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EDITIONS
 Sunday, 12 January, 2003, 17:41 GMT
Solo teenager sets Atlantic record
Dolores Clover hugs her son
Seb's mother Dolores flew to Antigua to greet him
A British schoolboy has won a place in the record books after becoming the youngest person to sail solo across the Atlantic.

Seb Clover sailed triumphantly into English Harbour, Antigua, at 1250 GMT on Sunday and said that ending the three-week voyage was "absolutely brilliant".

The 15-year-old, from Cowes on the Isle of Wight, arrived at the island in the early hours of the morning, but waited until daybreak to make his entrance.

A steel band serenaded him into port, where his parents and Sir James Carlisle, the Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda were among those waiting to greet him.

'Friendly people'

Seb who was narrowly beaten to the end of the 2,700-mile (4,345km) journey by his father Ian, who landed on Saturday, said there were no hard feelings.

When I ran out of chocolate I wasn't too pleased

Seb Clover

He told the BBC: "He doesn't walk away with the world record and I do."

The young yachtsman said: "The highlights were definitely seeing whales and dolphins... and especially reaching Antigua.

"There are so many friendly people here - it's incredible."

Seb said that there had been times when sailing alone across the Atlantic had been frightening, but that he had "still enjoyed every moment."

Describing his lowest point he said: "You can't have three meals a day on a boat - you run on snacks - so when I ran out of chocolate I wasn't too pleased."

The schoolboy said he was delighted to be back on dry land and with his family.

"They say in sailing that it's nice when it all stops and the longer the trip the better it is when it stops and this is absolutely brilliant," he added.

Broken rigging

Father and son set out on the voyage from Tenerife in identical yachts on 19 December.

During the race both were followed by killer whales and Seb struggled with broken rigging and spending Christmas alone.

Ian Clover
Ian Clover arrived in Antigua ahead of his son
Asked if it might be an anticlimax to return to school, he said: "It might be a bit dull but I think I'll be pleased to get back and see my friends."

He added: "The closest I've come is speaking to another single-handed yacht over the radio."

Seb, whose father teaches sailing and ocean navigation, has been training to smash the record since he was 12.

Ian Clover said he was full of admiration for his son, adding: "I cannot tell you how proud I am of him."

The pair sailed Contessa 32ft (9.8m) yachts, Seb's called Reflection and Ian's called Xixia.

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  The BBC's Emma Simpson
"The teenager seem unfazed by his transatlantic trip"
  The BBC's Rob Watson
"He's very much in the tradition of British explorers"
  Seb Clover, youngest transatlantic sailor
"The highlight was definitely seeing whales and dolphins"

Click here to go to Southampton
See also:

11 Jan 03 | England
06 Jan 03 | England
03 Jan 03 | England
24 Dec 02 | England
19 Dec 02 | England
12 Dec 02 | England
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