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Mike Perham Solo World Challenge

Nov 21, 2008 9 Comments by

Mike said “The Needles was a great sight and one I had been looking forward to for a very long time. It is great to be home again and see so many people here to welcome me back. I feel very honoured.”

Mike’s Mum, Heather said: “Seeing Mike after so many months is a really great end to an amazing adventure.”

Mike’s Dad Peter added, ‘Coming back to Portsmouth marks the final leg of this voyage. Mike has proved himself to be a very capable sailor.’




more here crossed the traditional Lizard/Ushant line marking the start and finish point of his 30,000 mile record setting voyage in bright sunshine at 0947:30 on the morning of Thursday, 27 August, 2009.

more here

The story so far

Mike has battled on as has been knocked over, battered and damaged.

Repeated autopilot failures put Mike’s record attempt at risk, forcing him to stop for repairs in Portugal, Gran Canaria and Cape Town. After finally overcoming those problems, Mike crossed the Southern Indian Ocean in March, celebrating his 17th birthday enroute, but was forced to stop again in Tasmania and then Aukland after serious rudder problems emerged.

Horrendous weather in the Southern Ocean saw Mike surfing down 50 foot waves in 50 knot winds at speeds up to 28 knots. was knocked down and damaged forcing Mike to make emergency repairs up the mast and pushing him much farther North than he originally intended.

Opponents of the attempt have questioned whether anyone with so little experience, let alone a minor, should be allowed to make such an attempt. Much less, thanks to the delays, at a time of year when the weather is so inhospitable, but Mike has pushed on and is set to prove his critics wrong. Barring any further complications, Mike is expected to arrive at his final destination, Gunwharf Quay, Portsmouth at the end of August 2009.

Mike has recorded the voyage in his blog and with video diaries which have become an inspiration to thousands – just a few of the many highlights are below

more here


Update me when site is updated

Sail Mike - Mike Perham world challenge

At 3.30 this afternoon Michael successfully crossed the line between Ushant, Northern France, and Lizard Point, Southern England, the traditional start and finish line for circumnavigations.

Spokesman Kizzi  Nkwocha said: “It was a very smooth start with everything going as planned. Michael has a long journey ahead of him but he’s in high spirits knowing he has so many people around the world rooting for him.”


Mike Perham World Challenge

The Challenge
Mike Perham is set to become the youngest person to sail single‐handed and unassisted around the world. He will embark on the journey at 11am on Saturday 15th November, 2008.
Mike has chartered an Open 50 racing yacht for the journey. The yacht was officially named after sponsor at the 2008 Southampton Boat Show in September.
In order to satisfy the requirements of the world record – currently held by 18 year old Australian, Jesse Martin – Mike will be completing a circumnavigation of the globe solo and unassisted. The journey must be entirely completed under sail by wind and muscle power alone. The trip will cover approximately 21,600 nautical miles (40,000 km), taking Mike across the equator and every single line of longitude on the earth’s surface. He will be at sea for four and a half months.
The yacht has been equipped with the latest communication equipment to ensure that Mike can keep in contact with his base for the duration of the journey. GPS tracking will allow Mike’s supporters to track his progress.
Mike will be broadcasting a regular webcam video blog allowing the rest of the world to experience the weather, emotions and challenges that he will face. He will also be writing a daily blog. Both will be published exclusively at
After leaving Southampton, Mike will travel down the coast of Africa and then head east on his 21,600 nautical mile journey. He will take advantage of the predominant east‐to‐west winds in the southern hemisphere to cross the Pacific Ocean and the Southern Ocean via the Great Capes: the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, Cape Leeuwin in Australia and Cape Horn on the southern tip of South America.
Michael will be leaving from Portsmouth’s Gunwharf Quays at 11.00am on Saturday November 15th. There will be a press conference and photo opportunity held at Tiger, Tiger, Gun Wharf Quays, Portsmouth, at 10.00am that day.
Mike Perham
Mike is 15 years old, and is a student at the Oakland’s Sports Academy in St Albans, where he is studying for a National Diploma in Sports Performance and Excellence. The college is highly supportive of Mike’s trip. As he will be away for around four and a half months of term, the school has redesigned his coursework to fit with the trip, and has organised some coursework for him to take on his journey.
Mike is an experienced and accomplished sailor, having been sailing since the age of seven. He has completed RYA courses in dinghy sailing and windsurfing. He has undergone intensive training in preparation for the trip, including cold water survival training and solo first aid training.
At the age of fourteen Mike became the youngest person to ever sail across the Atlantic single‐handed during 2006/2007. He still holds that world record today.
Mike is hoping to raise £24,000 (£1 for each mile travelled) for charities with his trip through fundraising. The money will be donated to two charities: Save the Children, and the Tall Ships Youth Trust, which gives deprived children in cities a chance to experience sailing.
PRHQ: 07010‐120458
Kizzi Nkwocha: 07727‐168833

