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Kids today, all they want to do is sail around the world -- alone

August 21, 2009 |  2:39 pm

Michael2

Zac Sunderland, 17, is the youngest person to have sailed around the world alone, and the first person to have accomplished that feat before turning 18. Zac finished his 13-month odyssey in mid-July and has since become a minor celebrity.

In about a week, the personable Thousand Oaks adventurer will hold only the latter distinction, however, because England's Mike Perham, who is a few months younger than his Yankee rival, is closing in on his globe-girdling end point at Gunwharf Quays. Mike's scheduled arrival date is Aug. 29.

"I've been on the phone a lot more in the last few days, doing quite a few interviews and live radio link-ups, which has been good fun as always," the Britisher said on his blog. "Earlier I was on the phone to one of my best mates and it was really great to have a good catch up and talk about loads of different stuff. It's a little weird to think I'm only eight days away now when I've been away for so long and haven't seen my friends for ages. I'm dead excited to catch up with them though. I’ve lots of stories to tell!"

How long Mike will hold the distinction as the youngest to solo-circumnavigate the planet in a sailboat, however, remains to be seen.

Michael1

Australia's Jessica Watson, 16, is planning a September departure for a nonstop journey aboard a 34-foot yacht that she hopes to complete within eight months. Abby Sunderland, who will turn 16 in October, is hoping for a November departure for a nonstop trip aboard a 40-foot yacht. She plans to complete her trip in about six months.

If both girls are successful within their time frames, Abby would become the youngest. 

However, Dutch sailor Laura Dekker reportedly is still planning to depart Sept. 1 on what she hopes will be a more leisurely two-year adventure, but she's running into opposition from civil authorities, who refuse to give her permission to skip school.

That's understandable because Dekker, who says she's going anyway and has the support of her parents, is only 13!

-- Pete Thomas

Photos, from top: Teenage sailor Mike Perham; Pelham's vessel. Credit: Totallymoney.com




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