Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

Mike Perham

What did you do when you turned 17? Mike Perham of Hertfordshire, southern England, celebrated his March 16 birthday somewhere in the south Indian Ocean — just another day in his quest to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world. On Nov. 15, 2008, the teenager shoved off from Portsmouth, England, and spent the next nine months more or less alone on his 50-ft. racing yacht, TotallyMoney.com. (He had a sponsor or two.) Perham expected the journey to take him four months, but after running into bad weather and technical problems, he had to stop for repairs in several ports. The detours gave his feat the minor qualification of "assisted" in Guinness World Records, but he probably wasn't too disappointed. Fewer than 250 people have managed to do the same since 1898, and it looked as though there wouldn't be any challenges to Perham's title anytime soon. On Aug. 28, the day after Perham finally sailed into port, a Dutch court prohibited a 13-year-old girl from attempting a solo circumnavigation — and partly stripped her parents of their legal guardianship for thinking it was a good idea to let her give it a go.