Quick interview

Who taught you to sail?
My dad. He’s been involved with sailing his whole life and as a result I’ve been sailing since I was very young.

How are you preparing for the physical side of the trip?
Well I work out a lot in order to be in the best physical condition I can be in for the trip – solo sailing is very physically demanding, so it’s important that I’m in good shape.

How do you get in the right mindset to be alone at sea for four and a half months?
Right now I’m working with a sports psychologist who is teaching me various techniques to stay focused and emotionally healthy while I’m away. As for getting ready, every day right now is spent organising things and making plans for the trip which helps me to focus on the trip ahead and get into the right mindset. I’m very excited right now and can’t wait to start!

What are you looking forward to most about the trip?
Just getting out there and doing it! The best thing about sailing is that it’s just you and nature out there. There’s none of the fast-paced, crazy existence we all live normally, so it’s just incredible to be out there with nothing to distract you from the beauty of what you’re doing.

Will you get much downtime during the trip to relax or is it full-on all the time?
There are times when there’s no time to do anything other than focus one hundred per cent on sailing. But then there are times when I’ve got more time to relax and enjoy myself. I have two i-pods full of my favourite music, and a bunch of DVDs and books ready to take with me to make sure I don’t get too bored. My school has even organised some coursework to take with me in case I get desperate!

Who is your biggest hero?
Definitely my dad. He is so supportive of everything I want to do and achieve, and he really puts me in the mindset where I can go out and live my dreams.

What would you say to all the people out there you are going to inspire with this trip?
Just go out and do whatever it is you want to do. Live your dreams every day. If you’re interested in getting into sailing, just go to your local sailing club and get involved. Sailing is often perceived as a very expensive hobby, but it’s not – there are always people looking for crews for their yachts, so you don’t need all the equipment to begin with.

What’s next for Mike?
I’m definitely already thinking about the next thing I want to do after this trip. I’ve been thinking about the Matterhorn in Switzerland… Bit of a change of scene!  Beyond that I’d definitely love to be a professional sailor one day as a career.



Day One – 16 11 08

That was emotional. After breakfast (just two croissants, I was too excited to go for the full English!) we headed down to the quay to find it packed with hundreds of well-wishers. We set off at 11.10am, so the BBC could show the departure live, just after the news.

It was cloudy but sunlight broke through as I left the harbour and I had to fight back the tears – as did mum who was being interviewed on the dock. Dad was on board at that point and we hugged and waved to the cheering crowds as the boat coasted out of the harbour. What a day! I can hardly believe we’ve made it.

To all of my family, friends and people who’ve done so much for me over the past few months and for believing in me and for everything they’ve done to get me this far – THANK YOU! My undying gratitude also goes to for providing most of the financial support, along with VocaLink, Skechers, Mastervolt and Kemp Sails.

I’m making good time at the moment in a Force 5 with some drizzle, sailing along the south coast of England to reach Lizard Point, where the challenge, as far as the record books are concerned, officially starts. Here we go!

Mike crosses starting line – 18 11 08

At 3.30 this afternoon Michael successfully crossed the line between Ushant, Northern France, and Lizard Point, Southern England, the traditional start and finish line for circumnavigations.

Spokesman Kizzi  Nkwocha said: “It was a very smooth start with everything going as planned. Michael has a long journey ahead of him but he’s in high spirits knowing he has so many people around the world rooting for him.”

Busy, busy, busy – 19 11 08

Wow what a day – I haven’t stopped – but I’m loving every minute of it! Last night was really tough as there were ships everywhere. It’s such a huge help to have AIS, radar and an active echo looking out for you. The strobe light was on and it was nice to see a fair few of the ships change course to allow me to pass by safely. Sleep was grabbed in 10 to 20min periods on the bean bag in the cuddy. A huge thank you to PIGBAGS who have supplied me with two of them.

