‘Sip and puff’ sailing teen Natasha ‘Miss Isle’ Lambert is celebrating after arriving in Plymouth today (30 July 2014) marking the halfway point of her extraordinary Sea and Summit challenge.
The 17-year-old, who has cerebral palsy and controls her boat by breathing through a straw in a specially-engineered bicycle helmet, cruised 17 miles from Salcombe completing the sixth leg of the challenge’s scheduled 12 in perfect conditions.
It means Natasha has done approximately 150 miles of the 430 mile sailing challenge around Britain’s South West coast, 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.
Coach Phil Devereux believes the first six legs have just been a warm up as to what lies ahead.
He said: “We had an average breeze today and Natasha and the whole team are delighted to have reached the halfway point a day ahead of schedule.
“We will have a rest period in Plymouth/ However we all know Tash then starts venturing into the increasingly testing waters around the Cornish coastline.
“Over the next few weeks, Natasha will endure her longest sails to date, covering more miles and staying afloat longer than she’s done before. She will also be experiencing the thrills of sailing offshore for the first time without being able to see land. Of course she’s determined to remain focussed and is excited about the next part of the journey”.
Sea and Summit is Natasha’s biggest challenge yet. 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
To support Natasha's challenge visit www.missisle.com
For more information on getting involved in disability sailing visit www.rya.org.uk/sailability