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British Teen Sets Atlantic Record


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British teen becomes youngest solo sailor to cross Atlantic

Staff and agencies

Wednesday January 3, 2007

 

Guardian Unlimited

 

A 14-year-old British schoolboy today became the youngest person to sail the Atlantic single-handed, arriving in the Caribbean after setting off from Gibraltar just over six weeks ago.

Michael Perham, from Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, sailed into Nelson's Dockyard on the Caribbean island of Antigua at 10am (2pm UK time), and was escorted into dock by a flotilla of boats.

 

"It feels absolutely fantastic being back on dry land, absolutely brilliant," he told BBC News 24 on reaching the shore, where he was greeted by a steel band.

 

John Prescott - a former merchant seaman - sent a message of congratulations to the teenager, saying he had "proved himself another hugely successful sailor in the great British maritime tradition". He set off in his 28ft boat Cheeky Monkey on November 18, battling huge waves and gale-force winds along the way, while sailing alongside dolphins and sharks.

 

The teenager, who has been sailing since the age of seven, has been shadowed throughout the trip by his father, Peter, a chartered surveyor and experienced yachtsman, who travelled two miles behind his son and kept in regular radio contact.

 

Michael, who was given permission by his head teacher to miss several weeks of school, spent both Christmas and New Year aboard the boat.

 

Last week Michael told The Guardian he had celebrated Christmas Day by setting off a flare.

 

"Sometimes you feel a bit lonely, but I expected that. But you don't have much time to feel down," he said.

 

Mr Perham said his son came up with the idea of the journey three years ago after watching footage of a previous record attempt.

 

"Michael said to me: 'It would be great if I could do that, Dad.' As a parent I just thought it was a typical boy's dream. I never thought it would actually happen," Mr Perham said.

 

The schoolboy has been keeping an occasional log of the journey on a website chronicling his progress, including a first encounter with squalls - "they really do knock your teeth out" - and the experience of having dolphins follow the boat for hours at a time.

 

The previous record for the youngest person to cross the Atlantic was set by 15-year-old Sebastian Clover from the Isle of Wight, who sailed from the Canary Islands to Antigua in January 2003.

 

Precocious little turd. :|

 

Allowed to miss school so he could indulge in this little bout of ego-masturbation. Disgraceful. blueno.gif

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:lol: That's one take on it I suppose. It just seems really irresponsible to let him do it though. And going by the name, I reckon the previous record holder was a little turd too.
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like the time I climbed Mt Everest on me own - 1 metre behind Meissner and actually 5 cms from  shoulders of a Sherpa

Btw: Did you ever read/see any tv programmes about the mountaineer who was the first to climb Everest unnassisted? He did it on his own, without oxygen and in monsoon season so that he was the only bloke on the mountain (not even anyone at Base Camp). He thought that modern climbers with all their equipment were cheating and he reasoned that Mallory had nearly got there (or possibly even made it to the summit) in a tweed jacket. He did it again later to prove it wasn't a fluke. Now that is more like it.

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Thats Messner - sorry about my mis-spelling

 

a nutter - he was a great conventional climber, then he decided to go "light weight" expeditions then on to solo then on to no O2

 

he lost his brother way back when they climbed Naga Parbat I think and it certainly scarred him

 

"The most famous climber in the world today, Reinhold Messner has been climbing since he was five years old. Born September 17, 1944 in Villnöss in the South Tyrol/Italy.  By the age of 20, he had climbed most of the hardest routes in the Dolmites and Western Alps together with his brother Günther and had already started to formulate his dedication and philosophy in clean lightweight alpine-style climbing.

 

Günther was later killed by an avalanche near the base camp on Nanga Parbat after the first successful ascent of the Rupal Face. This was the Messner brothers first Himalayan expedition and a great personal lost for Reinhold that took many years to get over.  After the first oxygen less climb of Everest, his solo ascents of Nanga Parbat and Everest, being the first to climb all 14 eight-thou sanders and finishing the "Seven Summits" as the third person, he is a living legend among climbers.

 

Reinhold Messner: "As far as the public is concerned, since 1978 my sensational climbs - Everest without oxygen and Nanga Parbat solo - are unsurpassable." Messner himself consider the traverse between Gasherbrum I and II with Hans Kammerlander in 1984 to be his supreme Himalayan achievement.

