Cutting Edge: The Schoolboy Who Sailed The World

I had a quiet Friday night in last night, after a very long and testing day at work,  which gave me opportunity to catch up with some telly that I’d recorded on my PVR.

One of the things that I’d recorded by chance was ‘Cutting Edge: The Schoolboy Who Sailed The World’ – the trailer looked interesting, and I do like the Cutting Edge documentaries that go out on Channel Four – they always feature truly remarkable people.

Thus as you’d expect, this chap, Michael Perham, turned out to be no different – a truly inspirational individual with a magnificent story!


I have to admit to being quite ignorant of the story when it was originally in the print media – it’s not really the sort of thing that I am interested in when skimming the news. I am really pleased that I watched the docu as it turned out to be something that I found thoroughly fascinating! By not knowing the outcome already, as most people probably already did, I found it especially gripping.

Essentially, Michael Perham wanted to be the youngest person to sail around the World, unaided. He started his voyage when he was just 16. The documentary follows him on this journey, and tells his remarkable story.

At the age of 24, I am astounded by what he has accomplished. I’ve always thought myself a fairly mature individual, even when I was 16, but I can see now that my maturity back then (and even now!) was nothing compared to this chap’s! The drive and determination he had to complete this feat was absolutely inspirational.


The documentary’s main success, in my opinion, is how well Perham’s personality came across. You had moments of jubilation, such as when he sees the whales, against moments where you can see the fear in his face and the upset he’s feeling. Most of the time, you just want to reach out to him and shout at the TV that you’re really rooting for him and that you’re behind him 100%, despite only ‘knowing’ him for 100 minutes! Without wanting to sound in any way patronising, I think that part of that is the fact that he was comparitively so young and was clearly having to mature very quickly to deal with certain situations that even grown men seemed afraid of. I’m not afraid to admit that I had a tear in my eye at many stages of the programme, and was remarkably jubilant and upbeat by the success he earnt and seeing those end stages of the journey.

My only criticism of the documentary would be the ‘professionals’ who seemed to pour scorn on everything. I am sure that they were there to add dramatic tension and a bit of context to the story, but I found them a little condescending and unsupportive if I am honest. It may have just been the way that the story was edited, but it did come across as a little malicious at times.

If you’ve not had chance to watch this yet, I really really recommend that you do; this has to be one of the best ‘human’ documentaries that I have seen. It should be on Channel Four’s “4OD” service for a little while yet.

Anybody else who saw it, any comments to add?

Here’s a few links my readers may be interested in:

Schoolboy Who Sailed The World

About Gari

Northern lad; living out in the Peak District and rediscovering life after having had a brain tumour.

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