Sunrise was very welcome as it brought some warmth back to the boat and gave me a much clearer view of what the surrounding ships were up to. After munching down some breakfast I had a big tidy up of and felt much better for it. Soon after doing this the wind picked up to a healthy 20 knots, and with the centre starboard ballast tank pumped full we took off at a steady 12 to 13knots. Unfortunately this didn’t last as the wind dropped right off and has been up and down throughout the day. Right down to a mere seven knots at times.

Around 5.30pm I was up on deck with one of the video cameras, just about to do a video blog and then, wow, I was once again joined by four or five dolphins and managed to get what I hope is some fantastic footage. Last time they visited the boat it was at night so I failed to get any shots of them whatsoever.

Progress right at this minute is painfully slow, six knots of boat speed in eight knots of wind. Open 50’s feel much more comfortable when they are powered up and bouncing over through the water. Anyway lot’s of things to do and I’m aiming for a little more sleep than last night so I’ll post again tomorrow and will answer some of your questions. Keep the comments coming…

Visit his website to post your support

Mike making brief stop in Portugal for repairs – 21 11 08

Michael Perham is making a brief stop at Cascais Marina near Lisbon, Portugal, to address equipment issues.

Problems with his auto pilot system arose shortly after leaving the UK on the first leg of his round the world crossing.  Repairs are expected to take less than a day and Michael is confident he will make up the lost time once he is under way.

Spokesman Kizzi Nkwocha said: “Unforeseen complications like this are bound to arise on a project of this scope.  However, it’s a minor hitch and Michael remains confident in his boat,, and eager to get under way.  His world record bid will not be affected by the delay as it will mean that he will be travelling around the world from Portugal to Portugal.”

For continuous live updates on Mike’s progress please visit

Mike departs Portugal – 25 11 08

Mike left Portugal at 10.30am this morning after making repairs to the autopilot equipment aboard his boat,

He’s now reaching and is heading in the direction of Madeira although he’s not expecting to make any stops.

Mike is very excited to be on his way again, and is pleased that the problems with the boat have been sorted out. Writing on his blog in Portugal yesterday he said,

“There are two things that you can’t do without when you’re sailing on an open 50. An autopilot and power. Cascais, just next to Lisbon, has proven to be such a convenient pit stop to make these vital repairs and, thank goodness, it’s been really easy to sort things from here. Let’s hope that my luck improves in terms of breakages.

I have complete confidence in and she’s done a fantastic job so far. She’s looking fantastic and this stop is a great chance to sort a few really small things. People have been coming up to the boat and saying that they have been following the trip and if I need any help with anything they’re only a few minutes away! I had great pleasure in showing a family round the boat earlier; it’s really inspired me how excited they were to be on a boat like this”.

Destination: Gran Canaria – 29 11 08

The auto pilot still remains an issue.  As resourceful as ever, Mke is now steering towards Gran Canaria where there is an agent from the manufacturer, NKE,  to help him sort out the problems.  His father, Peter, is expected to fly out to help with repairs.

Las Palmas – 01 12 08

Mike arrived in Las Palmas at 10.15 am today where he hopes to get the gremlins removed from his autopilot. He has been made very welcome and was helped in by some friends he made while on the Atlantic world record trip two years ago.  Mike hopes to get the problem sorted out as quickly as possible, but will not be on his way until he has thoroughly tested the system without fault.

Test run scheduled for Tuesday – 15 12 08

Today Mike has worked with technical advisors to make repairs to’s auto pilot system.

It is hoped that the repairs will resolve the problems with the system and Mike will be taking out for a test run tomorrow morning.

All being well, he plans to leave Gran Canaria tomorrow and continue on his epic solo world trip.

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He is off again

I’m off! I’m off! I’m off!

29 12 08

I’ve now been sailing for well over 24hours and the pilot has been working perfectly, thank goodness. I’ve just been getting back into the swing of things, so have been taking it fairly easy – and not exactly by choice as the wind spent much of the night blowing at a lousy 0.01 knots! This lack of wind meant that I could only sleep for brief periods as the autopilot can’t steer when the wind is so slack. But at about 7am I finally found a decent blow and headed southeast, towards the African coast.

