True Spirit is a movie released on Netflix in February 2023. It tells the extraordinary true story of Jessica Watson, a young Australian sailor who became famous as the youngest one to circumnavigate the world: her voyage lasted 210 days and was completed in 2010, when Jessica was still 16. It’s a fascinating story, and the spectators were curious to know more details about how things really went. In this article, we will discover who’s behind Watson’s coach Ben Bryant, interpreted in the movie by the actor Cliff Curtis.
You can watch the official trailer for True Spirit here on Youtube.
True Spirit, the true story: who’s the sailor Ben Bryant, Jessica Watson’s coach?
The character of Jessica Watson in the movie True Spirit is based on the real sailor who circumnavigated the world at the age of 16. You can find here an article on The Guardian reporting her arrival in Sidney in 2010, and her official website also states the exact words she pronounced when she was welcomed by the Australian Prime Minister: “I’m not a hero, just an ordinary person, who had a dream, worked hard at it and proved that anything really is possible.”
On the other hand, the sailor Ben Bryant who plays the role of Jessica Watson’s coach in the movie True Spirit is not real. There is no Australian sailor with that name. As Jessica explained on her Instagram some weeks before the movie’s release, Ben is a fictional character inspired by “a whole team of people” who helped her train and prepare for the trip.
Among the sailors and mentors who supported Jessica Watson before and during her trip, there are Bruce Arms, who set a record for the circumnavigation of Australia in 2011, and Don McIntyre, who completed a similar experience, the BOC challenge, in 1990. They also supervised the refitting of the boat she used for the circumnavigation.
In conclusion, the character Ben Bryant doesn’t exist in real life, but he’s a fascinating mix of all the professional help Jessica Watson received for the training and the realization of her lifetime achievement.
The true story of Jessica Watson’s circumnavigation around the world is also told by her book True Spirit, published in 2010. You find it on Amazon.