by dreams forever deferred in the playwright's 1901 drama.