Thursday, 22 December 2011

Christmas is coming

It is now only 4 days till race day and I can’t believe how quickly the time has flown since coming out here. Infact, looking back over the year, it only seems like yesterday when I started to learn to fly.

Right now we are in the final preparation stages for the Rolex Sydney to Hobart yacht race commencing on boxing day. Our boat, Ella Bache can be tracked My main role on the boat will be navigator and video producer.

To find out what we have been up to during our training; please visit our web site

Next year, is already looking pretty interesting; January either still here in Australia or in the Caribbean and in February, I have lots of school talks booked in.

I hope you have a very merry Christmas and happy New Year and BIG thanks for all the blog comments.


Monday, 26 September 2011

Month of Chilling

I was just asking myself what have I been up to this last month.. I got out my calendar and had a good look at what I've been up to since the Fastnet finished at the end of August. I was surprised to see that I've spent almost no time on the water this month.  I suppose that I'd call these last few weeks a bit of a 'holiday' from my sailing commitments.

During this holiday time I travelled off to Malta for a short family holiday which was great as I was also able to catch up with one of my good uni mates who lives there. That certainly was a great laugh! I also spent a long weekend away on the south coast just catching some fresh air which has been lovely.

One of the recent highlights for me was travelling down to Plymouth to watch the Americas Cup unfold there. I drove down for the second weekend and I was taken away by the sheer number of spectators that were crowding Plymouth Hoe. Its so brilliant to see the general public taking such a large interest in this 'round the cans' racing format.  I have to admit, I was never entirely convinced by the move to multihull's and I'm still not 100% convinced. However, if these new radical boats continue to draw in such phenomenal interest from the general public, then I believe that it was a good move.

A couple of weeks ago I submitted my application to try out for the Artemis Offshore Academy ( and I'm pleased to be able to say that I've been invited to the selection trials which are to be held at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. I'm attending the second set of trials which begin this Thursday and I'm really excited!

Almost directly after the trials I'm jumping on a plane to fly out to Australia to join Team Another Challenge to begin our training regime for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. We've got a great training programme worked out which I'm pretty excited about and I'm looking forward to learning from our coaches.

Yesterday was a big day for offshore racing as two major races started. The Mini Transat ( began in typically spectacular form with almost 80 boats crossing the start line. The Global Ocean Race ( also kicked off from Mallorca. I'll be following both of these races quite avidly and I wish the best of luck to every competitor!


Thursday, 25 August 2011

Ramsgate, Cowes and Fastnet

This last month I feel like I've pretty much been living on boats. I've been
racing continually and have only had 2 days off the water this whole month!
I can't really complain though as I've learnt so much from spending time with some great sailors.

This month started with Ramsgate Week Regatta over on the east coast. I was
invited to sail on a First 35 called Stiletto as navigator on board.  The
navigator’s job is effectively to get the boat around the course and give the
helm and tactician as much info as possible about distances, wind angles and
also what the next leg will hold. There is a lot of thinking required for
this position on board and I relished it. The week went fantastically and
I'm very pleased to be able to say that we finished 2nd overall which is a
terrific result. On my last day there, the organisers of the regatta very
kindly donated £200 to the Tall Ships Youth Trust who I support. Thanks a load for that guys!

Immediately after the last days sailing at Ramsgate I drove along the
South Coast with Pete and Leigh who were also sailing on board and we jumped
on the First 40, Carpe Diem to race in the RORC Channel Race. This year’s
course was from Cowes, around the Isle of Wight, then off to a marker by
Brighton and then back to a finish in the Solent. The race was never going
to be a long one but as the wind shut down by the needles it proved very
hard to inch out any lead over our competition. Those who got the wind first
took off and had a huge advantage over us who were still stuck in the wind
hole! We eventually got away form the Needles in a fairly good position
which we were pleased with and then it was a race around the island and then
a close kite run to the marker off Brighton before turning back towards the

Rounding the mark was pretty exciting with loads of boats around us and we
were really fighting for each position and boat length that we could gain on
the water. The crew were pretty shattered as we crossed the finish line in
the early hours of the morning and so the ‘on watch’ put the boat on a buoy
and we all slept soundly until pretty late in the morning. That was one of
the best sleeps ever!! We later went about rigging an emergency rudder in
practice if the main one was to fall off. This was all good training as the crew were all about to compete in the Fastnet on board Carpe Diem.

