While American teen Zac Sunderland (born November 29, 1991) tries for the title of 'Youngest sailor around the world' and follows the rolling seas across the Indian Ocean with a repaired tiller and a splinted broken boom, a second young sailor, British teen Mike Perham is about to set sail to vie for same title.
Mike - photo by Julien Girardot DPPI
Until Mike joined the 'race', Zac merely had to complete his journey by January 2010 to become the youngest circumnavigator - now he will have to finish before March next year, Mike's intended finish time, to claim the title. As Mike is
108 days younger than Zac, even if Zac arrives first his record as the youngest circumnavigator could be very short lived. If Mike arrives first Zac will never achieve his title goal.
However, it's not over until it's over, and Zac has so far proved a hardy and inventive sailor.
Mike (born 16 March 1992), first hit the headlines when he arrived in Antigua in January 2007 aged 14, having just crossed the Atlantic on his own and so became the youngest solo sailor to cross the Atlantic. His father crossed the Atlantic at the same time in a separate boat.
Michael at the wheel - photo by Julien Girardot DPPI
Zac on his boat - photo by Jen Edney
Now Mike's Dad Peter, has chartered an Open 50 racing yacht. This is a far cry from the comparatively modest 36-foot long sailboat 'Intrepid' which Zac is sailing. Mike's boat is being managed by world class French sailor Servane Escoffier. She is also training and preparing Mike for the voyage.
There's no lack of back up. Financial Services broker TotallyMoney.com are sponsoring Michael, and the 50 ft comparatively high tech boat, appropriately named Totallymoney, was on display to the public at the recent Southampton boat show.
Michael, who receives overwhelming support from his parents for these ventures, is looking forward to the journey.
'I reckon it's going to be fantastic,' he told London Today 'I can't wait to leave. 'The feeling of being out on the ocean is the greatest that you can have. I can't get enough of it.
Michael's aim is to leave this Sunday. However, this will depend on final equipment checks to the boat, which are out of his hands. 'I am galvanising all my energy to leave on that date, but it's only 50:50 at the moment,' he told the Times. 'What's most important is that the boat is perfect.'
He and his father have so far raised over US$254,000 for the anticipated four-month journey, but he is still hoping for a further $63,000 U.S. to help pay for more communications equipment.
Australian David Dicks currently holds the title of 'Youngest sailor around the world' a feat he achieved in 1996.