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Sailing: Michael Perham a 14 year old sails into record books as he sails from Gibraltar to Antigua, single-handedly.

Michael Perham
Michael said he was overwhelmed by his reception

A 14-year-old boy has arrived in Antigua to become the youngest person to sail the Atlantic single-handed.

Michael Perham, from Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, ended his 3,500-mile voyage when he sailed into Nelson's Dockyard at 1400 GMT.

Michael takes the record from Isle of Wight teenager Seb Clover, who was 15 when he made the crossing in 2003.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott called Michael a "successful sailor in the great British maritime tradition".

The teenager, who has spent six weeks at sea, was escorted into dock by a flotilla of boats.

'Huge accomplishment'

On reaching the shore, where he was met by a steel band, Michael said he had been overwhelmed by the reception he had received.

"It feels absolutely fantastic being back on dry land, absolutely brilliant," he told BBC News.

Michael's yacht, Cheeky Monkey, was shadowed by his father, Peter, a quantity surveyor, who was also in radio contact.

Michael Perham
Michael Perham has been sailing since he was six

Mother Heather Perham said her son had been inspired by Seb Clover's record in 2003.

"He's a very adventurous lad. When he heard about the trip that Seb and his father had done... it challenged him."

Speaking to her son via video-link for the first time since reaching shore, Mrs Perham congratulated him on his achievement.

"Congratulations Michael from everyone here in the family," she said.

"We are very proud of you. It's a huge accomplishment for yourself and to set an example for other young people to have adventures and live life to the full."

Stuart Phillips, head teacher at Chancellors Secondary School, which Michael attends, said: "It is an amazing achievement and goes to show what young people can achieve."

Mr Phillips said Michael, who began sailing at the age of six, was in his first year of GCSEs and had been given a revision programme to support him.

He said: "What he has achieved is an education in itself and when people achieve success in something like this it translates into success in other areas."

Former merchant seaman Mr Prescott said: "Michael has proved himself another hugely successful sailor in the great British maritime tradition.

"I have no doubt that the whole country will join me in sending congratulations on this remarkable achievement by such a young man."

Gibraltar would like to congratulate Michael on his wonderful achievment. We are proud that he chose Gibraltar as his starting point and hope that in some way we were able to provide him with some of the support he needed to accomplish such a fantastic feat.

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