After this race, Pete, Leigh and I jumped on a train in the evening and made
our way back to Ramsgate as we were to deliver Stiletto along the south
coast to Cowes. We were departing nice and early in the morning. No rest
for the wicked! This delivery gave us a small chance to relax, however as we
were sailing along in one of the busiest stretches of water in the world, we
had to keep our wits about us. We arrived in Cowes 2 days later and I jumped
off to head home for two days of little rest, meetings, and office work! I
also headed home for the most important duty of all…. to get my washing

After arriving back on the Isle of Wight, I was once again straight back into
sailing. I was down in Cowes as I was racing in one of the largest regattas
in the world… Cowes Week! Once again I would be sailing on the First 35
Stiletto as Navigator. Cowes Week is a fantastic event and also a thoroughly
confusing one for navigators as the are so many marks and so many boats
around on the race course. Day 1 started off well for us in the light
conditions as we scored a bullet, however as the wind properly filled in for
the bulk of the rest of the week our results weren’t quite as fantastic. We
still managed to finish 4th in Class by the end of the week which the whole
crew was pretty pleased with. No doubt they'll be back next year!

After Cowes Week it was the Fastnet! This race is one that I have
always wanted to compete in and this was my first big opportunity to do so.
A little while ago I was invited to do the race on a Challenger 72 with the
Tall Ships Youth Trust.  I leapt at the opportunity to sail one of their
charity boats. One of the big attractions was that we would be teaching
novices how to race and this really appealed to me. The Tall Ships Youth
Trust were sailing all their 4 Challenge boats and so it was always looked
upon as a race within a race as we could only ever really compete against
our one design counterparts. I was sailing on board Challenger 2 and the
crew that we had on board were all fantastic. It was very rewarding to see
everyone learning so much during every watch and always giving it everything
that they could.

At the start of the race there was a real buzz amongst all the crews and you
could feel it on the dock. The excitement was electric! We were racing in
IRC 1 and we had a good start and lead all the other Challengers out of the
Solent which was a really nice feeling. I was calling tactics for our start
and the initial beats out of the Solent, so I was pretty chuffed with this. We
later went on to lead the 4 boats almost all the way to Lands End where
frustratingly one of the Challengers sailed just around us as they weren't
pushing as much tide as us. This was the problem with being the lead boat,
as all the others could see where you were getting stuck and they could use
that to their advantage.

I was amazed at how close the racing was and being the navigator, provided an excellent game of trying to outwit the others on the water.
It was a fantastic experience, rounding the rock in the dead of night and
playing the tide for all that it could give us was an excellent feeling.
Right close to the finish we had caught up on the leader substantially and
all four boats were within 2 miles of each other. After 700 miles of racing
a lead of two miles is nothing! Amazingly the boat in last place who had a
deficit of 10miles or so actually saw all of us stuck in a wind hole and
sailed right inshore and took the win! We ended up coming 4th out of the 4
Challenge boats, but I'm still very happy with our result as in the final
bay, it really was anyone’s game.

Looking back at this month I've had such a fantastic time and I've learnt so
much which I will take into further sailing campaigns. I'm now planning on
spending a few days resting and catching up on some sleep!


Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Flying, Sailing, and everything else!

Where to start.. As always, it's been pretty busy over here recently!  Over the last few weeks I've been trying to finish my Private Pilots Licence written examinations, and I'm pleased to be able to say, that as of today, I have passed 6 out of the 7 of them and I have only 1 more to go!

Whilst it is fantastic to be able to knock off these exams, I am really struggling to get time in the air due to a lack of sponsorship. So if you know any one who could help in this area then give me a shout!

I've been out on the water a fair bit recently as well. Jess, I and Will were competing in the Round the Island Race on the 25th June, but it didn't really go to plan!  We set off on a starboard tack across the line and on the first beat, a boat sailing on port tack decided to sail squarely into the side of us!

I'll explain the chain of events a bit clearer. Whilst we were on starboard tack, we had the right of way over the other yacht on port tack. We shouted 'Starboard' over the water a number of times and this was acknowledged by the other yacht who bore away. As we were getting closer to passing in front of them they came up to the wind far too early and their bow hit right into the side of our boat causing a small hole and possible structural damage.

