20-year-old Natasha, who has quadraplegic Cerebral Palsy, controls her 21ft sailboat simply by breathing through a straw and walks using a customised walking brace and frame.
The 2017 Sea and Summit challenge saw Natasha sail her boat ‘Miss Isle’ across the North Channel of the Irish Sea from Portpatrick in Scotland to Carrick Fergus, Belfast before continuing down the East Coast of Ireland, encountering strong winds and torrential rain. She finally sailed into Dublin, where she exchanged her boat for her walking aid and climbed 5 miles to the summit of Mount Kippure, in the Wicklow Mountains, which was swathed in mist and clouds.
Along the way Natasha exhibited her boat to several sailing groups and yacht clubs demonstrating the technology she uses to achieve these amazing feats.
Natasha’s Mum, Amanda, took the opportunity to be a passenger on one of the sailing legs and commented:
“I am in awe of Natasha’s courage and skill to control this small boat in some very arduous conditions. Her determination and perseverance makes me so very proud”.
Throughout this challenge Natasha has fundraised for the RNLI and a charity created by herself to help others with similar needs – The MissIsle School of Sip-puff Sailing.
Natasha takes on these challenges to demonstrate that despite disability great things are possible and is already planning for next year.