Now I’m following the coast at a distance of about 40-50 miles to make the most of the south-easterly winds brought by a small ridge of high pressure sitting on the African coast. I’m trying to avoid the annoying south westerlies further out to sea. Having said that, the latest weather reports are telling me that I’m going to get a bit of a battering thanks to some 30knot winds from, yes, you’ve guessed it, the southwest – the exact direction I don’t want. I’m trying to remain as far over to the east as possible to avoid them.

Anyway, enough of the technical stuff, today’s been great and this morning I made the most of the gentle wind to cook up some apple pancakes. After a few miserable failures, I eventually got the hang of it and managed to cook up a few perfectly delicious numbers! Practice makes perfect and I’m sure I’ll become an expert in due course.

During my stay in Las Palmas, Fiona (my sister) and I stuck up around fifty or so photos inside the cabin making it feel a lot more homely and colourful. Whenever I catch sight of them lots of good memories come pouring in – it really puts a big smile on my face.

Now I’m back at sea, I’m looking forward to receiving all your comments, emails, jokes, suggestions and messages – they really make my day, so keep them coming!

Flying Fish and a Q&A

04 01 09

This morning I cleared the Cape Verde islands with relative ease and found six flying fish on the deck! I’m sure I heard a couple hit the deck last night and flap about but waited until today to pick them off and throw them back in the sea. Quite a few people cook and eat them but I’m not really a fan of the idea, as I’ve never done it before.

This afternoon I had my first real bucket-over-the-head shower! It was freezing cold for a few seconds but, oh so refreshing. I’ve got some shampoo that works with salt water, which is surprisingly effective. It’s frustrating though as it’s so hot here I’m a sweaty mess within an hour or so later. Oh well I can’t complain, I’ll really be missing this lovely warm weather when I get into the south…

I’ve been umm-ing and ahh-ing all day whether to put up the genneker, my largest furling foresail. At times feels like she’s a tiny bit underpowered but for the most part she feels just right and happy. I’ve now got a following sea, so that’s also adding to my umm-ing and ahh-ing! I eventually decided against it, as I don’t want to race the boat. That’s the main difference between the Vendee Globe sailors and I. They’re racing and pushing their boats one hundred per cent all the time. I’m simply pushing mine at ninety per cent and I’m quite happy with that. The speed’s still high and I should suffer far less breakages.

I’ve rarely seen the speedo drop below ten knots over that last couple of days and just sits on an almost steady plane of eleven knots with regular surfs reaching up to the high teens. To wipe out now wouldn’t be very nice, I can tell you.

Looking much further ahead to the ever-changing doldrums I’ve now lined myself up with our rough entry point, although this will most likely change in the next couple of days. At the moment they aren’t looking great to the east of where I am but to the west they’re still looking good.

I had every single bit of electronics but the pilot off today to see if there was some way that there was some interference that was effecting the autopilot. But no, it still finds a few glitches, interestingly. My mood on the boat is being lifted higher and higher everyday as I sail swiftly south, and as I slot more and more into the swing of things.

Once again, thank you all for your messages of support and your questions, some of which I’ve answered below. Keep them coming!
Q: I have a question about sand storms off the Sahara. Are you experiencing blowing sand on the boat or are you too far off the coast?
A: Whilst sailing within 50miles of the Sahara, was definitely becoming pretty dirty at times from the Saharan sand. Even now there’s still some dirtier patches on the boat. For example the satellite dome has a layer of the type of muck you get on cars; the kind where you can wipe your finger along and pick up a fine layer of dirt.

Q: For my own information I know the overall single-handed, unassisted sail has been changed to single-handed. Could you not complete the sail back to Gran Canaria and still meet the requirements, or have you just decided to change your goal? Anyway we all wish you the best and will follow your adventure every day. Good luck.

Comment by Lance S
A: Many people have asked why I don’t just sail back to Gran Canaria and still get the non-stop unassisted record. The reason is that for me the trip is about getting around the whole world. I left from Portsmouth and will finish in Portsmouth. Only when I get there will I personally feel like I’ve finally finished. And also, hey what’s so bad about possibly stopping in one or two amazing places. However, if I am able to go all the way round without stopping, I will pop into Gran Canaria to claim the non-stop unassisted record on my way back to Portsmouth. The most important thing is that I can stop if I need to.

Q: The idea of sailing single-handed is bad enough but to occupy your time making apple pancakes is mind blowing!!! Do you try to toss them or just cheat and turn them??!!!
A: Let’s just say I “try” to toss them!

