Jesse Martin, OAM (born 26 August 1981) is a German-Australian sailor who in 1999 became the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe solo, non-stop, and unassisted, taking the record from David Dicks, who was 24 days younger when he completed his circumnavigation, but had obtained assistance. Martin's journey in the 34-foot (10 m) S&S 34 sloop Lionheart-Mistral took approximately 11 months. He chronicled his adventures in the book Lionheart: A Journey of the Human Spirit, and his story was made into a documentary, Lionheart: The Jesse Martin Story.
At 16, Martin departed Melbourne for a world voyage on his yacht, Lionheart. He arrived back in Melbourne on 31 October 1999 and sailed into the record books at age 18. The entire journey covered 328 days and 27,000 nautical miles (50,000 km) in all. Since Martin's voyage, the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC) have discontinued the "youngest" category and no longer recognise "human condition" records. Martin remains the youngest solo non-stop unassisted sailor to cross opposite points of the globe in a single round the world voyage. His voyage inspired other young sailors, including Jessica Watson, to attempt similar circumnavigations.
The voyage was sponsored by Mistral, the Melbourne newspaper the Herald Sun, the Sandringham Yacht Club, Kodak, REV milk and Autohelm. Mistral was the major sponsor, donating over A$300,000 on the conditions that the name was placed on the sail, prominently and repeatedly on the boat, on the bottom of Martin's weekly newspaper column, and on Martin's clothing.
Prior to the Lionheart voyage Jesse, along with his father and brother, completed a 1,000 km journey along the North Queensland coast in a 14-foot Caper Cat, one of the longest attempted in a catamaran of its size. In an interview following the trip, Jesse stated that the journey made the idea of sailing around the world seem possible.
Post "Lionheart" activities
Martin lives in Melbourne, Australia and has started a media production company, as well as a Papua New Guinea sailing adventure charter business. In 2005, he released a follow-up book entitled Kijana: The Real Story. In January 2009 Martin walked away uninjured after crashing his car into a train at railway level crossing at McKinnon railway station in Melbourne. In 2010 Martin shared producing and directing credits for 5 Lost at Sea, a film documenting his attempted inspirational voyage with several friends.
Martin was the Australian Yachting Federation's Youth Sailor of the Year for the year 1999-2000 and the Young Victorian of the Year in 2000. He was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001 and the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2002.