Zac Sunderland and Mike Perham had never met nor heard of each other until recently. However, the two boys from very different backgrounds, have always shared the same dream - To become the youngest person to sail the globe, solo - And both just achieved their goal.
California born, Zac Sunderland's quest began on Jun 14th, when he set off on his big voyage, aboard his 36-ft sailboat Intrepid from Marina Del Ray. His goal was to have an adventure by visiting as many countries as he could and, return within 12-18 months - before he turned 18, so that he could claim the American title set in 1965 by Robin Graham, and the world title from David Dicks, who completed his journey a few months after he turned 18.
And what an adventure he had - from fighting big gales and storms to being chased down by pirates and dealing with repairs of his boat. However, along the way he also saw some amazing places and made some great friends.
On July 16th, 2009, exactly 13 months and 2 days after he left, Zac returned to Marina Del Ray, to become the first 17-year old to sail the world solo. However, Zac's efforts were not recognized by any 'official' authority as a record, because he stopped and spent time in different countries and asked for help when he needed it. Record or no record, what this 17-year old was able to achieve is simply astounding!
To read about Zac's sea adventures check out his daily blog at: zacsunderland.com.
Hertfordshire born Mike Perham's quest to achieve his dream began on November 17th, when he set sail from Portsmouth , aboard his 50ft racing yacht called TotalMoney.com. His aim was to complete the 30,000 nautical mile journey without stopping anywhere and return home in four months.
However, it was not that easy. Plagued by rudder and autopilot breakdowns, as well as, really bad storms, Mike had to stop for repairs in Portugal, Gran Canaria and Cape Town, where he met up with Zac Sunderland.
Though the setbacks meant that Mike's Perham's trip extended from four to nine months, the 17-year old still took over the title of the world's youngest sailor, when he returned on August 27th. That is because he is a few months younger than Zac Sunderland. His efforts will also be recognized by the Guinness Book of Records, who have created a special category for him - The youngest person to sail across the globe solo - assisted.
This will be his second entry in the record books. In January 2007, at the tender age of 14, Mike became the youngest person to sail solo across the Atlantic. To read more about this young boy's journey through some treacherous waters check out his blog: www.totallymoney.com.
Zac however, is still the youngest American and the first 17-year old, to complete the arduous journey.
But both boys should be ready to hand over their titles soon - For there are some even younger sailors waiting in the wings. And this time its three girls who want to rain on their parade. Among them is none other than Zac's 16-year-old sister, Abby Sunderland who is currently in sea trials and hoping to launch off in November of this year - Way to go ladies!
sources: totallymoney.com,latimesblogs.com, dailymail.co.uk, wikipedia.org