Q: Why sail east around the world rather than west?
A: Sure, you can sail either way it’s true. The big difference is where you have to sail and what course you take for each direction. This is basically decided by all the weather systems around the world. If you sail east and choose to go deep into the Southern Ocean then you sail under the high pressure systems and use all the low pressure systems that come along to your advantage to push you along. If you sailed west through the Southern Ocean you would either go right up above Australia and above the high pressure systems or you would sail very deep south and be upwind for almost the whole southern ocean. It’s notably much quicker to sail east around the world if you head into the southern ocean.

Q: Hi Mike,
Freddie (6), asks ‘how rough is the sea, and have you seen any more dolphins. I think one is called Ella. How hot is it by Africa, and have you seen any African people sailing by?’
Sally, Dan, Freddie and Toby.
P.S Dan asks, can you see Africa?
Comment by Sally Barter

A: The sea at the moment is pretty flat with around a 2m swell. This because I am sailing in the trade winds and everything is pretty stable in this part of the world. It’s pretty hot with temperatures defiantly in the high 20’s, possibly even the low 30’s. I don’t have a thermometer to hand, so I’m not to sure. I’ve also been too far away from Africa to see it. Although I can definitely feel it, as some of the sand is being blown out to sea and leaving some dirt on the boat. And as for dolphins, I’ve literally seen hundreds of them.

A Wet but Happy Mike

07 01 09

The Doldrums have been pretty kind to me so far; my passage south has been nice and fast, which has been fantastic. But now it seems as though they’ve had enough. The change in the weather started at around four in the afternoon, when the first few big fellas decided to join me on my way.

Three squalls hit, one after the other, with gaps of about twenty minutes between them. They pummelled with rain and wind and then span the wind direction all the way round to the south. A not very happy and very wet Mike took three reefs in and ditched the staysail until finally, we were making slightly more relaxed progress.

There were ropes all over the cockpit in a huge mess and the gennaker was still up in the rig, swinging about merrily.

‘Oh well, could be worse!’ I told myself. Around an hour later the wind dropped back off to twenty knots and I needed the Solent up to keep on moving at a reasonable pace.

Right now, as I write this, I’m being hunted by a seriously mean squall. It’s around eight miles wide, and is bearing down pretty fast. If there’s one thing I don’t like when I’m sailing it’s lightning. And this squall is full of it! Huge orange and white flashes lighting up the whole night sky for split seconds at a time.

Sailing in this area really keeps you on your toes, that’s for sure.

Soaked Again…

– 10 01 09

I’m over the Equator at last! I crossed the line very early in the morning and, as it was so dark, I waited until morning to celebrate with a little champagne and a toast to Neptune, to, to me my family and all of you. As I understand it, there was a bit of a do in the Perham family house to celebrate this momentous moment last night. Hope it was a good one…

This done and dusted I’m now plugging south in a south-easterly wind which has got me working pretty hard. Squalls are still pestering me and I’m dashing south to escape them for the relatively steady trades, when I’ll be able to get decent sleep and rest.

Minutes ago I was standing outside just lost in the moment. The clouds were so high and puffy, the sky was a sharp bright pink and was careering along upwind like there was no tomorrow as a gust had just come through. I didn’t want to go back into the cabin so I just stayed outside, soaking everything in.

This I quite literally did, as five minutes later a largish wave swept over and gave the top half of me a good soaking. ‘Lovely,’ I thought – but well worth it.

Ain’t Misbehavin’

– 16 01 09

That was a testing hour last night – the auto-pilot started misbehaving just as it had gotten dark!
I was sailing along, perfectly happy and relaxed, writing the blog when suddenly I heard the high-pitched bleeping alarm that tells me ‘Houston, we have a problem.’ ‘Oh no!” I thought, ‘not again, please not again.’

I restarted the system a few times and got it up and running again. It seemed to have a major headache this time, as it just wasn’t communicating with itself. Eventually it appeared to start working again and I spent an anxious hour sat by the helm, just hoping it wasn’t going to cut out.

Fortunately, it has held up throughout the night, no problems at all. I did some tests this morning and discovered that it has reset itself and moved the ‘master’ of the system to the outside unit rather than the inside unit (don’t ask me how!). I also disconnected a display, which wasn’t behaving perfectly, so the system isn’t so clogged up and I’m very happy to report that since these tests it has functioned perfectly. I just hope it continues this way!

