SPORT – Mike Perham becomes youngest solo sailing circumnavigator

SPORT - Mike Perham becomes youngest solo sailing circumnavigator

Dateline: Wednesday, August 27, 2009 - After 157 days, 17-year-old British sailor Mike Perham has become the youngest person to sail single-handed around the world. 

His 50ft yacht crossed the traditional Lizard/Ushant line marking the start and finish point of his 30,000nm record-setting journey in bright sunshine at 09:47:30 secs (local)am — two months inside the previous age record set by Californian teenager Zac Sutherland.

Aged 17 years and 164 days-old, the teenager from Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, was escorted across the line by Royal Navy guard ship HMS Mersey, a helicopter from 771 Squadron at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, and a small flotilla of press boats that had been on standby overnight to record his finish.

Mike said: "I've made it, I've made my dream come true and it feels amazing. A big, big thanks to my dad, mum, all the sponsors and every one who has helped me along the way.

“I can't believe that the Royal Navy has sent HMS Mersey and a helicopter to witness my crossing the line. I feel very honoured," he said.

Mike's dad Peter 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. He has shown the world that he is an extraordinary young man and an inspiration to us all."

The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, KCB OBE ADC had a message passed on to Perham as he sailed past The Lizard via Lt Cdr Carl Wiseman, Captain of HMS Mersey: “The Royal Navy offers its sincere congratulations to Michael Perham on his record-breaking single-handed sailing circumnavigation. 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.

“Michael’s family have strong maritime connections, with his father having been a merchant naval officer, his grandfather having served with the Royal Navy during World War II, and his great grandfather as a Royal Marine in the Crimean War.

“Michael sets a fine example showing remarkable character, grit and self discipline in completing this historic record-breaking voyage and the Royal Navy is delighted to participate in welcoming him back home to the UK as an honoured and much respected fellow seafarer,” said Admiral Stanthorpe.

After crossing the finish line Mike was joined by his father for the sail back to a homecoming welcome at Gunwharf Quay at on Saturday.

Perham featured in issue 391 of Trade-a-Boat’s The Dream Team feature by Don McIntyre on Australian 16-year-old Jessica Watson’s attempt to become the youngest solo unassisted sailing circumnavigator. The British teenager caught up with Watson and McIntyre during a five-week stopover in Hobart to make rudder repairs earlier this year.