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Posted by on Aug 28, 2009 in Excursions, Sailing | 0 comments

What’d you do over summer break?

LONDON (Reuters) – A 17-year-old Briton became the youngest person to sail round the globe single-handed on Thursday after nine months at sea.

Mike Perham suffered knockdowns and damage to his yacht during the 24,000-mile (38,700-km) trip and the teenager from Hertfordshire, southern England, said he was now looking forward to a “good meal and a very good night’s sleep.”

Fewer than 250 people have sailed solo around the globe, but his record is already in jeopardy if a 13-year-old Dutch girl persuades a court to allow her to set sail.

Perham, who started sailing aged seven, was the youngest person to sail across the Atlantic Ocean, aged 14, in 2007.

Perham crossed the start line for his round-the-world trip between Ushant, northern France, and Lizard Point, southern England, on November 18 last year as a 16-year-old and celebrated his 17th birthday in the southern Indian Ocean.

Early on, he suffered technical problems with his Open 50 yacht,, and was forced to seek repairs at various ports, including in Portugal, Gran Canaria, Cape Town, Tasmania and Auckland.

Because of that, Guinness World Records categorized his record as “assisted.”

“The low points are when things go wrong unexpectedly and it is down to you to fix it, because that’s not getting you nearer to home, that’s only getting you further away,” he told BBC television by phone.

He had to deal with his genoa sail ripping from top to bottom and swimming under the boat’s hull to cut free a jammed spinnaker sheet.

Poor weather and the onset of winter forced him to go through the Panama Canal rather than sail around Cape Horn, on the southerly tip of South America.

Perham said he never doubted he would complete the trip, but he did have moments when he questioned what he was doing.

“But you push on and you handle it,” he told the BBC.

“I knew exactly what I was letting myself in for in terms of being on my own, but it’s definitely the hardest bit of the trip being on your own because there is nobody to help you and you do miss the physical contact.”

The previous youngest to complete a similar voyage was American Zac Sunderland last month, but his effort is not recognized by Guinness World Records.

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Posted by on Jul 24, 2009 in Excursions, Technology | 0 comments

There goes the neighborhood…


As the 40th-anniversary celebrations of the moon landing end, a human voyage to Mars remains a holy grail for NASA.

“We’re still looking at human exploration of Mars as one of the goals of the future at the top level,” said NASA researcher Bret Drake with Lunar and Mars Integration at Johnson Space Center in Houston. “Having a human actually set foot on another planet would be one of the greatest adventures possible, one of the greatest monuments to history.”

A crewed mission to the red planet is a daunting challenge that lies at the edge of current technological capabilities and possibly beyond. Still, NASA keeps a strategy to go there and constantly keeps up to date with new ideas.

“Mars is one of those targets of fascination that has been around a long time,” Drake said.

Full article.

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Posted by on Jul 7, 2009 in Excursions, Media, Tomfoolery | 0 comments

NYC Debrief – Part 1

I’m putting together a full debrief of the Fox and Friends interview and the shenanigans that surrounded it.  However, I’m buried in work, and the full story will have to wait for now.

Until then, a few photos:

Toy soldier riding a skunk.  Skunk's wearing a tiara.  WTF.

Toy soldier riding a skunk. Skunk's wearing a tiara. WTF.

Christy and some random dude outside our old apartment.

Christy and some random dude outside our old apartment.

My former office at Columbus Circle

My former office at Columbus Circle

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Posted by on May 9, 2009 in Excursions, Military | 0 comments

‘Disabled’? Uh, no.

A disabled British serviceman on crutches realized his dream of completing the London Marathon — 13 days after the race began.

A delighted Major Phil Packer told Sky News: “It’s been amazing. I’ve had fantastic support.”

The 36-year-old lost the use of his legs during a rocket attack in Iraq last February and was told he would never walk again.

But he defied predictions to make the start of the 26-mile racein Greenwich on April 26.

Having achieved his target of two miles a day he crossed the finish line in The Mall early Saturday afternoon.

There to greet him and present him with his medal was Olympic rowing legend Sir Steven Redgrave.

Major Packer is hoping to raise $1.5 million for soldiers’ charity Help For Heroes. He has already received pledges of more than $900,000.

The soldier, who has also served in Bosnia, Kosovo and Northern Ireland, has already undertaken a series of sporting challenges including rowing across the English Channel.

He said: “Like the other thousands of fundraisers who support Help for Heroes, I have reasons for feeling so passionate about this charity.

“While in hospital I really needed something to pull me through some very dark and lonely days — Help for Heroes has done this and really helped me cope with what has happened.”

[Source: Sky News]

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Posted by on Feb 23, 2009 in Excursions, Gunkholing | 0 comments

Kidney beans again?!

A British couple was rescued from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean by an Italian tanker after spending 40 days lost at sea.

Stuart Armstrong, 51, and his partner Andrea Davison, 48, are heading back to Britain on board the supertanker Indian Point.
Although unhurt, they were tired, exhausted and grateful to be returning home after their six-week ordeal in which they “stared death in the face.”

The drama began on Jan. 9, six days after the couple left the Cape Verde Islands off the West Coast of Africa on board their yacht Sara.
They were headed for Antigua where they intended to anchor until April. But, midway through the 2,550-mile journey disaster struck and the rudder on the yacht jammed to starboard. Attempts to fix it were useless. At this stage the couple, who live on the yacht in Majorca, were in the middle of the Atlantic, 1,200 miles from Antigua, five days sailing time away and out of range for any rescue attempt. “In effect we were sailing round and round in circles as the rudder was stuck all the way over,” Armstrong said, speaking from the Indian Point. “We tried to counteract this by putting droves over the side to try and help point the boat towards land but we didn’t really have any great success.”

“At first we were not too bothered as we had a good supply of dry provisions, the usual things you have on a boat – pasta, kidney beans, biscuits, rice and soya. There was also plenty of water to keep us going, the radio was still working and we had power so there was no need to be too worried.” He continued, “I have crossed the Atlantic seven times and this was Andrea’s fourth so we are pretty experienced and for the first few days it was a challenge and a bit of an adventure.”

“We alerted the coastguards in Britain and America and we also let our families know. I spent a good few days trying to fix the rudder as well but I just didn’t have any luck.”

Their first problem was around 10 days or so later when the alternator broke which meant they had no power. “All that we had was a small solar panel which gave us enough to fire up the satellite phone but we had to ration it,” he said. “The loss of the alternator also meant that we could not use the desalination unit which turns sea water into drinking water so we also had to start rationing that as well.” The American Coast Guard monitored their position but because of their remote location a rescue attempt was impossible and the couple simply carried on drifting with the current pushing them slowly towards the Caribbean.

During their weeks at sea the couple’s yacht was battered by storms but they managed to escape unscathed. However, as they neared the Bermuda triangle after more than a month at sea conditions began to worsen. The reduced electrical power meant that Armstrong could only talk to his daughter once or twice a week and it was the same for Davison and her two children. “At first they were OK with our situation because they know Stuart is a good sailor but I think as time moved on they started to get more concerned and so did I,” said Davison. “We kept getting hit by storms but we managed to get out of them with no real problems. But I knew we were riding our luck and we wouldn’t be able to go on for much longer.”

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