Natasha Lambert, who has been named Young Sailor of the Year.
A 16 YEAR OLD with cerebral palsy has been named the Yachting Journalists’ Association (YJA) Young Sailor of the Year after she completed a remarkable cross-Channel voyage alone in July.
Natasha Lambert, of Northwood, managed it in a specially-adapted boat that allowed her to sail by blowing through a straw.
Her exploits last year saw her given the award at an event at Trinity House in London last Thursday.
Natasha sailed from Boulogne to Dover in July, raising thousands of pounds for Cowes RNLI, the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust and Wetwheels Solent.
Natasha controls her specially adapted boat, the Mini Transat class yacht, Miss Isle Too, with a 'sip and puff’ system designed by her father.
Through sailing, she said she is able to take an active part in the community and achieve her dreams.
Natasha’s mother, Amanda, said: "Natasha is absolutely thrilled — she keeps saying 'I can’t believe I won’.
"The other candidates — Milo Gill Taylor, a top British Optimist sailor and Keiron Martin, a youth world champion windsurfer — are such amazing sailors, she didn’t think she would ever win."
Natasha, who has raised £24,000 for local charities, is now planning her summer challenge, which will involve her sailing her boat even further afield and climbing a mountain, all in aid of charity.
This year’s awards were backed by Cowes entrepreneur and keen sailor, Nick Davis, chief executive of Apollo Boats.
The winners were nominated by the public and elected by the votes of the YJA.