If successful, Katie could take the mantle from Timothy Long of being the youngest person to sail solo around Britain
Fourteen-year-old Katie McCabe is sailing single-handed around Britain anticlockwise on her 26ft Morgan Giles.
The teenager departed from the River Exe, on 30 June, followed by her dad David in his 33ft yawl, however, she is doing all of the chartwork and navigation herself.
Challenges so far have included battling leaks on board, negotiating the busy port of Dover, negotiating locks at Eastbourne and Harwich, fog, early starts in darkness, a small blow off Selsey Bill and choppy seas.
The route will take Katie and her wooden yacht Falanda up the east coast into Scotland, through the Caledonian Canal, back down the west coast, to the Isle of Man, Wales, around Lands’ End, past the Isles of Scilly, returning to the Exe around the end of August.
If successful, Katie could take the mantle from Timothy Long of being the youngest person to sail solo around Britain.
The teenager, who grew up on boats, found her project boat Falanda in 2019 and restored her, with the help of dad David, who is a wooden boat builder.
Last Summer, Katie sailed Falanda to the Isles of Scilly and back, around 400 miles, with her family sailing nearby in the yawl Amaryllis.
Mum Hazel and brother Reuben, aged 10, will be chasing the round-Britain voyagers in a campervan, once the school term finishes on 23 July, and expect to catch up with them in Scotland.
While ISAC academy pupil Katie could not be granted official permission to finish school four weeks early, headteacher Aimee Mitchell said that students were supported and encouraged to engage in activities that enrich their experiences and skills.
She added: ‘We are so incredibly proud of what Katie is doing.’
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Big learning curve
Speaking the week before departure, Katie said: ‘I’ve been doing passage planning most nights.
‘I didn’t realise how many wind farms there were, or how many drying harbours there are up the East Coast.
‘Last summer I sailed to the Isles of Scilly, about 400 miles there and back, single-handed, with my dad sailing nearby in his boat.
‘It’s just nice to be alone sometimes and to sail without having to rely on an engine.
‘I’m looking forward to seeing more of Great Britain, Scotland sounds really nice.’
Katie met record-breaker Timothy Long last summer in Torquay, before he finished his circumnavigation in 28ft Hunter Impala, Alchemy, aged 15 at the time – beating Tom Webb’s record of sailing around Britain aged 17 in 2011.
Katie, who saved for her own wooden sailing boat by doing odd jobs and selling painted shells and hair wraps on a stall at Topsham Quay, added: ‘About two years ago I thought of it and when I looked into it a bit more last year I heard about Timothy Long.
‘I got in touch with him, we met up and it was the first time I realised there was a record for being the youngest person.’
Katie has already raised more than £5,000 for marine wildlife conservation charity Sea Shepherd UK: justgiving.com/fundraising/falanda-roundbritain
The teenager, who is providing regular updates about her adventure, is also hoping to raise awareness for the Lonely Whale, which encourages big businesses to use recycled plastic in their products, and which has an Ocean Heroes global youth movement.
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