INSPIRATIONAL sailor Natasha Lambert arrived in Portland after completing the second leg of an amazing 430-mile challenge.
The 17-year-old, who has cerebral palsy and no use of her hands, is sailing around the south west coast using only her mouth to operate a specially-designed yacht.
The 21-ft pink and black vessel, Miss Isle, is kitted out with a ‘sip and puff mechanism’ mounted inside a cycling helmet, designed and developed by her electrician dad Gary.
Natasha, who is being accompanied on the yacht by her family and her coach Phil Devereux, was welcomed to the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy yesterday by sailors from Chesil Sailability, a group which provides opportunities for disabled people.
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After sailing the coast from England to Wales, Natasha will swap her yacht for a special walking aid to climb the highest peak in southern Britain – Pen y Fan in the Breacon Beacons.
Natasha, who lives on the Isle of Wight, departed from her first stop at Poole yesterday and is now about 60 miles into the epic journey.
The teenager, who is tackling the challenge to raise money for the RNLI, the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust and the Royal Yachting Association Foundation, will eventually sail 430-miles and climb 2,907ft during the challenge.
“I’m really enjoying it, but I want to go faster,” said Natasha.
“I’m looking forward to getting to the mountain and I already have an idea for the next one.”
Liz De Iongh, co-ordinator at Chesil Sailability said: “It’s really inspiring to see Natasha doing this challenge and showing everyone what she can do.”
Natasha’s dad, Gary, said: “It’s going very well so far.
“I think the only problem we’ve had really is the heat.
“It feels good to have two legs of the journey under our belt and it will be easier as it becomes more familiar.
“I think the plan for this evening is to get Natasha on the walker, go for a walk, get some food and then off to bed. And then we will see if we’re ready to sail on to Exmouth tomorrow.”
Her proud mum, Amanda, said: “To see Tash out there enjoying her sailing is what this whole challenge is about.
“It will be fantastic to stand on top of that mountain, look around and think how far Natasha’s actually come, both on this journey but through her life as well.”
To find out more about Natasha’s inspirational story, or to donate visit missisle.com
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