The Story So Far....

Calvert's Trust Sailing

My first sailing experience was at the Calvert Trust when I was 9. We sailed on a lake in Keilder, NE England; I was a passenger. I loved being on the water. After holidaying at other Calvert Trust Centres, Mum and Dad looked into sailing closer to home. After all we live in one of the biggest sailing centres on the South Coast of Britain.

Sailing with Even KeelBack home I started sailing with The Even Keel Project based at the UKSA and also sailed with our local RYA Sailability club for two years sailing in Artemis 20s. Although these keelboats were accessible to most people with disabilities, with their canting seats and hand controls, I was still a passenger as I cant use my hands, but by now I was desperate to sail myself!

Natasha sailing a Model BoatMum and Dad bought me a Micro Magic model yacht for my Birthday and Dr Mike Heath from Dream Racer converted it for me to be able to control in by my mouth with a sip/puff system. It worked!! I could sail a model boat!! If I could sail a model boat... next step ....the real thing!!

Dad, an electrician, set to work learning another language... coding, and spent weeks and weeks in a shed
and on a computer, eventually making a system for me to control a boat by a single straw. We bought a second hand Artemis 20 in 2010 and 6 months later, off I went sailing...I had control!! I could helm myself.!

Natasha using the Sip and Puff sailing control System

During 2010 and 2011 I sailed Miss Isle my Artemis 20, it was fab controlling the helm... but I wanted more! I wanted to control the sails too. My boat was a bit tight for space to have any more electronics on, plus I wanted to sail further afield. We purchased a Mini Transat and with the help of Artemis Investments we converted Miss Isle Too for me. The boat was completed in August 2012. I now have full control, helm and sails. Yippee; I'm free!!!!

Since then I have carried out four big challenges, sailing round the Isle of Wight in 2012 (read more), crossing the channel from France to England in 2013 (read more), sailing from the Isle of Wight to South Wales and climbing a mountain (read more), and sailing from Cowes right into the heart of the City of London (read more) to fundraise for the new charity I am setting up.