 

In 1975 he and Peter Habeler made a statement that they were going to attack an 8,000 metre mountain in the same manners as done in the Alps. Reinhold declared what he meant as alpine style: the start of the climb is done from the bottom of the mountain and you carry all the gears with you on the way, if any bivouacs, they will be found on the way. No route preparation is done. Supplemental oxygen is not used.  They where successful on Hidden Peak, by leaving almost everything behind, climbing unroped they made a fast ascent through a new route. This was the second ever ascent of the mountain!

 

Something to remember about Messners climbs that really point out his capabilities is that until today he is the only person to have climbed the extremely dangerous Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat and probably the only person that ever truly will climb Everest alone. Today the mountain is crowded and if someone claims to have climbed it "solo", it means that it was done without help from others from the last camp to the summit. Not to forget is that his climb was done during the summer, regarded as monsoon season, something never done before.

 

Messner is also one of the few western people that claim to have seen the Yeti. He's said to have met it twice, the second time during one of his latest expeditions to Karakorum, now with pictures as proof!? They where promised to be published in his book about the Yeti - but no real proof were actually published. Instead he speculates that the Yeti is a large, long haired bear.

 

Some people say of Messner that his personality has changed after his high altitude climbs, they suspect brain damage due to lack of oxygen, and uses him as a warning example of what can happen when pushing it to hard on extreme altitudes. The famous Pakistani climber, Nazir Sabir who's been climbing with Messner, also says to have introduced Messner to the art of smoking hashish at high altitudes. If this is true, it's not hard to imagine that this must be an easy way of loosing brain cells by millions!! It's also said that Messner didn't like it...

 

Messner has not only faced fame, he is a very strong personality that never leaves other people without an opinion. Saying what he thinks and what he belive is true, more than once he has been the one people chose not to belive in. Or more precise, the didn't wanted to belive his version. When he failed on several expeditions in the mid -70: s, people where happy about his failures! He has also been accused for being a lunatic having brain damage due to lack of oxygen at high altitude.

 

Even among fellow mountaineers he faced a lot of criticism. After his two first expeditions to the Himalayas, he lost three team mates including his brother Günther. Upon returning home from those expeditions, he was accused by the public for leaving his friends behind to die; or like on Gasherbrum, when he was accused for "climbing over bodies" to reach the summit. Later he and Hans Kammerlander buried the dead Austrian climber in a crevasse, even if it took them long time and decreased their own chances to make the celebrated traverse between Gasherbrum I and II.

 

Messer who's become a wealthy man has no intention to settle himself in a risk-free environment in his Castle Juval in the Italian Alps, he keep on exploring, climbing, writing and being out on adventures, he says he's too old to learn something else.  Messner is not only a great climber. In 1990 he was first again, now by crossing the Antarctic continent on foot. Later it was time for the Arctic, however the expedition was unsuccessful, but a second try is on his mind...

 

Latest news: In the summer of 2004, Messner crossed the Gobi desert from east to west in six weeks.

 

Latest climbing news: In the summer of year 2000, Messner returned to Nanga Parbat 30 years after his first successful ascent, this time to try an unclimbed route. With him was his brother Hubert, Hans Peter Eisendle and Wolfgang Thomaseth. After reaching very high on the mountain wall, they found the summit ridge too dangerous to continue.

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I thought he was Swiss but he's one of those German-speaking Italians from the Alps in would appear. I love people like that. I think he was pretty disgusted by the huge military-type expeditions carried out by Chris Bonnington et al. Although I think they are now mates.

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I seem to remeber that  climbing clubs would sing (to the tune of Onward Christian Soldiers)

 

"onward Christian Bonnington, onwards on to more

you can name the mountain, he shall name the fee"  etc etc

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like the time I climbed Mt Everest on me own - 1 metre behind Meissner and actually 5 cms from  shoulders of a Sherpa

 

I prefer to be carried by the Sherpa tbh. tongue.gif

 

thats what I said

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Guest Gemmill

I seem to remeber that  climbing clubs would sing (to the tune of Onward Christian Soldiers)

 

"onward Christian Bonnington, onwards on to more

you can name the mountain, he shall name the fee"  etc etc

 

How did that ever even become something you can remember?!  I reckon you just made it up.  bluebigrazz.gif

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from the Indie today even................ 

 

"As Sir Chris Bonington found out after vigorously publicising his Himalayan expeditions of the 1970s, one's peers can be cynical about popular, commercial success."

