Sixteen-year-old American Zac Sunderland, who’s halfway through his attempt to become the youngest-ever solo circumnavigator, has a rival. British teenager Mike Perham, who is 108 days younger than Zac, is about to set sail from the UK on a fully sponsored Open 50 racer.
Mike made headlines in 2007 when he and his father sailed solo from England to Antigua in separate boats. He was just 14 at the time.
Youth and enthusiasm are common denominators for the two teenagers, but there’s a wide gulf in equipment. Zac, from California, is sailing a well-used Endeavour 36 cruiser that he helped refit. Mike’s boat is a fast, modern racing machine, and he’s been schooled by a top solo ocean racer.
Zac is presently in the Indian Ocean, struggling with a broken boom and a damaged forestay. Mike is waiting on communications gear and aims to leave in the next couple of weeks.