Sailing schoolboy to continue circumnavigation bid

Mike Perham, the British teenager attempting to become the youngest person to sail around the world, is to continue his campaign today or tomorrow. The 16-year-old from Potters Bar, in landlocked Hertfordshire, who was forced to make an unscheduled stopped in Cape Town, South Africa, with rudder and auto-pilot problems, has said that he has now tested repairs to his Open, calibrated new equipment and is now ‘set for the off’.

Mike, who set out on his circumnavigation bid last November, has been plagued with problems concerning his French NKE auto pilot. The young yachtsman had to stop in Portugal and then the Cape Verdes to fix the device, putting paid to his attempt to sail around the world non-stop. He then had to stop again in Cape Town at the start of February and had a brand new B&G auto-pilot flown out from the UK last week.

Mike writes: ‘Yesterday was spent finishing off the installation of the autopilot. I went into the harbour and performed a sequence of mini pirouettes and turns to calibrate the compass and suchlike. I next headed out into the bay and found a gentle breeze that was just perfect. As we began the speed tests we soon noticed that the pilot always wanted to go the opposite way from where I wanted. But we had it cracked after thirty minutes with the help of our B & G technician – the rudder calibration was slightly off.

‘The pilot then behaved perfectly and we returned to harbour as the sun set and we berthed just as it fell dark. It was after midnight by the time I finally got my head down.

‘Today we got up early and headed straight off toTotallymoney.comfor another day of testing. There was a south-easterly wind at around about 30 knots, which definitely helped give the pilot a thoroughly good test. We did lots of tacking and jibing and I was extremely pleased to say the least – as wasTotallyMoney.comwho seemed pretty happy with her brand spanking new autopilot.

‘We continued testing and eventually set about motoring into the harbour before the sun set. The south-easterly was still blowing so our progress was painfully slow. In the end it took one-and-a-half-hours to reach the marina. Manuel met us in his rubber duck rib to help us berth, which was really kind, as he was in the middle of a family reunion at the time!

‘We tied up our lines and tidied, making sure she was happy. It’s been another long day but a very productive and rewarding one. Now I’m set for the off! Departure will either be Friday or Saturday depending on the weather – here we go!’