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    British teenager becomes youngest person to sail round the world solo



    Nine months after setting sail from Portsmouth in his Open 50 racing yacht, 17-year-old Mike Perham returns home.

    Nine months, some 30,000 miles, and several euphemistic "Oh crikey!" moments after leaving Portsmouth, British teenager Mike Perham, 17, today became the youngest person to sail solo around the globe.

    The college student from land-locked Hertfordshire crossed the finishing line between Lizard Point and Ushant in France at 9.47am after braving 50ft waves, gale-force winds and a couple of hair-raising "knockdowns" during his voyage into the record books.

    "I am absolutely ecstatic. It feels amazing," he said from his Open 50 racing yacht, Totallymoney.com. "Now I am really looking forward to seeing my family and friends, getting back to my own house, and especially getting into my own
    bed at last."

    However, he will have to wait for that luxury, as well as the steak and chips he dreamt about during his odyssey. He must first continue to Gunwharf Quay in Portsmouth where he will be met on Saturday by crowds and a welcome home party.

    Setting off as a 16-year-old, equipped with an iPod, "icky" freeze-dried food supplies and a couple of robust laptops from which to blog, Mike's intention was to complete his circumnavigation non-stop in under five months. But those hairy moments, which saw first his auto-pilot and then his rudder fail, not to mention banshee winds that shred his sail and towering waves that slapped him sideways, conspired to force him to pull in for repairs.

    Stops in Portugal, Gran Canaria, Cape Town, Tasmania and New Zealand threw him behind schedule and forced him through the Panama Canal rather than round

    Cape Horn because he had missed the weather window. It also meant he had to abandon his attempt at a non-stop non-assisted circumnavigation. "It was a bit of a disappointment. But I always knew there was a chance of stopping," he said.

    Horrendous weather in the Southern Ocean saw 50ft waves in 50-knot winds, and necessitated mast repairs after two knockdowns, one of which sent the boat down on her side.

    Another drama found him cutting ropes tangled on the rudder by diving under the boat in 30 second dives for 40 minutes in the middle of the Pacific.

    "There are lows," he said yesterday. "But the ongoing low is that you are on your own, totally. That's not nice, but it is part of the challenge. I never thought about giving up," he told the Guardian via satellite phone. "Though sometimes you do ask yourself, Why on earth am I doing it?

    "There were so many experiences I will never, ever forget. Seeing hundreds of dolphins at once, or seeing whales next to you. There were some incredible sunsets and some beautifully clear days."

    Sleeping in half-hour snatches, he avoided pirates in the Caribbean by turning off his tracking system, and dodged tanks around Panama, while still continuing his studies for a sports diploma.

    Twice daily satellite calls to his father, Peter, 49, his mother, Heather, 51, and his sister, Fiona, 18, at home in Potters Bar helped ease his solitude. With his iPod permanently on shuffle, and featuring favourite bands U2 and the Black Eyed Peas, his days were spent fixing, repairing, and stuffing himself with rice and pasta to attain the 5,000 calories a day required for his energy levels.

    He cracked open champagne twice once on his 17th birthday on 16 March, and once on crossing the equator.

    It's not his first world record. He achieved that at 14, becoming the youngest person to cross the Atlantic single-handed.

    His father, who joined him on board today after he had crossed the finishing line, said: "Mike is a very special son, he has done incredibly well. He has shown that with determination, you can succeed even in the most adverse circumstances."

    The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, who sent a message to the teenager on his success, said: "This is a remarkable and inspirational achievement in one so young, another impressive event in the rich maritime history of this island nation and of the Perham family."

    British teenager becomes youngest person to sail round the world solo | Sport | guardian.co.uk

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsRobsLife
    He cracked open champagne twice – once on his 17th birthday on 16 March, and once on crossing the equator.
    You're nicked me ol beauty...drinking under age...Oh, sorry my mistake your parents bought it for you...Oh, well under British law a child of 5yrs old can have alcohol as long as it's under parental supervision!!! Bet that law's changed now actually..

    Well done chap.

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