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15-year-old in Atlantic sailing bid

LONDON, England -- A 15-year-old English boy has said he aims to be the youngest person to sail solo across the Atlantic after being dared by his mother to take the challenge.

Sebastian Clover, from the Isle of Wight in southern England, plans to race his father on a 2,700-mile (4,300-kilometre) voyage from the Canary Islands to Antigua in December.

Clover told The Associated Press: "I think age isn't the issue. I have got quite a lot of experience even though I am only 15.

"Really it's how much you know and your attitude towards sailing because it's a dangerous sport and if you don't have the right attitude you can get hurt."

Sebastian and his father Ian will each sail a 32-foot (11 meter) yacht solo.

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Ian Clover, a professional sailing instructor, said: "It was Seb's idea, he wanted to do a long distance passage and it was his mother who said the trans-Atlantic is the ultimate one to do and it all grew from there."

The 45-year-old said he would not let his son go if he did not believe he was equal to the challenge.

"He has been sailing all his life -- it's not about age, it's about ability and experience," Ian told the news agency.

Sebastian, who has passed the Yachtmaster Ocean Theory test, said being an only child would help him cope with the loneliness of the month-long voyage.

"I actually hope to be bored on the way across because that means nothing has gone wrong but I am sure I will have my moments," he said.

The father and son will be taking their 32-foot Contessa yachts, Xixia and Reflections down to the Canaries during the summer holidays to prepare for the race, which starts in December -- a month before Sebastian's 16th birthday.




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