Today I’ve been a little more relaxed than I was last night but I’m still a little in the ‘edge of your seat’ mode, thinking about the pilot. I’m still continuing south as just to the east of me is an area of very variable wind, something I really don’t want to sail into. But don’t worry, I will start to turn east eventually!

Wind and Whales

28 01 09

Wow what a day I’ve had on board! It’s definitely been a pure grin from ear-to-ear-day… the wind picked up early this morning and I’ve been turbo-surfing ever since. We’re power reaching right now, so with the ballast full and the boat set for full speed ahead, we’re flying along on a constant surf at thirteen knots and above, peaking at 18.5 knots. It’s such a fantastic feeling as flies – like there’s no water beneath her – and yet she remains totally under control, balanced and happy.

As we flew I spotted a whale around fifteen metres away, ploughing alongside us. This was the first whale I’ve seen this trip; it really was a spectacular sight watching her/him keep up with us, creating her/his own bow wave! It was only with us for a minute so I failed to get a photo (sorry about that!). However the image will remain in my mind for a long time to come.

I’m firing on all cylinders now, making the best speed I can, blasting eastwards before I reach a ridge of high pressure tomorrow evening. The wind will drop right off, below ten knots as it backs round to the south. After this though, the wind should slowly increase giving me a superfast passage to Cape Town.


Sorry about the sudden lack of blogs but it’s been all systems go as soon as I hit the deck yesterday!

At around 4am on the morning of my arrival, I crossed the continental ridge and boy, did the number of fishing boats suddenly increase! Thirty minutes after I’d seen the first, I had 28 more in my sights. It was quite a nerve-wracking feeling to see all those lights up ahead! Luckily I only had to alter course twice and after about an hour I’d passed them all.

The sunrise was spectacular; in the distance I could make out the incredible silhouette of Table Mountain and Cape Town gradually came into view. I’d made it!

I entered the harbour at 10.30am and went to drop the main but, to my surprise, it wouldn’t come down! There was no wind, so as the tension dropped off the main halyard one of my batterns caught on my back stay shock cord, the spreader and the lazy jacks. Eventually, I had to cut down one side of the lazy jacks as it was just never going to come down in so little wind without me climbing the mast to free it.

Once berthed in the Royal Cape Yacht Club (with its fantastic facilities) it was time to meet Zac Sunderland and his Dad. We had lunch together and it was so great to have my first meal on land with them. We have so much in common, they’re such down-to-earth people and we shared several funny stories. I showed Zac around and I hope to have a look around Intrepid, Zac’s boat later this week.

We spent the afternoon working on my rapidly growing to-do list and, after going through this with the shore team, Dad and I left the boat for some great R&R.

We also met up with Jean-Baptiste Dejeanty a Vendee Globe sailor who’s in Cape Town after retiring due to auto pilot problems (I knew just how he felt!). Jean-Baptiste has been really kind; he even gave me some of his food, as this trip is taking a little longer than expected. I was in awe when I took a look around his fantastically powerful boat. Afterwards we went out for a couple of drinks and some dinner, had a long chat and a few laughs.

Today we were up and on the boat bright and early to start meeting the wonderful people who’ve signed up to help with everything. Their assistance has been top notch. After meeting up with a specialist for the rudder bearing, we now know we need to crane the boat out of the water, as it’s likely that we’ll have to replace both the top and bottom bearing. Fingers crossed that this will go smoothly!

Repairs and a Trip to Table Mountain – 04 02 09

It’s been another busy two days on shore. Yesterday was spent on examining the rudder bearings. But as this was mostly left to the experts, dad and I took a fantastic trip up Table Mountain. It was a truly breathtaking view over the Cape. The sun was ducking in and out of the clouds, lighting up the ocean and keeping us nice and warm, despite the height.

That afternoon, with the help of a few fantastic guys and a great tow we got over to Elliot Basin. Manoeuvring her is pretty tricky thanks to her tiny engine and small twin rudders and when the moment of berthing came, a good blow suddenly came. It was a tense few minutes as we fought to squeeze her into a very tight spot, battling against the wind on our beam. Funnily enough, as soon as we’d berthed, the wind vanished!

