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Bid to become youngest ever round the world

17th November 2008

Hundreds of well-wishers gathered at Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth on Saturday 15th November to wave goodbye to Michael Perham as he set off on his bid to become the youngest person ever to sail single-handed around the world. Michael Perham is just 16 and family and friends joined him at a press conference prior to his departure.

His voyage is being supported by Blakes Paints and both he and his father Peter gave a special thanks to all those who have helped them. “We’ve got some fantastic sponsors on board,” said Peter Perham. “I take my hat off to the industry because they’re supporting a young person. Young people are the future of this industry and I think that’s great to see.”

Michael is already an inspirational figure because two years ago he became the youngest person to sail single-handed across the Atlantic. The round the world record bid has been a dream of his ever since and this modest young man took the opportunity at the press conference to praise the support he’s had. “Yes it’s a solo trip,” he said, “but it’s not a solo trip. There’s a huge amount of people behind it and I want say a huge thank you to everyone who has made it happen.”

He is sailing an Open 50 yacht chartered from the Escoffier family in France who his father says, have ‘adopted him like a son’ in preparation for the trip. Michael’s family has also been encouraged by support Michael has had from other circumnavigators. But of course he is still a very young man and he is aware that a massive challenge lies ahead. Despite all the support and meticulous preparations it was still an emotional departure, and as the crowds waved him goodbye he needed a comforting hug from his dad.

For the first stage of the trip he sailed to Falmouth with his father; the official record bid starts when he reaches Lizard Point in Cornwall. For the next 25,000 miles he will be alone and will have to face some of the most treacherous seas in the world including taking on the Southern Ocean and rounding Cape Horn. He hopes to be back by March next year in time to celebrate his 17th birthday.  Just before he left good luck messages were hurriedly being written on the satellite communications dome at the back of his boat. The one from his girlfriend, Becky, read, “Be safe. Be strong. Be brave.”

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