Nine months, some 50,000 km, and several euphemistic “Oh crikey!” moments after leaving Portsmouth on the English south coast, British teenager Mike Perham, 17, on Friday, became the youngest person to sail solo around the globe.
The college student from land-locked Hertfordshire near London crossed the finishing line between Lizard Point and Ushant in France at 9.47 a.m. after braving 15m 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. “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.”
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 tomorrow 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 his auto-pilot then his rudder fail, winds that shredded his sail and towering waves, forced him to pull in for repairs. — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2009