Teenager going it alone in round-the-world bid

PUBLISHED: 09:31 15 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:46 06 May 2010

NELSON'S DOCKYARD, ANTIGUA ? JANUARY 03: Michael Perham, from Potters Bar in Hertfordshire, arrives in Antigua on January 03, 2007 in Nelson's Dockyard, Antigua. Michael is the youngest person at the age of 14 ever to sail single handedly across the Atlantic Ocean, he made the trip in some seven weeks after setting off on the 3,500 mile journey from Gibraltar aboard a 28ft boat named Cheeky Monkey. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

NELSON'S DOCKYARD, ANTIGUA ? JANUARY 03: Michael Perham, from Potters Bar in Hertfordshire, arrives in Antigua on January 03, 2007 in Nelson's Dockyard, Antigua. Michael is the youngest person at the age of 14 ever to sail single handedly across the Atlantic Ocean, he made the trip in some seven weeks after setting off on the 3,500 mile journey from Gibraltar aboard a 28ft boat named Cheeky Monkey. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

2007 Getty Images

A TEENAGER sets off today (Saturday) in a bid to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world. Michael Perham, aged 16, is currently studying for a BTEC national diploma in sports at Oaklands College in St Albans. He will be able to keep up wi

A TEENAGER sets off today (Saturday) in a bid to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world.

Michael Perham, aged 16, is currently studying for a BTEC national diploma in sports at Oaklands College in St Albans. He will be able to keep up with the course while at sea, submitting and receiving work via email and satellite link so that he doesn't get behind in his studies.

Michael, who comes from Potters Bar, is no stranger to epic voyages - when he was 14 he became the youngest person to cross the Atlantic solo.

He said of the challenge: "I'm very excited. The most difficult part of the trip will be being alone. I'm not so much worried about it, but it is the main factor."

He is setting off from Portsmouth in a boat named Totallymoney.com, after one of his sponsors. The 24,000-mile journey is expected to take four months.

Michael, who started sailing at the age of seven, is hoping to gain the same amount of success he had two years ago on his solo journey from Gibraltar to Antigua.

This trip, however, is going to be very different. He'll be sailing a 50-foot racing yacht instead of a 28-foot cruising boat, it'll take four months instead of six weeks, and he won't have his dad sailing behind at a distance.

Dad Peter, a quantity surveyor, said: "All the attention Michael has had has been mad, it's been hectic, but I will miss him and I totally support him doing this."

Gary Anderson, director of performance at Oaklands, described Michael as "a truly inspirational young man".

He said: "We'll be keeping a close eye on his progress as he embarks on this extraordinary challenge and I'll be making sure all his assignments still make it in on time!"

You can track Michael's progress by logging on to www.sailmike.com

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Recently we, as a family (minus two of the kids), visited The Lodge RSPB reserve in Sandy, Bedfordshire. I had never been before, which is perhaps amiss of me as a birdwatcher as it is the headquarters of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds or RSPB and only 45 minutes drive from home.

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