Is Ben Bryant Based on Jessica Watson’s Mentor? Where is He Today?

Image Credit: Julian Panetta/Netflix

Netflix’s ‘True Spirit’ follows the incredible story of sixteen-year-old Jessica Watson who sails around the world in 210 days all by herself. The film is deeply inspirational, focusing on the many hurdles that were placed on the teenager’s path, and she braved them all to focus on the dream she’d been fixated on since she was twelve. While the story displays Jessica’s immense courage in taking up such a feat at a young age, it also shows us the people who had been working behind the scenes to make sure that she had all the help and encouragement she needed. Her advisor Ben Bryant is one of her biggest supporters. If you are wondering whether he is a real person or not, then here’s what you should know.

Fictional Essence of Ben Bryant in True Spirit

Image Credit: Julian Panetta/Netflix

While most other characters in ‘True Spirit’ are based on specific people who played a part in Jessica’s story, the character of Ben Bryant is a composite of various people who helped her in a professional capacity. As described by Watson, Ben “represents a whole team of people” and the character captures “the spirit of these men who were so determined to see a young girl take on the world”. In reality, Watson’s coach and mentor was the renowned sailor, Bruce Arms. The two-time winner of the Solo Trans-Tasman yacht race, he has been credited as very crucial in helping Watson prepare for her seven-month-long voyage.

Another accomplished sailor who played an important role in her journey was Don McIntyre. Considered one of Australia’s greatest explorers, McIntyre circumnavigated the globe in 1990. He helped Watson with her sponsorships while also giving her the boat that became her companion on the sea for 210 days. Apart from the training and the technical assistance for her mission, Watson and her family also received a lot of help from Scott Young, who was the head of PR during Watson’s voyage, and Andrew Fraser, who managed her back then and continues to represent her even now.

Jessica Watson’s Mentor is Living a Quiet Life Today

Originally from New Zealand, Bruce Arms lives with his wife, Suzanne, in Queensland, Australia. He lives a quiet life, away from the media limelight, but has been involved in sailing all these years. In 2011, he set out to make a record for being the fastest, solo, unassisted sailor to sail around Australia at 38 days 22 hours. He is also the first person to accomplish this feat in a catamaran.

Similarly, Don McIntyre has kept himself busy with a lot of ventures. He is the founder and CEO of the Golden Globe Race, in addition to the Ocean Globe and Mini Globe Races. In 2012, he received a gold medal for Lifetime of Adventure, in recognition of his contribution to the field. In 2014, he received the Emerald Award from the Sydney Institute of Marine Sciences. He has also been involved with the restoration efforts in the Nomuka IKI island in the Kingdom of Tonga, where he is the Commodore of the Royal Nomuka Yacht Club. He is also the owner and director of McIntyre Adventure, Ocean Frontiers Pty Ltd, among other things.

Scott Young lives in the greater Sydney area and is employed as the Senior Vice President of content and production at Warner Bros. Discovery Sports, Europe. He is also the founder and senior executive producer of 5 Oceans Media Pty Ltd. Andrew Fraser still represents Jessica Watson, along with sportspeople like Mitchell Starc, Alyssa Healy, and Meg Lanning. He is a board member of the Manly Warringah Cricket Club in Sydney. He is the founder of Sunstar and has also served as a producer on ‘210 Days’, a documentary about Watson’s voyage. He was also involved in the making of Netflix’s ‘True Spirit’. Through Sunstar’s film division, created in 2011, he was also involved in the production of the Academy Award-nominated film, ‘Lion’.

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