The Schoolboy Who Sailed The World Review: The Little Seaman Who Could

November 4, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

4THE SCHOOLBOY WHO SAILED THE WORLD: Thursday 5th November, Channel 4, 9pm Alert Me

I am not going to lie. I got a little weepy.

Everyone knows about Michael Perham, the 16-year-old who became the youngest person to sail solo around the world.

But only Cutting Edge provides the video footage of Perham’s perilous journey from start to finish.

For those living in a cave for the past year, Michael Perham, a teenager from Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, sailed from Portsmouth in November, south through the Atlantic, then the Pacific before heading through the Panama Canal and back across the Atlantic in August. His planned four-month, non-stop circumnavigation quickly turned into a financially crippling 9-month odyssey. And yet, Perham’s record still managed to surpass that of his competitor, 17-year-old American Zac Sutherland, who held the title for a mere 10 weeks before giving it up to the Brit.

There is something poignant about Perham’s endeavor. And what the documentary does that no sensational headline can do is allow us to live vicariously through the young adventurer. Through Perham’s daily video diaries, we see and feel the perils of sea travel.

The boat nearly capsizes and Perham, soaked and breathless, holds the camcorder in his hands and proclaims: “This weather is just bad. Woo!” And then there is the time when Perham is forced to climb the towering mast to untangle the rigger. He tells us with teary-eyes, “It is amazing how it can go from bad to worse to damn awful.”

Whether he is leaping into the freezing ocean and untangling the rudder, or talking to the clouds and lounging on deck in a grass skirt and lei, Perham captivates us for over an hour. And we love every minute of it.

Danielle Jacoby

A Person says:

As a person who went to my primary school and lives in my hometown I watched this progamme with a sense of pride that a boy from our small town, Potters Bar can acheive such a amazing thing. Well Done!

Terry McElligott says:

Awesome challenge that was sailing around the world on your own and so young ! Mike Perham succeeded again after his first adventure sailing the Atlantic solo 2 years previous. Watching the Cutting Edge documentary on this brilliant boy last night was very emotional for me so how his family and friends felt I can only guess.
Whatever will be next, and how do you improve on this ? Twice around ? in reverse ? I don’t know, but I bet Michael does !
Good luck young man you certainly need it and God bless you in whatever you do.