New challenge for record-breaking young sailor

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The Independent Online

A teenager who became the world's youngest solo circumnavigator today revealed his next challenge will be to help recreate the epic journey by those cast adrift after the mutiny on HMS Bounty.

Briton Mike Perham, 17, who has only been ashore for less than two weeks since completing his record-breaking journey, will sail alongside Australian adventurer Don McIntyre, from Tasmania, for his next adventure.

The pair aim to follow in the footsteps of Captain William Bligh and his supporting crew after they were cast adrift from HMS Bounty in the Pacific on April 28, 1789.

They ended up sailing their open whale-boat from Tonga to Timor in the Pacific.

Perham, of Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, sailed into the record books when he completed his solo voyage around the world with assistance on August 27.

Speaking today at St Katharine Docks in London, McIntyre, 54, who himself has sailed solo around the world and carried out challenges in Antarctica, said: "We are re-enacting Captain Bligh's epic open boat voyage, considered to be one the greatest open boat journeys in maritime history. We have a 25ft whale-boat and the four of us are setting off on April 28 next year, exactly 221 years to the day since Bligh was dispatched from the Bounty by Fletcher Christian, and hope to sail 4,000 miles across to Timor, so it's quite a challenge.

"We won't have any modern aids, we are only taking things that Bligh had, plus the same amount of food and water."

Perham added: "I've just finished sailing around the world and throughout the whole trip I was thinking what next? When I was in Australia I met up with Don and ended up staying with him for five weeks. I saw this boat and said what's this? We got talking and thought this would be a really good project to do together.

"There will be a lot of challenges on this boat. There will just be four people in a compact space with no outside communication. We do have a small amount of food, but we won't have a lot of water to wash ourselves. It will be really hot at times and really cold at times."

The crew will initially sail to Tonga to find extra food and water, before heading westwards across the top of Fiji and the Vanuatu Island groups, bound for the Queensland Coast, Australia, to land, like Bligh, on Restoration Island.

They will then sail north inside the Great Barrier Reef to Thursday Island, and then through the Torres Strait to Kupang and Timor.

Perham and McIntyre will attempt their voyage with no charts, no almanacs, modern timepieces or navigation equipment, torches, or toilet paper.

A GPS tracking system tracking their journey will be locked away from the crew.

They will carry a liferaft and essential safety equipment, together with a satellite computer link to send daily blogs.

McIntyre said: "Just the challenge of taking a small boat across the Pacific is big enough. We don't have enough food, we don't have any toilet paper, we don't have any chart, I've never sailed anywhere without a chart. We've got a compass, but no almanac to work out exactly where we are. There will be a lot of look and see navigation, look at where the sun comes up in the morning and go the opposite way."

The pair are searching for two additional crew members with £10,000 each to spare to complete the four-man team.

McIntyre joked the criteria included a sense of adventure and being "tastier than Mike and I so we can eat them first".

During the journey each crew member will survive on basic rations of Muesli bars, nuts, baked beans, beef and ship biscuits washed down with rum and water.

While not catching and eating sea birds the crew will keep to the voyage's authentic diet by eating substitute bird rations.

Perham set off last November and battled with 50ft waves, gale force winds and numerous technical difficulties during his 30,000-mile challenge.

His father Peter said: "It is a real adventure, that's for sure and takes Mike from someone who can sail around the world to someone who really wants to tread an adventurous path. Who better to do it with than Don. They both get on really well and there is a great dynamic between them. It will be interesting to see who will join them."

Through the voyage the pair hope to raise money and awareness of research into Motor Neurone Disease (MND) pioneered by the Sheffield Institute Foundation.

Speaking today at the launch, Irene Beard, director of the Sheffield Institute Foundation, praised the pair's courage and strength in taking on the challenge.

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