After we had got untangled from the other boat and into a safer area, Will jumped downstairs to check on the extent of the damage and it was pretty clear that we were going to have to retire from the race immediately. We got the contact details from the other boat as we would have to lodge an official protest against the other competitor. The sails were pulled down and a pretty disappointed crew motored back into to cowes after only 10 minutes of racing. What was important of course, was that no one was hurt in the incident.  Later on the afternoon, the competitor who hit us did come up and apologise, and we are thankful for that. All the crew certainly learnt from this experience. It was also the first race that I have ever retired from.

Since the Round the Island Race, I've spent a week in North wales doing a bit of mountain climbing and fitness training alongside quite a lot of relaxing which was fantastic. It was lovely to be able to get some fresh air, and admire the scenery which does totally take your breath away!

This weekend I'm back on the water with Pete, sailing a Beneteau 40 called Carpe Diem. We're racing in the RORC race from Cowes to St Malo. The start is on Friday afternoon and it looks to be about a 24 hour race. I haven't sailed this boat before so I'm really excited about this race. Wish us well! We'll be posting updates on the 'Another Challenge' Facebook page so log onto that and follow us from there!


Saturday, 14 May 2011

Catch up

Right, definitely time for another blog! Since my last post from Australia, I’ve kept super busy as always.  It was my sisters birthday a few weeks ago, and as it was her 21st we wanted to make it a special one. I was card hunting the day before as always, and I just couldn’t find any nice 21st cards, so I got the next best thing. A ‘happy 65th’ birthday card complete with badge! She loved it! We went out for a lovely family dinner and it was nice to have a good catch up as a family as we don’t spend a huge amount of time together anymore since both Fiona and I moved to University.

Also a few weeks ago, surprisingly, I had a complete week spare with no commitments, and so I decided to take off and go skiing in France for a week. I went with Will and Mike Broughton who are both great guys. Mike was my weather router for my around the world trip and proved a very valuable asset in keeping me safe and in the best weather. We had a fantastic week with lot’s and lot’s of laughing! It was also incredibly warm on a couple of the days, and I found myself skiing in just a t-shirt. A very peculiar experience.

I’ve since been on a short holiday with the family to the Gower in Wales. We decided to take off for a few days to our all time favourite hideaway in the Gower, a little village called Llangennith which has the most beautiful beach in the area I think. I’ve been coming to the same campsite for as long as I can remember, and my parents have been going there for upwards of 30 years! Fiona, my sister, brought along her house mate Katie and it was fantastic to get to know her a little more. There was certainly a lot of banter on that trip.

This last week has been very busy with lot’s of driving between Southampton and London for quite a few meetings which have all been pretty positive. The highlight of this week though was speaking at a Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards Evening. I was kindly invited to the Princess Helena College to hand out the awards and give a short talk at the end. It went really well, and I had a lot of fun. I always really enjoy talking to young people as I feel like I can connect with them more.

Yesterday I was out sailing in the Solent training for the Fastnet race later this year on the yacht which I’ll be sailing. She’s definitely the biggest yacht that I've ever sailed. I tell you guys more about that in due course. Another small adventure that I’ll be undertaking this year. Exciting!


Thursday, 24 March 2011

Another Challenge Melbourne Training

It’s been far too long since I updated you guys about what’s been happening recently so I thought I’d get it all down in one. As the Rolex Sydney Hobart project has now been announced, we can all talk about it freely which is great as it was all a bit of hush hush leading up to the launch. The project has been a long time in the planning and it’s been fantastic to see it come together bit by bit, right from the outset back in the middle of last year.

The crew got together for a week long shake down prior to the launch which was great, as we wanted to see how the crew would gel, and what level we are at with our technical ability. Will, Pete and I arrived in Melbourne late Monday evening, with totally messed up body clocks and pretty starving too. We met up with Jess and Chris who very kindly drove us to our place and we immediately set out to hunt for some food. Our stomachs sure were very unhappy to see that everywhere was shut, and so, we raided the vending machine!! 20bucks later we were much happier!

Most unusually for Pete and I being typical students, we woke up at 6am bright and wide awake. Our body clocks were slowly adjusting... That day we took a trip around Melbourne to get our bearings and the rest of the crew arrived and it was fantastic to meet them all. A super bunch!

