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Origional Writing - Media Coursework

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3rd January 2007 14 Year Old Skips School To Sail Solo Across Atlantic After 6 weeks of non-stop sailing for the 14-year-old British schoolboy, Michael Perham has successfully completed his objective: becoming the youngest person ever to sail solo across the Atlantic, beating Sebastian Clover who, at 15, had held the record since 2003. Mike began sailing at the age of seven and has since completed the RYA courses in dinghy sailing and windsurfing, as well as being thoroughly prepared by his father (a qualified Yachtmaster). Before Mike could begin his incredible journey, he spent many long hours persuading wealthy companies to sponsor him so he could finance the trip. No easy task for a 14-year-old! Eventually, he managed to gather enough sponsors to buy the 2 yachts and all the equipment, safety measures and back-ups he could possibly need. His main sponsor was 'Sketchers' without whom; the trip would most likely have been called off. The RYA was going to be the main sponsors of the pair but they withdrew their hand after accusing Mike of using a category B yacht. The Tide28 did not comply with the RYA's safety requirements and was not class A. ...read more.


Having planned to cross the 3,500 miles and reach his destination before Christmas, the realisation that his journey time must be extended would have been aggravating but necessary. During the voyage, Mike has encountered all kinds of problems and pleasures, including: sharks; dolphins; gale-force winds and 25ft waves! Often on his journey, Mike was accompanied by the dolphins' friendly presence or the sharks' more frightening one, but throughout it all, the experiences were exhilarating, Steve, 39, head teacher of Chancellor's School in Brookmans Park (Stuart, 39) said, "It was an opportunity in itself. It would be a huge learning curve for him. He would learn resilience and dealing with solitude, whilst keeping up on his homework, of course!" On November 25th, Mike wrote: "Had my first experience of squalls, they really do knock your teeth out!" which shows just what a challenge this trip was for him. Despite the Tide 28s being far safer than horse riding, Mike seems to have encountered every possible hitch, a matter confirmed by Mike's publicist - Kizzi Nkwocha: "Almost everything you could imagine going wrong, did go wrong - mechanical failure, technical failure, shark-infested waters, waves the size of skyscrapers." ...read more.


However, the public reaction has been largely 2-sided - whereas it was expected Mike's achievement would be celebrated, in many cases, jealousy or some other factor has caused much criticism of his achievement. The main objects of dispute have been that Mike was from an upper-class family, and so had "more opportunity" and the fact that his dad was following a couple of miles behind. One online correspondent even said: "So Little Lord Fauntleroy has sailed across the pond, big deal!" Whereas another pointed out: "If a force 10 gale had hit, Peter Perham would have enough to worry about on 'Arturus', let alone chasing after Michael. He would have had to cope alone." To start with Peter said: "Michael said to me: 'It would be great if I could do that, Dad.' As a parent I just thought it was a typical boy's dream. I never thought it would actually happen. Now he has been proven wrong - to his delight - and all in all this is a remarkable achievement for someone so young and he deserves all the praise he is given. And who knows how many people have turned their thoughts to the future already: Will an adventurous 13-year-old break Perham's record any time soon? Article by Katie Hedgecock ...read more.

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