While most 14-year-olds enjoy their summer vacation relaxing and enjoying some free time, Topsham’s Katie Mccabe has spent the last few weeks sailing a wooden boat around the Great -Brittany.
Despite the enormous task hampered by this year’s inclement weather and harsh conditions at sea, the teenager is well on his way to becoming the youngest person to tour Britain on his own.
She hopes to complete her epic journey next week, breaking the record set by 15-year-old Timothy Long in October 2020.
Katie is jumping from port to port, but a recent stop off the Scottish coast proved particularly difficult.
Speaking to the Journal on her 26ft ship called Falanda, she said: “When I left Port Ellen on August 1 there was absolutely no wind so we had to drive for the first two hours. , until the famous Mull of Kintyre, when he began to take.
“We had a nice sail, downwind, but the wind picked up and the wind turned against us. Wind against the tide is never a good mix, especially on one of the UK’s biggest headlands!
To make matters worse, due to the conditions, I hadn’t had a chance to put on my raincoat I ended up doing 172 miles in 32 and a half hours, before finally landing at Conwy, soaking wet and completely. exhausted from exertion and lack of sleep!
Katie then had to spend a week in port because the wind was against her.
However, she made new friends and was able to do some important maintenance work.
Katie explained, “We met a lot of people at Conwy and were once again blown away by the kindness of complete strangers.
“We were shown to a local Tesco on our first day there, and a couple were kind enough to come with a bag of fresh food, including a freshly baked cake!
“The rest of the week turned into a rainy and windy blur, plus a little attempt at schoolwork, until we were invited to a local sailing instructor. It was so nice to have a home cooked meal for once.
When we met Katie she was about to leave Milford Haven in Wales for Mousehole in Cornwall. After that, she would just have Fowey, Torquay, and Plymouth to check off before returning to Topsham.
Her boatbuilder father David follows closely behind on the 1,600 nautical mile counterclockwise journey, which must be within five miles of her daughter for insurance reasons. .
Katie’s initial goal was to sail across the Atlantic, but her parents were against the idea.
Katie, who attends Isca School in Exeter, is in charge between eight and 15 hours a day.
She tracks her progress on facebook and regularly posts photos. You can follow her by visiting https://www.facebook.com/falanda.sailing/.
Katie started her boating career before she was born.
Her parents returned to Britain for her birth during a four-year honeymoon, returning to their boat in the Caribbean a fortnight later.
Katie raises money for two ocean pollution charities on her trip.
The first charity is Sea Shepherd UK, whose mission is to stop illegal fishing and clean the ocean of ghost nets (commercial fishing nets that have been lost, abandoned or thrown at sea).
His second is Lonely Whale, an American charity, which tries to eliminate plastics bound to the oceans.
Katie has also set up a Just Giving page which can be found at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/falanda-roundbritain
Back home with her parents is Katie’s 11-year-old brother Reuben. We asked him if he was impressed with his efforts?
“Not really,” Katie said. “He’s pretty disappointed with it all,” she laughed.