We were hoping to crane out today but the local south easter decided to pick right up to a steady 40knots, which meant it was far to dangerous to lift her out safely. Her keel’s almost 4m, so she has to go up pretty high to get into the cradle.

So, with the lift called off for today, we made our way down to Cape Point right at the tip of Africa to see the cape being battered by the south easter. It really was stunning seeing the rocks offshore kicking up huge plumes of spray as the sea shot across them. I can’t wait to get back out there again.

We’ve taken the opportunity of hiring Southern Spars, a fantastic rigging company, to come over and take a really good look at the mast. I’m definitely going to make the most out of my stop here  – once I leave it’s going to be quite a while before I hit land again!



The Appetite Strikes Back

– 04 03 09

I’m definitely finding my sea legs now and my appetite has returned to normal, hurrah! Today I cooked up soup for breakfast, had a large helping of chicken and pasta with white sauce for lunch, and for dinner I think I’ll tuck into some shepherd’s pie!

I’m settling into the routine now with my sleep being able to just nod off for short bursts, wake up, check the boat and nod off again. Yesterday evening, as the sun set, I was joined by a couple of amazing albatrosses. I sat on deck, all togged up in my oiles staring at these incredibly graceful birds – almost an hour passed without me realising…I made my way inside as darkness fell and hung up my wet oiles to dry out.

The albatrosses rejoined me today, coming and going as they pleased, I grabbed the camera but as soon as they saw it they instantly flew away! Camera shy perhaps? Eventually, I was able to get a couple of great shots as they became more confident and came in close for a good look at me.

A high pressure system has caught up from behind now and is due to start passing over early in the morning, giving me some pretty light conditions. The wind might drop down as low as six knots.

Currently I’m sailing around 54 degrees off the wind, so almost beating my way forward, which isn’t the most comfortable, but it’s what I’ve got to do to make progress. I’ve broken into my thermals as it’s getting chilly – but I’ve yet to put on my extra-warm fleece jackets. I know it won’t be long, though!


Halfway to OZ

– 18 03 09

I’ve had a brilliant 24hours on board with some of the best sailing conditions this trip so far rocketing northeast. I’ve come up this way to dodge a high-pressure ridge coming off the tail of the front that rushed through earlier today. This fast and explosive low pressure has now swept under me at the pretty spectacular speed of about 50-60knots, giving me winds up to 35knots which makes for very good boat speeds.

Early last night I had the genneker up and it was really great to see absolutely loving it. We both feel so much more at ease if we’re trucking along in double figures (10knots plus). The whole boat feels so much more relaxed as we gracefully slide along, the only indication of our speed being the hum of the water rushing past the hull. The speed increase also means that we’re also able to sail in the swell much more easily as the surfs become longer and we’re having fun chasing the wave in front.

I reefed down to two reefs and solent whilst the front passed through and this evening I’ve shaken out the reefs and bunged the genoa up much to the delight of The wind has dropped off to an average of 26ktns.

After altering the sail set-up considerably like this, I always sit on deck for a good half hour, just to make sure everything is right. It was twilight by the time I finished all my changing and it was great to see in how, the semi-darkness, the bow continually kicked up a load of spray as flew into the waves.

Today my external keyboard developed an illness – whenever I pressed one letter, an entirely different one popped up! So I’ve changed it for my spare and am quite amazed at the ease of typing now. They’re both waterproof keyboards, so should be fine in these damp conditions, but oh well, nice to know that putting a spare in was a good call.

We’re now closer to Australia than South Africa and it’s a really good feeling seeing us edge ever closer to Down Under, now the days are ticking by really fast!


more here


– 27 03 09

From MIke’s Dad:

The wind was up to about 50 knots and the seas a lumpy 10m high. Mike was wedged at the chart table and had been happily sailing along with three reefs in the main and his tiny staysail when was hit by a wave sending her onto her side, forcing Mike to brace himself by putting his foot on the deck head (ceiling). The weighty keel soon kicked in and had back upright in a couple of seconds. This all happened close to mid-night Mike time. He was plunged into darkness but quickly located one of his emergency torches. A bit shaken, Mike surveyed the scene: a few items had decided to relocate themselves and the bilge water which resides under the engine (which is very difficult to get to) was now everywhere and had taken out the electrics.

