Back in my day any self-respecting teenager would be out getting pissed* on Specila Brew**, living off chili kebabs, looking for any opportunity of a snog**, worrying about acne or listening to the dulce tones of the Stranglers, The Jam or the anthem of my youth, Teenage Kicks by the Undertones. Ah those halcion days!
What does the youth of the day do? Sail around the world! I ask you.
First there was that young Zac Sunderland. Bloody troublemaker. Youngest person to sail round the world, doing a circumnavigation in an old Topper modified in his Dad's garage for blue water sailing.Then some English teenager, Mike Perham, whose birthday was a bit later in the year than Zac saved his pocket money, did the paper round for a few years and cashed in his savings bonds to buy an Open 70 or something like that. Then about half an hour after young Zac has made it round the world, Mike completes his first circumnavigation. Zac must have been peeved.
Next thing we hear about is that two Dutch parents, fresh from a Sunsail vacation, are being prosecuted by the International Court of Human Rights for allowing their 13 year old daughter to announce that she wants to sail around the world. Hey, she completed her RYA, parts 1, 2 and 3 in a week.
Now we hear that Jessica Watson a 16 year old Australian is being dissuaded from doing a circumnavigation when all she did was give a 63,000 tonne a freighter a glancing blow. It's not like it felt anything. Come on Australia, where's your sense of adventure.
OK, all joking aside, I was fine with all of this but I started to wonder when I heard about Mike Perham's latest adventure. He has signed up to sail on the Bountyboat.
What's the Bounty Boat? Well if you are too lazy to click on the link above I will tell you. The Bounty Boat is the adventure of salty, bearded looking Tasmanian, Don McIntyre who looks like he could handle himself in a typhoon. Don has decided to retrace the famous voyage when Bligh and 17 other unfortunate crew-mates were cast adrift by Fletcher Christian during the mutiny on the Bounty. Let me tell you, that was no week long cruise in the BVI. Here is the gist of it:
April 28, 2010 Marks the 221st anniversary of the Mutiny on the Bounty, when Fletcher Christian cast William Bligh and 18 of his men adrift in a 23ft open boat, which marked the beginning of one of the greatest open boat voyages in maritime history. During the following seven weeks, Bligh and his men sailed over 3,700 nautical miles, in an overloaded boat, with little food or water and no charts, from Tonga to Kupang in Timor.
Personally I think it's crazy enough that he is planning to reenact the voyage but taking a teenager too... Is this wise? OK Mike Perham is already probably a tougher, more experienced than most of us will ever be but it makes me wonder if things have gone a little far.
*English version of the term, i.e. drunk
** you will have to look this up