14-year-old lad crosses Atlantic

Despite safety fears from the RNLI and the MCA, a 14-year-old schoolboy, is about to become the youngest person to have sailed solo across the Atlantic. Michael Perham is expected to arrive in Antigua today on his Tide 28, Cheeky Monkey, having taken six and a half weeks to complete the 3,500 mile passage from Gibraltar.

The £30,000 boat was shadowed by his father, Peter, in another Tide 28, the trailer-sailers being marketed by the Herts-based businessman. As Yachting Monthly reported in October Coastguard personnel and RNLI were worried how the father could render assistance to his son, if required, because he was sailing an identical boat.

They did suffer problems. Michael’s self-steering gear failed and was replaced in the Cape Verdes and he also had problems with his sat phone. Just days from Antigua his headsail halliard parted from chafe. But ironically it was his father who suffered the worst breakages: his rudder pintel sheared off and was replaced in Lanzarote; his rudder blade later snapped in two obliging him to ship a spare; and his starboard cap shroud parted. He replaced this with a halliard.