Brave Katie aims to be youngest to sail solo round British Isles
- Credit: Katie Mccabe
Despite the past few weeks' inclement weather, young Topsham sailor Katie Mccabe is aiming to become the youngest person to single-handedly sail around Britain.
The 14-year-old set off from Exmouth last month and is planning to complete her epic trip in time for the new school year starting in September.
She is hoping to beat the record set by 15-year-old Timothy Long in October 2020.
Following close behind her on the 1,600 nautical mile anticlockwise voyage is her boat builder father David who needs to be within a five-mile range of his daughter for insurance reasons.
Speaking to the Journal on her 26-foot wooden vessel called Falanda, Katie said her original goal was to sail across the Atlantic.
“My parents were against that idea so I opted to take on this challenge instead but hopefully I’ll be able to try that one day,” she added.
Katie, who goes to Isca School in Exeter, is at the helm for between eight and 15 hours a day.
“It’s all very unpredictable, which is part of the fun,” she said. “The time I spend sailing is dictated by the distance between ports and the wind so some days are much longer than others.
“So far the trip has been, thankfully, relatively uneventful although I was invaded by a swarm of hoverflies out at sea at one point.”
Katie also missed the England final against Italy due to the fact there is no TV on board and she needed to get an early night ahead of a 2.30am start the following day.
Meal times are basic affairs with pasta or a Pot Noodle prepared on a single ring stove on board being her main means of sustenance.
She is charting her progress on facebook and posting regular photographs. You can follow her by visiting https://www.facebook.com/falanda.sailing/.
Katie began her boating career before she was born.
Her parents flew back to Britain for her birth during a four-year honeymoon, returning to their boat in the Caribbean a fortnight later.
Katie is raising money for two ocean pollution charities during her voyage.
The first charity is Sea Shepherd UK, whose mission is to stop illegal fishing, and clear the ocean of ghost nets (commercial fishing nets that have been lost, abandoned, or discarded at sea).
Her second is Lonely Whale, an American-based charity, which is trying to eliminate ocean-bound plastics.
Katie has also set up a Just Giving page which can be found at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/falanda-roundbritain
Back at home with her parents is Katie’s brother Reuben, 11. We asked if he was impressed with her efforts?
“Not really,” said Katie. “He’s pretty underwhelmed by the whole thing,” she laughed.