British Teen Lands in Antigua After Record-Breaking Sail Across Atlantic

A British teen became the youngest person to sail solo across the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday, reaching the Caribbean island of Antigua after a six-week voyage.

Michael Perham, 14, raised his fist triumphantly to a crowd of Antiguan officials and supporters as he docked outside St. John's on the southeastern side of the island.

Perham said he was lonely at times but not afraid as he made the crossing in the Cheeky Monkey, his 28-foot sailboat. He helped pass the time by studying and chatting on a satellite phone.

"It has been a fantastic journey. It has been a great experience," he said. "I truly enjoyed it."

Perham, who was trailed by his father in another sailboat, set sail Nov. 18 from Gibraltar and made brief stops for repairs in the Canary Islands and Cape Verde.

Perham, of Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, broke the record held by Sebastian Clover, also of Britain, who was 15 when he sailed solo from the Canary Islands to Antigua in 2003.

Heather Perham, Michael’s mother, said that challenging moments on his journey had forced her son to grow up quickly.

“If there was a problem, he knew that he just had to get on with it and sort it out," she said. "He has proved that obviously he is mature enough to do that, and we are all incredibly proud of him."

She added that Michael had kept in touch with his friends via e-mail.

Perham started sailing at 7 and completed Royal Yachting Association courses in dinghy sailing and windsurfing. He had already clocked up several thousand miles at sea by the time he set off on this voyage.

On Christmas Day, he wrote on his weblog: “At 4 o’clock in the afternoon we put the clocks back 4 hours to be on Antigua time and that means we’ve probably had the longest Christmas Day in the world.”

His mother said that Michael would now have to concentrate on more mundane matters. “I imagine it is going to be quite strange for him going back to school,” she said. “But he has got a lot of coursework to catch up on.”

The London Times contributed to this report.