Mike Perham has become the youngest person ever to sail round the world
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Mike Perham has become the youngest person ever to sail round the world.
Michael Perham (born 16 March 1992 in Hertfordshire, England) is a boy from Potters Bar who, at the age of 17 years and 164 days, became the youngest person to sail around the world solo in the 50ft racing yacht totallymoney.com, completing his journey on August 27, 2009. Perham’s record surpassed that of Zac Sunderland, an older 17 year old American, set only six weeks earlier.
Previously, Perham had crossed the Atlantic Ocean single-handed when he helmed the 29 foot (9 metres) Cheeky Monkey between Gibraltar and Antigua with repair stops in the Canary Islands and Cape Verde between 18 November 2006 and 3 January 2007. That voyage ended when he sailed into Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua at 14:00 GMT after a 3500-mile voyage. His father crossed the Atlantic at the same time in a separate boat.
Perham took the Guinness World Record from Seb Clover who crossed when he was 15 in 2003. Perham started sailing at the age of seven.
Perham has recorded his experiences in the Atlantic crossing in a book which is represented by the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency but has not yet sold. He also plans to create the Sail Mike Foundation, to encourage young people to take to the water. He is also aiming to compete in the 2012 Olympics.
On 15 November 2008, Perham began his solo non-stop circumnavigation around the world from Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth, England, in his chartered Open 50 yacht, totallymoney.com (named after the principal sponsors). He had to sell the vessel he used on his previous record attempt to raise money for the new record attempt.
The journey was planned to take four and a half months and to cover some 40,000 km. In fact he completed it on 27 August 2009. Perham was 16 when he began the journey, and turned 17 on 16 March 2009, while crossing the Indian Ocean making him the youngest solo non-stop round-the-world sailor.
If Perham’s trip had gone wholly to plan, he would have been competing for the “unassisted non-stop” record, which is a different record than the assisted sailing record. However, multiple problems with the autopilot required that repairs be made in lengthy stopovers in Lisbon and the Canary Islands; then further stops were made in Cape Town, Hobart and Auckland.
By March 2009 Perham had decided to aim for the record of the youngest solo circumnavigation, though he continued to make a continuous passage without use of his engine. The decision to accept assistance along the way, along with harsh winter conditions, led Perham to elect to transit the Panama Canal rather than sail around Cape Horn.
Money raised from the voyage was to be donated to Save the Children and the Tall Ships Youth Trust. Perham took the record from Zac Sunderland, an American who completed his journey in July 2009 at the age of 17 years, 7 months. However, Sunderland’s record was not recognized by Guinness due to him taking a brief break to fly home to celebrate Christmas with his family.
Perham and Sunderland met unexpectedly in Cape Town, South Africa, in February 2009, along with Minoru Saito, a Japanese sailor who is the oldest person to circumnavigate the world solo.
Laura Dekker, a thirteen year old Dutch girl, also with New Zealand and German passports, plans to circumnavigate within two years, hoping to challenge the record. A Dutch court did hear a case on 24 August 2009 to cease temporarily parental control to stop Laura from attempting to sail off.
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