British sailor Natasha Lambert, 16, was born with atheroid cerebral palsy, which affects her limbs and confines her to a wheelchair. Today at the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show (Saturday 01 March 2014) she officially unveiled her incredible 2014 sailing challenge: ‘Sea and Summit’.
Natasha Lambert in the boat she used to cross the English Channel
On the 24th July, Natasha will sail from her hometown of Cowes, Isle of Wight, to embark on a month-long challenge sailing her 21ft Mini Transat, Miss Isle Too, single-handed down the South West coast of England to Wales. Natasha does not have use of her hands and sails her yacht using her mouth to operate a ‘sip and puff’ mechanism that was engineered by her father and is based on a straw mounted inside a cycling helmet.
Sea and Summit at the RYA Dinghy Show
Having completed the sailing part, Natasha will then swap her boat for her special walking aid, called a Hart Walker and will climb Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons, the highest peak in Britain south of the Snowdonia mountain range.
Accompanied by her coach Phil Devereux, the Sea and Summit challenge will see Natasha sail 430 miles and climb 2,907ft whilst 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.
This will not be Natasha’s fist challenge. Last year, her sense for adventure inspired her to sail across the English Channel from Boulogne to Dover, a voyage which she completed in just four hours. In 2012 she conquered her first challenge sailing around the Isle of Wight.
Her father Gary said: 'We’re all really excited to officially launch Sea and Summit. It’s going to be Natasha’s hardest challenge yet but she’s determined to do it. Natasha can’t walk across the room unaided and to think she is planning to sail over 400 miles and then climb to the top of a mountain is just incredible. For Tash sailing means freedom, control and being able to do the things that maybe she isn’t able to do when she’s not sailing.'
Natasha started sailing through RYA Sailability which supports opportunities for people with a disability to experience sailing and to sail more regularly.
To find out more information about Natasha Lambert and to sponsor her challenge visit Miss Isle.