Rudder bearing to be replaced

Sailing schoolboy Mike Perham, 16, plans to, his Open 50, into Cape Town for rudder repairs. ‘The bearing on one of the rudders is making a grating noise,’ his father Peter told YM.

Mike said: ‘A horrible groaning noise has been coming from one the rudder shafts; it’s been moving around in the top bearing, only very slightly with about 2mm of movement. I’ve asked the shore team for some advice as to do what to do about this. One of the last things I want to do is to push into the Southern Ocean without total confidence in the steering system.’

Mike also reported: ‘During my boat check this morning I discovered that one of my Solent forestay pins had moved by about 2mm. This is cause for a little concern as there should be no way this can happen. I succeeded in knocking back the pin into the original position by easing off the tension of my backstay and using a soft hammer to tap it back into place. I’ll be keeping a careful eye on this.’

The stopover will be short – just enough time to replace a rudder bearing and check out the rig – before the lad from Potters Bar, in landlocked Hertfordshire, heads off into a Southern Ocean in autumn. His father will fly down and meet him in the South African port. He told YM: ‘It would have been a lot cheaper for me if Mike’s voyage had been non-stop! But thankfully a UK travel agent, The Marine Travel Company, are sponsoring my flights.’

Mike has accepted his solo voyage around the world will no longer be non-stop. His father said: ‘He is stopping as a matter of safety – I wouldn’t want that on my conscience if anything happened to him. Even though he will sailing in the Southern Ocean in autumn we have been told this is not an issue weatherwise although it will be slightly colder and the days will be slightly shorter, but he has a fast boat she has averaged 8 knots for most of the voyage which is phenomenal.’

Peter is expecting to join Mike in a week’s time. ‘He will be the most talked about teenager in Britain when he gets back, ‘Mr Perham added.

Mike set sail from Falmouth on 18 November last year in a bid to become the youngest solo, non-stop circumnavigator. The non-stop challenge has now been abandoned, but he still plans on becoming the youngest solo circumnavigator.

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