Imagine. A seventeen year old sails solo around the world. Nah. Tell us another.
But you read it already, or saw the reports on the box. August 31, back to Portsmouth, England, his starting place, after 158 days solo circumnavigation, the boy wonder is MICHAEL PERHAM. I salute him.
Yes, he's 17 and took time off from his studies in sports sciences in the town of St Albans in Hertfordshire, for this extraordinary adventure in his yacht TotallyMoney.com with several repair stops en route (mostly to do with the auto steering gear) so his record for youngest-ever stands but as a "with assistance" entry in Guinness World Records. Michael was still just sixteen when he set out last November, and 45,000 kilometres later his first wish after hugs with family was ... steak and chips.
His repair stops were in Portugal, the Canary Islands, Cape Town, Hobart and Auckland. The Hobart call-in was on April 9, 2009.
Michael follows the wake (can't say footsteps!) of the first man to sail alone around the world, JOSHUA SLOCUM, born 1844 in Nova Scotia, who did it in stages between 1895 and 1898 supporting himself by lecturing on the way. His book title Sailing Alone Around the World (1909) rather gives the plot away :) But sadly this pioneer Slocum disappeared without trace after setting out in 1909 in an attempt at a new circumnavigation.
We are all glad that Michael Perham made it safely.