Troubles plague teen sailor’s ‘non-stop’ world voyage

HOBART, Australia — A 17-year-old British sailor who is attempting to become the youngest person to single-handedly circumnavigate the globe docked at an Australian port Saturday for his fourth repair stop about halfway through his trouble-plagued voyage.

Mike Perham, of Potters Bar in Hertsfordshire, England, said he sailed his 50-foot yacht into Australia’s most southerly city, Hobart, for precautionary repairs to a rudder, battery recharger and ballast pump.

The recharger had been defective since a large wave tipped the yacht over in the Antarctic Ocean just over a week before reaching Hobart.

Since he set sail from Portsmouth, England, on Nov. 15 for what was to be a nonstop four-and-a-half month journey, Perham has been forced to dock for repairs in Lisbon, Canary Islands and Cape Town in South Africa.

Perham, who celebrated his 17th birthday at sea on March 16, said in Hobart that he now expects to finish the rest of the 24,000-mile journey in just under 10 weeks from Saturday. He hoped to leave Hobart within days.

“I’ve poured by heart and soul into this project,” Perham said. “I’ve genuinely given it my all, and to succeed and finish will put the biggest smile on my face.”

The youngest around-the-world solo sailor is Munich-born Australian Jesse Martin, who returned to the Australian city of Melbourne after 10 months on Oct. 31, 1999, days after his 18th birthday.

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