Jessica Watson today — Where is the accomplished sailor who left the sea?

Jessica Watson

Beating the odds stacked against her, Jessica Watson sailed across the world at the young age of 16. The singular feat of completing a circumnavigation all alone with limited experience under her belt is captured in the 2023 Netflix biopic True Spirit. Based on her 2010 memoir of the same name, the film features the Australian actress Teagan Croft filling the shoes of Watson.

At 18 years old, Watson last sailed competitively in the 2011 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Since then, she took a step back from sailing and pursued an entirely different career path, choosing to prioritize her education and personal life.

Jessica Watson is now a manager at the international services firm Deloitte – She only sails as a hobby

After taking a hiatus from sailing, Jessica Watson decided to get a Diploma in Project Management from the Australian Institute of Management in 2014. She then enrolled at Deakin University, Victoria, where she studied for a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Communication.

In 2015, Watson co-founded Deckee, a free boating app that promotes safety and local knowledge about the sport, and briefly served as its communications manager. By 2017, she completed her Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the same institution she got her diploma from.

Watson currently lives in Melbourne and is a manager at Deloitte, an international professional services network based in London. It is a position she has maintained since January 2022. However, she has worked at the firm for nearly five years, joining first as a consultant.

By her admission, Watson has a ‘complicated relationship’ with her public image. Although she is aware of its privileges, she struggles with her fame, which is a part of why she continued her education and got an office job out of the spotlight.

“I certainly didn’t step off Pink Lady [my boat] and say ‘ok, that’s enough sailing’ and, if anything, my appreciation has grown for it ten-fold since the big solo voyage around the world. But at the same time, it is probably something I have taken far less seriously in recent years,” she explained.

Watson had little desire for competitive sailing and thought it important to seek out new opportunities and challenges to move on with her life. She now only sails as a hobby, calling it her ‘lifetime passion’. She was inducted into the Australian Sailing Hall of Fame in 2022.

In 2021, Watson’s long-time partner Cameron Dale passed away from a stroke. She grieved his untimely death in private.

“There were many years where I was pretty sick of my own story, and would shy away and want to move on, to some extent. I am very grateful it is not the center of everything I do, and I was pretty determined it wouldn’t be and there would be other important parts of my life,” said Watson.