I received the phone call: “Dad I’ve been knocked down, I’m OK, the mast is still up but I’ve lost my electrics.”  Relieved that Mike was OK we decided on a plan of action. First, he had to phone in regularly and keep well fed. He had to secure down anything heavy that might have been dislodged. He then went to work on the electrics and successfully got them mostly back up and running and with the help of Mastervolt we have since managed to sort out the battery status controls.

TotallyMoney seemed settled, so once daylight came, Mike decided to go into the cockpit to have a proper look at the rigging and all seemed fine, except one of the lazy jacks had come away.

Unfortunately, the lazy jack line managed to wrap its way round the main halyard forcing Mike to continue sailing with three reefs in the main. To sort this out Mike will have to climb the mast to the first spreaders. For now he is content to sail a little de-powered until conditions make mast climbing possible. was still surfing down waves at a good rate of knots (big smile on Mike’s face) but he decided to throw out a drouge to act as a break and reduce the amount of work the auto-pilot was having to do, as this would help reduce the slewing motion.

Once all this was done, Mike hungrily consumed an entire half-pound chocolate bar!

At the moment Mike is unable to re-charge his batteries to their normal capacity so he is playing safe and has powered down his lap-top and a few other non-essential items which explains why I’m hitting the key board in place of Mike.

Mike’s Dad


more of  Mikes videos here

Settling In – 31 07 09

Well, it felt really great marking off day two on the chart today. It’s starting to feel like I’m making good progress home now.

I cracked off the sheets early this afternoon and pointed the bow of straight for Cuba. I’ve been beating merrily into the wind since leaving Colon as I’ve had to clear the shallows off Nicaragua and I passed the turning point of the shallows today.

The motion of has now become a considerably gentler as we surf away downwind at an easy ten knots rather than the slamming and crashing around we’ve had for the last two days.

The first few days out of any port are always the hardest as I try to settle into a rhythm but I’m happy to report that I’ve found my sea legs again and I’ve been feeling much better – I’ve certainly been eating more now that I’ve got my appetite back.

The scorching temperatures of Panama have been left far behind, although it’s still very, very hot inside during the day. I’m thrilled to be back out on the ocean and am so excited that I’m on my last leg back home.


more here

Statement from Guinness World Records – 25 08 09

Guinness World Records™ on standby to ratify Mike Perham as the youngest person to sail solo around the world.

Guinness World Records will be on hand to ratify 17-year-old Mike Perham’s astonishing achievement of becoming the youngest person to sail solo around the world, when the British sailor returns to Gunwharf Quay, Portsmouth on Saturday August 29.

This will not be the first time that Mike Perham from Potters Bar, Hertfordshire has been credited by Guinness World Records. Back in January 2007, he became the youngest person to sail solo across the Atlantic at the age of 14.

Craig Glenday, Editor-in-Chief of Guinness World Records, said: “This is another incredible achievement, and it marks Mike as the consummate record-breaker – someone who’s continually prepared to set themselves new and more challenging goals. Even the most experienced of sailors would be tested by the mental and physical stamina required to achieve a record of this magnitude. The fact that Mike achieved it at such a young age is a testament to his courage and unparalleled sense of adventure.”

Mike set out on his latest solo adventure from Gunwharf Quay on 15th November 2008 and crossed the traditional Ushant/Lizard line for marking the start (and finish) of sailing circumnavigations from the Western Approaches, on the 18th November 2008 aboard his 50ft yacht at the age of 16 years 247 days.

His 30,000-mile circumnavigation has taken him via Cascais (Portugal), Las Palmas, (Canaries) Cape Town (South Africa), Hobart (Australia), Auckland (New Zealand) and Panama. Barring any last minute problems, he is due to re-cross the Ushant/Lizard line some time on 27th August 2009 and be greeted back by family, friends and well-wishers to Gunwharf Quay, Portsmouth at 11:00am on Saturday 29th August, having spent 158 days at sea.

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9 Responses to “Mike Perham Solo World Challenge”

  1. mark n adino says:


    thanks so much for the updates on mike and sharing what’s been passed up to you…

    looking forward to getting more info from you…thanks for taking the time to share..

    mike’s in our prayers for wisdom n safety

    mark n adino

  2. Yachting News 27th August 2009 says:

    […] Mike’s yachtyakka story here […]

  3. Yachting News 28th August 2009 says:

    […] yachtyakka story about Mike here […]

  4. Yachting News 30th August 2009 says:

    […] Mike Perham storyon yachtyakka here […]

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