End of an odyssey: Boy sailor returns to harbour

Mike Perham battled 50ft waves and months of loneliness to become the youngest person to sail round the world alone
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The Independent Online

The record-breaking solo sailor Mike Perham made a triumphant return to harbour yesterday to the cheers of thousands of supporters and a burgeoning career as the country's youngest survival hero.

The teenager had barely set foot on dry land when he said that the details of his next adventure would be announced within weeks, adding: "I can't say what it is yet, but it will be very, very different."

The last days of the 17-year-old's incredible 30,000-mile journey were child's play for a teenager who during his nine and a half months at sea had to climb the mast of his boat to diagnose technical problems, battle 50ft waves and sail off course to ports for unscheduled repairs.

Perham finally moored his boat, totallymoney.com, at Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, where he sprayed champagne over a waiting crowd of media and 10,000 supporters. Describing his mood as "ecstatic", he said: "I missed my friends and family, obviously, while I was away. But what I also missed was my creature comforts, such as having things like a refrigerator and a toaster." There had been times when he had been close to giving up, particularly when he had to make stops for repairs. "But it was worth it for today," he said.

He crossed the finish line on Friday between Lizard Point, Cornwall, and Ushant, France, to become the youngest person to sail round the world alone, taking the record from Zac Sunderland, the American who held it for six weeks. After being escorted to the finish by the Navy, he picked up a three-man crew, including his father, off the coast at Falmouth. They endured a gale while cooking a steak dinner – a meal that was pronounced "beautiful" by the teenager, who had lived on 5,000 calories a day of pasta, rice and tinned food during the voyage.