'Sip and Puff’ sailing teen Natasha 'Miss isle' Lambert will enjoy a well earned rest day on Sunday after completing the longest leg of her Sea and Summit Challenge so far into Exmouth on Saturday (26 July).
Having asked the weather gods for more breeze following light opening days, the 17-year-old, who has cerebral palsy and controls her boat by breathing through a straw in a specially-engineered bicycle helmet, got her wish as she completed the 44 miles from Portland, across Lyme Bay and over the border into South Devon in a scheduled 8.5 hours.
Once again she was escorted into port by a welcoming flotilla from Exmouth RNLI and Exe Sailing Club's Sailability group.
Natasha's next stop is Dartmouth, 18 miles along the coast, but before that she and her family and support team, including mum Amanda, dad Gary and little sister, Rachel, are set to enjoy a visit to Exmouth RNLI, including seeing the station's pioneering Shannon class lifeboat, which they took ownership of in April.
Phil Devereux, Natasha's coach, said: “This leg was better than expected, it was cooler on the water and there was a breeze to sail in. From tomorrow there’s more breeze forecast, so Tash will get her wish to go faster! Overall we’re going very well, and technically we’re now ahead of schedule and will take our rest day in Exmouth tomorrow before leaving for Dartmouth."
Mum Amanda added: "It’s a lot further across Lyme Bay than I thought, but the Jurassic Coast scenery is stunning. Any 17 year-old would be lucky to have this opportunity, but for someone with the magnitude of Natasha’s disability it’s incredible. She prefers it to be more challenging, she has to work harder then, and feels more in control."
Sea and Summit is Natasha’s biggest challenge yet - a month-long project sailing her specially-designed 21ft yacht, Miss Isle Too, single-handed around the South West coast of England to Wales. She will then swap her boat for her special Hart Walker to climb Pen y Fan, the highest peak in Southern Britain.
Through the Sea and Summit challenge Natasha will sail 430 miles and climb 2,907ft to raise money for the RNLI, the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust and the RYA Foundation, as well as the profile of sailing for people with disabilities.
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.
Last year she sailed across the English Channel, and in 2012, the 50-miles around the Isle of Wight.
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