Teenage yachtswoman Katie McCabe who shot to fame in 2021 when she became the youngest sailor to circumnavigate Great Britain singlehandedly has announced a new "transatlantic dream"...
The youngster, now aged 15, has spent 18 months fundraising with the goal of participating in the Mini Transat race – a solo transatlantic voyage in a Mini 6.50 – 21ft racing boat, in 2025.
However, now the schoolgirl has returned the sponsorship money she raised and announced on her Falanda Sailing Facebook page after announcing “unfortunately I will no longer be participating in the Mini Transat race.”
Katie said: “After trying, and trying, and trying I have realised, one and a half years into my project, that my Mini Transat goal is not realistically achievable for me at this time. This is mainly due to a lack of funding and also perhaps, my love of old boats.
“I will now be focused on trying to make the Atlantic crossing possible, just on my own boat and as cheaply as I can.”
Katie McCabe’s previous achievements
The ISAC academy schoolgirl, based on the River Exe, worked to restore her 1950s Morgan Giles-built West Channel One Design sloop called Falanda, before undertaking the anticlockwise route around Britain – via the Caledonian Canal – followed by her dad David in his 33ft yawl for insurance purposes.
Her voyage raised £16,070 for marine wildlife conservation charity Sea Shepherd UK.
She had previously sailed singlehanded to the Isles of Scilly, aged 13, aboard her the 26ft Falanda, with her family sailing alongside.
Katie, who is a regular contributor to the magazine, told PBO that for the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, she was seeking: “something similar to a Contessa, with nice lines, self draining cockpit, and solid. Not completely sure yet but just going to see what comes up this summer!”
The young sailor described how frustrating it was to have to return the little sponsorship money she had raised via “seemingly endless emails” and added: “I am literally back to square one and having to start all over again with raising funds for a boat.
“I won’t be crossing the Atlantic in Falanda since she is 70 years old and doesn’t have a self draining cockpit, something both I, and my parents see as a necessity for a trip of this length. Being only 15, everything I do reflects back on my parents and so this is one of the main things we have agreed is a priority.”
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Farewell to Falanda
The young sailor completed for Channel crossings last year, to gain sea miles and singlehanded experience. She expects to have to put Falanda up for sale to achieve her next goal.
Katie said: “I will be so sad to say goodbye to her, however I will just have to do so when the time comes, in order to fund my Atlantic dreams.”
The teenager is appealing for donations to support her new challenge.
She added: “My dream is still to cross the Atlantic ocean and so all your donations are a really big help and very, very much appreciated. However, I do also understand that my plan has changed a little, and so if any of my donors would like their money refunded, I would be happy to do so. Thank you all for your support.”