But Perham's not far behind
Zac Sunderland, 17, has become the youngest person to sail solo around the world aboard a 36ft Islander. He left Marina del Rey in California 13 months ago.
Sunderland, who was greeted offshore and escorted in by an armada of well-wishers aboard dozens of sailboats and fancy yachts, cleared the breakwater beneath a clearing sky and stepped ashore at Fisherman’s Village in bright sunshine.
There, hundreds had gathered to meet a teenager from Thousand Oaks who, many are saying, “left as a boy and came back a man.”
Not long beforehand, Sunderland’s younger brother Toby, 11, proclaimed it “Zac Day” and hoped it would be celebrated with cake.
Sunderland, who departed Marina del Rey when he was 16 on June 14, 2008, becomes the youngest person to have sailed alone around the world — and the first to do it before turning 18.
He beat a record held by Australia’s Jesse Martin, who was 18 when he finished his voyage in 1999.
Britain’s Mike Perham, who is a few months younger, embarked on a similar quest last November and is expected to complete his solo-circumnavigation, aboard Totallymoney.com, an Open 50, in about three weeks.
If Perham is successful, he will become the new record holder, leaving Sunderland as simply the youngest American to have solo-circumnavigated the planet.