Real story of teen who sailed around the world by herself comes to life in True Spirit trailer

The incredible true story of Jessica Watson, who, at just 16, attempted to become the youngest person to sail alone around the world, is coming to Netflix — and EW has the exclusive first trailer.

Based on Watson's book chronicling her harrowing journey, True Spirit follows the teen's effort to sail 23,000 nautical miles around the world in 8 months — all entirely unassisted, save for some advice over the radio.

In the heart-pounding trailer below, see Titan's Teagan Croft take to the seas as Jessica, with Avatar: The Way of the Water's Cliff Curtis as her sailing coach, and Anna Paquin and Josh Lawson as her supportive parents.

"Jessica Watson's story is an extraordinary one of perseverance in the face of obstacles and when all the odds are stacked against you," Paquin tells EW. "As a mother, I'm always really excited to find inspiring role models for my kids to look up to when they face challenges. And it being a young girl who managed to do this makes it even more special because so much ... has traditionally centered around boys and their adventures and achievements. I hope audiences of all ages and genders feel encouraged to pursue their dreams and goals no matter how out of reach they may seem."

Paquin was also excited to star in something she could show her kids. "Prior to having a family, my taste in roles skewed pretty exclusively dark and R-rated," she says. "But having sat through some... less than stellar content for kids, projects like True Spirit are very exciting to me creatively. I'm excited that I can share this with my kids... and I really feel like this is a story that will connect to and inspire anyone who sees it."

Watson, now 29, departed from Sydney on Oct. 18, 2009, and returned on May 15, 2010, just before her 17th birthday. Astonishingly, she had sailed an estimated 18,582 nautical miles, crossing through the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans. 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 it.

True Spirit key art
True Spirit key art

Netflix 'True Spirit'

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!"

Along with directing, Spillane also wrote True Spirit with Rebecca Banner and Cathy Randall. Debra Martin Chase, Susan Cartsonis, and Andrew Fraser are producers. The film also stars Bridget Webb, Vivien Turner, Stacy Clausen, and Todd Lasance.

True Spirit premieres Feb. 3 on Netflix.

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