The next two days were straight into sailing, but with a very relaxed approach. Some of the crew hadn’t done much yacht sailing having come from small performance boats and so it was a great relaxed learning curve. I was sure pleased to see everyone gel naturally into some positions. These two days were all about just being together as a crew, going through some manoeuvres, and making those manoeuvres a little more smoother. Also, getting a bit of a tan!

The yacht we have for the Sydney Hobart is a very well looked after Sydney 38. The yacht, appropriately named another Challenge is pretty similar to a Farr 40 from the outset, but when you look at her closer, she’s nowhere near as stripped out. There’s cushions! It’s a brilliant yacht though despite the cushions, as it is a one design which means that we have to carry the same equipment everyone else does. For example, everyone has to carry their cushions so it is a very fair class.

Our third day of training was at Deloitte. We spent the whole day talking about teamwork and just how key it is. We’ve got to be able to rely and trust each other completely to reach our full potential as a team. I learnt a lot that day and I was really impressed with a lot of what Chris and Jonno had to say.

The next few days before we headed offshore, we had a really in-depth look at the yacht in detail to see what improvements we could make long term and also what we needed to do short term before we headed offshore for a night. We also continued sailing with our lovely and pretty determined coaches Chris and Jonno working on some finer points of boat speed and practicing loads of safety manoeuvres. Always a good idea!


Our last two days of training crept on us far too quickly in my opinion, but I was truly most excited for our night offshore where we were hopefully going to be able to get out of the heads and see a bit of action! For one of the crew Alex, who had never been offshore overnight this was going to be a total first for her. For some of the other crew who hadn’t done much night sailing, it was going to be interesting to see how everyone faired when sleep deprived and also sailing on a pretty dark night (there wasn’t much moon).

We set off just after lunch and sailed due south with a frustratingly diminishing wind. By the time we arrived at the heads, the wind was all but gone with a very glassy sea and so we slowly drifted out/ sailed out at around 1 to 2 knots as night started to arrive. We were working on 3 hour watches and so that gave a really nice amount of rest and also made sure that everyone got 6 hours sleep minimum! The night went without too many hitches and was a great success for the crew.

After a good afternoon chilling out we all packed up ready for the launch the next day. I made sure to get a good nights sleep as it was a super bright and early start to fly to Sydney. The launch went off superbly and we spent a great afternoon and evening in Sydney before Pete, Will and I flew off back home to the UK the day after.

To summarise mine and the crews training in Sydney, we all loved it! The crew bonded really well and towards the end of the week there was a good amount of banter being continually shared which was great to see. I’m already really looking forward to going back out to Aus at the end of the year to continue our training.

Since my time out in Australia, I’ve kept busy back here in the UK with university and also continually plugging away for sponsorship for my flight around the world next year. This week I’ve had some really key meetings which have gone well I’m pleased to say and hopefully soon enough I’ll be able to release some more good news about progressing on with my flying trip!


Thursday, 10 March 2011

Mike Perham - “Team Another Challenge”

Press Release

Mike Perham today confirmed he will race in the 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, and will assist skipper Jessica Watson to become the youngest crew to ever compete in the iconic event.

Titled “Another Challenge” Jessica, Mike and the crew announced the exciting project at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in front of a large media contingent.

After conquering some of the most treacherous oceans to become the youngest teenagers to sail solo around the world, this next challenge will see Mike and Jessica with a crew, all of whom will be 21 or younger - making them the youngest crew ever to compete in the famous race, with an average age of just 19.

 “I am so excited to announce this project today. It has been a busy process selecting our crew, but I am absolutely delighted to be working with such a dynamic and motivated group of young sailors,” said Jessica.

“We have just spent a week training together in Melbourne and getting to know each other and everyone has bonded so well.”

Mike said. "I'm super looking forward to being a part of this team, and I truly think that with all the diverse skill sets that we have on board ranging from high performance dinghy sailing to knowledgeable weather routing, incorporating ten's of thousands of sea miles put together, this team will definitely be a winning team”

Mike and Jessica want to inspire other youth around the world, to strive to achieve. It is a unique opportunity for these 10 individuals.

