The Third Leader: Sailor boy

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The Independent Online

New Year, New Hero. And, incredibly, it's a specimen of that most maligned, derided and despaired-of species, the teenage boy.

Read and be proud, the rest of you, if I can drag you away just for a moment from your screen, headphones, bed or that silent mode punctuated by the odd unimpressed grunt, dismissive remark or occasional text flurry.

Mike Perham is the name: 14 years old, from Potters Bar. What was he doing during the Christmas holidays while you were busy with the above?

Becoming the youngest person ever to sail single-handed across the Atlantic, that's what. And before you say, "whatever", and slink off out, I should add that during the voyage he also found time to do some homework. And, no, that gesture involving rolling your eyes and pointing your finger at your open mouth is not attractive, thank you.

Besides, Mike has also written an impressive blog on the voyage which manages to avoid either too much coolness or too many exclamation marks. An example to us all, I should have said!

I must say, too, that, for some reason, I have been much impressed by his dad, who arranged the trip and has been with him all the way in a yacht nearby, even providing a tin opener.

How like a father! Some of us, too, will recognise the way Mike's blog somehow gives the impression that Dad is always breaking things, or down.

Some of us, too, will have noted that Mike has a lot of coursework to catch up on, and that he has a rather better excuse than any of the ones we're nearby.