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New attempt to become the youngest to sail singlehanded around Britain

Katie Mccabe, age 14, is planning to single handedly sail around Britain this summer on her 26 foot Morgan Giles, a small wooden sailing boat. She was brought up on boats, and has lived on her parents’ converted 50’ old fishing trawler her whole life, sailing as much as possible around English school times, and on 2 extended year-long sailing trips with her family. In 2019, after attending Charlestown classic boat festival, she finally found the boat of her dreams, laying forgotten and full of fresh water in a boatyard at Polruan, Fowey.

She spent the winter restoring her, after school and on weekends, with the help of her dad, David Mccabe, a wooden boat builder. After replacing a couple of rotten boards in the hull, most of the cockpit, several broken ribs, and renovating the engine, ‘Falanda’ was finally launched 2 days before the first UK lockdown. Katie was able to spend the whole of lockdown varnishing, painting, scraping, and rebuilding various other parts of the boat.

When restrictions eased, she and her family were able to sail to the Scilly isles and back, around 400nm. Katie was sailing singlehandedly on her boat ‘Falanda’, while her dad sailed nearby in his wooden yawl. She didn’t have any electronics or auto helm, so relied completely on 2 point fixes and chart work.

This year, she is aiming to sail around the UK. She plans to go around anticlockwise, leaving from Exmouth next week, heading up the Channel, crossing the Thames estuary, and up the east coast into Scotland.

She is going through the Caledonian Canal, and back down the west coast, through some of the Scottish islands and the Isle of Man, and Wales. She will be going round Lands’ End and past the Scilly isles again before hopefully arriving back at the Exe around the end of August.

If she succeeds, she will become the youngest person to sail around Britain singlehandedly. Due to insurance restrictions, her dad will be following her in his boat again, acting as a safely/support vessel, however, she will be doing all of the chart work and navigation herself.

Katie is raising money for two ocean pollution charities as she goes, and trying to spread awareness about ocean health and its importance to the future of us, the human race, and the welfare of our planet.

The first charity is Sea Shepherd UK, whose aims are to stop illegal fishing, and clear the ocean of ghost nets, which make up a large proportion of ocean plastics around the world. As well as littering the sea, ghost nets are also a major hazard to marine wildlife, and eventually break down into micro plastics, which can enter our food chain, and end up back inside us. Katie has set up a JustGiving page, which she will link up to her Facebook page to try and raise money for Sea Shepherds as she goes around.

The second charity is Lonely Whale, an American-based charity, who are trying to stop ocean-bound plastics, and convince big companies like Ikea, and Dell computer manufacturers to use this recycled plastic in their products. They are also focused on trying to spread awareness about ocean pollution, and have several campaigns running, which try to educate and involve the younger generation. Katie unfortunately can’t set up a JustGiving page for Lonely Whale, as they aren’t a UK based charity, so more information can be found at www.lonelywhale.org.

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