Mike, who is studying at Southampton Solent University, likes to lead a busy life as he is also learning to fly to become the youngest person to fly solo around the world in 2012 if he can get enough sponsorship together.

Jessica has chosen the boat, aptly named ‘another Challenge’, a Sydney 38, which will again be painted in her trademark pink, which will be sure to stand out on the Harbour come race day.

The project is a massive undertaking that will provide many challenges. The crew will gather together again in Sydney in October to embark on an intensive 12 week campaign leading up to the event.

The team will be coached by Chris Lewin, who has skippered, another Challenge in 4 x Rolex Sydney Hobart’s.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Getting my head down

Today I was out sailing in some beautiful conditions: 27degrees and 15kts of wind. Sure a little more wind would have been nice, but they were definitely verging on champagne sailing conditions. Just beautiful!

Usually I start a blog saying that I’ve been super busy recently, but to be honest, these last few weeks I’ve been working pretty hard at university being a pretty normal student getting my head down and getting assignments in before the hand in date.

I’ve really been loving university, and recently I’ve been learning a huge amount about editing television programs. It’s not too technically difficult to slot the pieces of vision together, but it is difficult to work out how to fit everything together so that it flows immaculately. A skill I’m learning day by day.

I’m currently out in Australia having some fun and working on putting a few things in place here and there.

Excitingly, there will be a big announcement on Thursday the 10th regarding another project that I’ll be taking part in later this year. It’s something totally new and, totally separate to Flying Around the World which is still definitely going ahead, but now most likely to be during late summer 2012 due to me running out of time to fly this year!


Saturday, 12 February 2011

Passports and Yacht Clubs

Yesterday was a big day, and a very productive day too which I do like. It all started at 6am to head into London for a new passport. I was using the one day service so there was no way of getting around the 4hour wait to get a new one. I visited one café, was served by the most useless waitress (sorry!). To put it in perspective, it took half an hour for her to serve up some toast. And the café was quiet! But this suited me fine as I was actually on a campaign to kill time. I also later visited another two cafes to pass the time as well as read half a book!

I finally picked up my passport and then headed off into another part of London to have a meeting. After this I promptly headed home and immediately jumped in the car to drive down to Southampton and onto Portsmouth.

I was in Portsmouth as last night I had the pleasure of being invited to speak at the Royal Naval Club and Royal Albert Yacht Club. After arriving it was lovely to be greeted by such a nice bunch of people and it was fascinating to have a tour around the club. Some of the very very old pieces of history in there are absolutely incredible.

We soon sat down for a lovely dinner and after this I began to speak. I do love being 18 and speaking to a group of let’s say ‘the slightly older generation’ as I can get away with a lot and it’s a good laugh!

The talk went really well and I was chuffed and had a good feeling at the end. I can always tell if it’s been a ‘good one’ and this certainly was.

Tomorrow I’m off for a little sailing in the Solent which should be good fun and also in a couple of weeks I’m off abroad somewhere exotic which shall be very fun!


Thursday, 27 January 2011

Dusseldorf boat show

I’m back at university now down on the coast and seeing as I have no lectures on a Thursday, I thought it was appropriate to have a nice little lie in this morning. Don’t be fooled though, I do have a very busy afternoon doing all those odds and sods that I never really get around to doing.

I spent the weekend out in Germany having a look around the Dusseldorf boat show which was really great fun. I have never been to this show, and it was pretty exciting to see. Wow is it huge though!! After walking though the front doors, it felt like ages until I actually found some decent boats to eye up. I had a good look over some of the newly released boats which were interesting to see. So many manufacturers are trying out loads of different things in an attempt to simply be different to the others. Without naming any names, I did have a long look over my dream cruising boat which for a few years I have loved to pieces. Sturdy, prudent and loads of beautiful teak, wow she was a beauty!

I’ve had a really interesting last two weeks and lots has been changing and progressing at quite an astounding rate I’m pleased to report. Fingers crossed that I’ll have some exciting news to announce pretty soon.


Saturday, 15 January 2011


I know, I know, I know..!!! I should have definately updated this by now!

For your info, I do also have a Facebook Page which I do update very regularly with short updates.

The link is   Pretty easy to remember!

And also, remember to 'Like' the page too please!

I shall do a more detailed blog in due course.