Perham's next challenge

World's youngest circumnavigator signs up for the Bounty Boat Expedition

Tuesday September 8th 2009, Author: Barry Pickthall, Location: United Kingdom
Australian adventurer and solo round the world sailor, Don McIntyre announced today that Mike Perham, the world's youngest solo circumnavigator, has signed up as Second-in-command for the 2010 Bounty Boat Expedition. This is a 4,000-mile re-enactment 221 years after Capt William Bligh and his supporting crew were forced into an open-boat by the mutineering crew on HMS Bounty and successfully sailed from Tonga to Timor in the Pacific.

McIntyre and Perham will face the same deprivations, with little food, no charts or toilet paper and only the limited navigation implements that were available to Bligh.

The search is now on for two extra crew to join this expedition, which has a serious scientific purpose, as well as raise money for MND research. This opportunity of a lifetime to re-create history will cost each individual £10,000 to participate. Only those with an extreme sense of adventure need apply.

The Route

McIntyre and Perham: will follow in the footsteps of Capt. William Bligh when cast adrift from HMS Bounty in the Pacific on April 28, 1789. This McIntyre and his 3-man crew will board their 25ft Bounty Boat in the same position exactly 221 years to the day of the Bounty Mutiny and follow in the footsteps of Bligh. They will first sail to Tonga to find extra food and water, before heading westwards across the top of Fiji and the Vanuatu Island groups, bound for the Queensland Coast, Australia to land, like Bligh, on Restoration Island. They will then sail north inside the Great Barrier Reef to Thursday Island, and then through the Torres Strait to Kupang and Timor.

If successful, this will be the first time that anyone has sailed the same course in the same way that Bligh did. Previous attempts in 1983 and 1990 both used almanacs and charts for navigation, torches, modern timepieces, and also made unscheduled stopovers, did not follow the same route or were escorted part of the way. McIntyre and Perham will have no charts, no almanacs, modern timepieces or navigation equipment, torches, or toilet paper.

A GPS tracking system: locked away from the crew, will track McIntyre and Perham’s every two hours for the outside world to follow. The only other concession to the 21st Century will be a liferaft and other essential safety equipment, together with a satellite computer link for the 4-man crew to send daily blogs, photos and audio clips to tell their story and for psychologists and oceanographic scientists to monitor their progress and findings.

The original mutiny

April 28, 1789: Fletcher Christian led a mutiny on HMS Bounty then set sail for Pitcairn Island. Bligh and 18 men are abandoned in a longboat with just 150lb (68kg) of ships biscuits, 16 x 2lb (0.9kg pieces of pork, 6 quarts (5.6l) of rum, 6 bottles of wine and 28 gallons (127l) of water. Their overcrowded boat had just 8-inches (0.2m) of freeboard. They set sail for Tofua - one day away.

Sunday May 3: Land on Tofua - one man killed by natives. Bligh sailed away and headed for Fiji.
May 7: Bligh sailed through Fiji Islands chased by hostile natives in canoes so could not stop.
May 14: Bligh passed through the New Hebrides Island, but fearing attack, decided not to stop. Bligh and his crew continue across the storm-tossed Coral Sea bailing to stay afloat 24 hours a day, and desperately short of food and water.
May 28: First sight of New Holland and the Great Barrier Reef. Next day, after 26 days at sea, they land on Restoration Island half dead. Bligh and his crew gorge on oysters, berries, birds and fish.
June 12: Timor is sighted and 2-days later, the Bligh crew land on Kupang, 48 days and 4000 miles after the mutiny. Their ordeal becomes one of the greatest open boat voyages in maritime history.

The gear that McIntyre and crew will rely on

Navigation equipment:
18th century octant and sextant, two 18th century pocket watches, nautical tables, boat compass, telescope, rope knot meter, lead line, ink pens and ink, note books, log book, magnifying glass. No charts allowed, no modern watches, no nautical almanac, and no compass light.

Clothing and personal kit - each crew:
Sun hat, warm hat, expedition shirt, expedition long pants, tough shorts, thermal top, thermal pants, waterproof shoes, Gore-tex weather jacket and pants, sheep skin, inflatable life-jacket/ safety harness with knife torch and strobe, 406-GPS POB.
No torches, no iPod no books

Bounty Boat will set off with the same weight of food and water that Bligh had when he was cast adrift from the Bounty.

Bounty Boat details
Construction: Traditional lap strake/clinker
Length overall: 25ft (7.62m)
Beam 6.3ft (1.92m)
Load displacement with 4 crew: 1.6 Tonnes
Visit the Bounty Boat at the Southampton Boat Show

The Bounty Boat will be a special feature at the Southampton Boat Show (September 11-20). Don McIntyre and the Bounty Boat team will be on hand to answer all your questions - Why not pop down and visit them?

SIF - Sheffield Institute Foundation

The Bounty Boat Expedition will raise money and awareness of research into Motor Neurone Disease (MND) pioneered by the Sheffield Institute Foundation. SIF has been working tirelessly over the last few years to raise funds needed to build the Sheffield Institute of Translational Neurosciences (SITraN), and finance it for the first 5 years. It will be the first of its kind in the World, and will continue to grow and develop in to a pioneering Institute attracting first class scientists and professors from around the World, such as Professor Pam Shaw.

About MND

Motor Neurone Disease is the name given to the group of diseases, which are caused by the death of motor neurones. These are the nerve cells that link our brain to our muscles, sending electrical impulses to control muscle movements. Also known in some countries as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease, MND is a fatal condition with no cure and virtually no form of treatment. From diagnosis, sufferers live on average for only two years and only about 10% of sufferers live beyond five years.

MND attacks and destroys motor neurones, disrupting these vital links within the body; without the stimulus of electrical impulses, the muscles cease to function and waste away. Eventually this muscular atrophy leads to a complete loss of mobility, speech and the ability to swallow; death typically comes from paralysis of the breathing muscles. MND is devastating, usually leaving the sufferer with full retention of their mental faculties but trapped in a living hell. This is compounded by the speed at which the disease takes hold, giving little opportunity for clinicians to help patients and their families adjust to the condition. For these reasons many doctors regard MND as the worst disease known to medicine.

We now have a chance to play an important role in changing this future. The creation of the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience will establish the world's first stand-alone institution dedicated to fighting MND. By supporting this expedition in aid of SITraN, donors will not only be giving us much needed encouragement, but make a vital difference in helping to achieve a major leap forward in bringing an end to the devastation caused by MND.

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