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Guest Magnetic North

When you get older you find the mind acts as a sieve - it filters out all the useful stuff and you are left with aalll the useless rubbish

 

So that's the mind and the underpants acting as a sieve?  :winking:

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Guest Gemmill

They read out a comment from her yesterday where she basically said that this lad had chosen an easy time of year to do it, and the easiest route possible.  I know the quotes were probably taken out of context but it did sound like her trying to keep her achievements sounding special by belittling his.  He's 14 woman, just say well done spotty and be done with it.

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Aye, little shit alright. I'm sure if my Daddy was a wealthy yaughtsman, taught me to sail as a child, provided my own yaught for a solo sail and promised to stay close by in his own super-vessel so I don't wee my y-fronts, I could've done it too.

 

It's not about your capability in this country, it's your upbringing. I'd imagine the Williams sister's would never have reached their level in tennis has they been born over here in the slums of Manchester.

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Yacht.  :roll:  :winking:

And the Williams sisters would have made it over here imo. They played on shit tennis courts, came from a rough area and were taught by their father who had no coaching qualifications. Bad example tbh.

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they wouldn't have got INTO any tennis club over here - there was a thing in the Times the other day saying some Brit asian kid can't get into a club, he gets the sort of subtle discrimination in tournaments etc etc

 

 

here you go:-

 

The Times  January 03, 2007

 

Ten-year-old's path to the top blocked by 'discrimination'

Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent

 

The Amir Khan phenomenon has transformed British boxing and when Shamael Chaudhry ventured from his home in Walsall for a tennis tournament at the Bolton Arena last year, his parents were astonished when a swarm of Muslim children surrounded his court, jubilant at the way the boy went for his shots. Shamael is 10.

 

We could be a long way from celebrating the first British champion from Kashmir via the shadow of the M6 to London SW19, but the initial shoots are encouraging and what a story it would be to tell.

 

At the start of each new year, the screw is turned tighter in Britain’s desire for a tennis saviour, for it becomes that bit more distant from the most recent time there was one. Shamael is on the way, thanks to the devotion of Yasin and Yasmin, his parents, who wanted their son to play a sport for its own sake and chose tennis before many others because they believed that it was one that epitomised civility and goodness.

 

Those beliefs have been shaken for the Chaudhrys, who have a thickening sheaf of letters and articles to sustain their allegations that discrimination has dogged their son’s hopes of progress. So much so that Tom Watson, the Labour MP for Sandwell, will travel to the Hazelwood Tennis club in Enfield — Shamael’s home from home two days a week — this month to see for himself the boy’s promise and decide if he should extend his support to the family in what they regard as creeping injustice against him.

 

When anyone — especially one regarded by Alan Jones and Jo Durie, his coaches, as among the top six in his age group — is allegedly denied access to tournaments because of the colour of his skin or because he is too good for his opponents, action should be swift and decisive.

 

“I’ve been in this country since I was 7 and I always believed in Britain’s sense of fair play,” Yasmin, his mother, said. “We are Muslims, yes, and proud of the fact and it saddens us that some of these things have happened, especially when Shamael, who only plays tennis because he loves it, asks why people do the things they do. He’s just a boy.”

 

Whether it is referees threatening to dock points because he makes a bit of a noise when he strikes his shots, or allegedly refusing him places in events altogether, the LTA has to root out such people and inform them that they have no place in a civilised sport. Let the boy be the best he can be.

 

On first sighting yesterday, there is plenty of optimism. His parents have given up much, what with Yasin resigning from full-time employment as a teacher of IT in Handsworth and going part-time, alongside their purchase of a onebedroom apartment in Edmonton, North London, so Shamael has a place to rest his head on Sunday and Monday nights before he returns to the Midlands and his schooling. Their estimate is that the cost of his tennis upkeep is £30,000 a year.

 

They chose to send their son to the Hazelwood Academy — sponsored by French Connection, the clothing firm — because of its reputation. “I wanted Shamael to be coached by people with a proven track record,” Yasin said.

 

“It’s not just the tennis, it’s about attitude, behaviour and honesty. And can you imagine what it would mean for our community if he could become a successful player? He could really make a difference. He learnt to walk in just one day and if a boy can do that . . .”

 

There is no doubting Shamael’s devotional interest in his sport and he often chastises Durie, the former British No 1, when she arrives for coaching sessions the day after one of her commentary stints for television.

 

“Tennis means so much to me,” he said. “My favourite player is Tim Henman, I like his game, I like his personality, I like his attitude. I remember watching his Wimbledon semi-final against [Goran] Ivanisevic and saying to myself, ‘If he can’t win Wimbledon for himself, I’d like to win it for him.’ ”

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