‘Sip and Puff’ sailing teen Natasha ‘Miss isle’ Lambert “cannot wait to climb that mountain” having completed the 11th and penultimate leg of her Sea and Summit sailing challenge, back on the water after eight days' waiting for a weather window, sailing from Padstow, Cornwall to Appledore, Devon today (Friday 15 August).
Having set off on the previous leg from Newlyn as the sun rose, it was well and truly dusk as the 17-year-old, who has cerebral palsy and controls her boat by breathing through a straw in a specially-engineered bicycle helmet designed by her dad Gary, arrived into her second-to-last destination with just one final sail across the Bristol Challenge to Swansea to tackle before climbing Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons.
In what mum Amanda believes was probably the biggest seas she has ever sailed in - the fall out from Hurricane Bertha still making sailing challenging - Natasha spent nine hours on the water and was “shattered” when she finally came ashore shortly before 9pm.
But Amanda says her daughter was already talking about what’s left to come in her epic month-long challenge.
Amanda said: “There was a 2-3m swell out there and at times from the safety boat we could only see the top of her sails as we were in a trough and her at the top of a wave. We knew we were definitely still in Atlantic waters!
"I think what Tash experienced today has certainly prepared her for that final challenge into Swansea. We knew today wasn’t going to be easy, and even though we are so close to the end now, none of us could afford to become complacent, and it will be exactly the same, albeit with different challenges, going across the Bristol Channel to Wales.
“Just getting Tash into the boat this morning was a challenge we don’t normally have to face, as we had to transfer her from the RIB into the boat outside of the harbour and there was a lot surf out there. She was shattered when she got into Appledore but she’s already really excited about the next challenge. She cannot wait to get up that mountain!"
The sail to Swansea is provisionally scheduled for early next week, depending on weather and conditions, with a day for the Pen Y Fan climb to be confirmed shortly after.
Sea and Summit is Natasha’s biggest challenge yet, sailing her specially-designed 21ft yacht, Miss Isle Too, single-handed around the South West coast of England to Wales before she swaps her boat for her special walking aid, called a Hart Walker, to climb Pen y Fan, the highest peak in Southern Britain. In total she will sail around 430 miles and climb 2,907ft.
Last year she sailed across the English Channel, and in 2012, the 50-miles around the Isle of Wight.
Through the Sea and Summit challenge Natasha is raising money for the RNLI, the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust and the RYA Foundation, as well as the profile of sailing for people with disabilities. She has a target of £15,000 to raise by the end of her challenge.
Sailing has been Natasha’s big love since she first went on holiday with the Calvert Trust aged nine. She then started sailing at home and spent two years sailing with the Even Keel Project and her local RYA Sailability. RYA Sailability is the national programme providing people with disabilities opportunities to learn to sail and sail regularly.
How can I support Miss Isle?
Whether you want to send Natasha messages of support or would like to donate to her fundraising there are a number of ways to get involved:
Facebook: Miss Isle Community