EVANS HEAD was slightly starstruck yesterday with the arrival overnight of record-breaking teen solo sailor Jessica Watson.

Her distinctive yacht, Ella’s Pink Lady, had to be towed into Evans Head on Tuesday with electrical problems, so Jessica and her mother Julie drove down from Brisbane to meet the crew.

Jessica, 17, wasn’t on board as she’d had a previous engagement.

Her yacht was being sailed from Brisbane to the Sydney Boat Show when trouble struck.

Phil George, of Windvane Steering Systems, was one of the crew on board.

“We were on our way to pick up another crew in Yamba,” he said.

“Unfortunately, a fuse had blown, cutting all our electricals, so we had to be towed in by the Evans Head Coast Guard.”

Mr George was impressed with the hospitality they received.

“The coast guard’s Tony McNally not only towed us in, he also took the crew back to his place so we could all have showers,” he said.

Jessica and her mother also enjoyed their short stay in Evans Head.

“It’s a lovely little town,” Jessica said. “You have a beautiful beach.

“I got to walk it on my own.”

Jessica and her mother are now driving down to the boat show, while a crew of four, including Mr George, will sail Ella’s Pink Lady to Sydney.

After a night at the Pacific Motor Inn, Jessica called into the Evans Head Bakery for breakfast yesterday.

Owner Helen Aarts was impressed with how polite and friendly Jessica was, even happily posing for photos and signing autographs for customers.

“I congratulated her and she was happy to talk about her voyage,” Ms Aarts said.

“She had a laugh when I told her I wouldn’t even get in a tinny.”

Col Sanderson, from Oak Street Fruit and Vegetables, said Jessica’s party came into his shop asking directions to the bank.

“I got her to sign my information board,” he said proudly.

Marie Humphries, from the Evans Head Living Museum, went to see Jessica’s yacht armed with her camera.

“I wanted to get a photo for the museum,” she said.

“It’s quite an event for Evans Head to have Ms Watson and her boat here.”


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