Father flies home to get back to work

Schoolboy sailor Mike Perham is still being dogged with autopilot problems. After a trial sail in waters around Gran Canaria, the ‘fixed’ pilot swung off 70 degrees again forcing the youngster to return to port.

His father, Peter, has been down in the Canaries assisting him, but has now been forced to fly home to get back to work.

He said:’ Needs must unfortunately – I can’t afford to take any more unpaid leave from work and bills need to be paid!

‘Saying goodbye is never easy but at least I know that Mike has been adopted by the lovely Crouch family and they’ll be taking care of him until he leaves, so thank you John, Kate and Sophie, you’ve been so very helpful!

‘Mike’s going to sort out the autopilot with the representative from NKE today so hopefully they’ll settle it once and for all and Mike will go on another long test sail at some point.

‘I also wanted to add that Mike has a second backup autopilot made by a different company, Raymarine which is working fine. This bit of kit is so important that I don’t want him to go out there with only one AP and no backup – both have to be 100% reliable. Fingers crossed it’ll be sorted this week.

‘Mike is so desperate to get on.’

Perham, 16, from Potters Bar, Herts is hoping to become the youngest solo, non-stop circumnavigator. He left Falmouth on 18 November.

A major profile on the lad can be read in the current issue of Yachting Monthly.

Mike Sail