Isle of Wight sailor to cross Atlantic using breath control tech

Natasha Lambert is preparing to become the first person to sail across the Atlantic by breath control on her 46ft catamaran Blown Away.

She’s joining the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers 2020 and aiming to make the crossing on the largest vessel ever converted to use the technology. Lambert will depart from Gran Canaria on November 22 after she had to postpone her challenge last year.

Her Bavaria Nautitech Open 46 catamaran has been specially adapted to enable her to control the yacht using Sip and Puff technology. It is particularly ‘power hungry’, so Lambert and her team require reliable power sources while underway. Fischer Panda UK, the Dorset-based company, has donated a Panda PMS 9000 ND generator, and also supplied a watermaker and air-conditioning system.

“The boat is necessarily power hungry as all of the winches are powered to allow Natasha to use them,” says Amanda Lambert, mother. “Natasha also controls the helm by using a ram. All of this results in high power consumption, which we need to replace by various methods including the Fischer Panda generator. During the sail down to the Canaries, it was in regular use daily to top up the batteries. We also took the opportunity when the generator was running to charge the batteries so that we could use the air con, which was extremely welcome as it became warmer the further south we sailed. We are planning to change all the filters and membrane on the watermaker to use during the Atlantic crossing. We would like to thank Fischer Panda for all their help and support.”

The Fischer Panda UK equipment was installed on the yacht during special adaptation by Wight Shipyard, Isle of Wight, which enables Lambert, who has quadriplegic athetoid cerebral palsy, to sail using breath control. The specially adapted system was developed by her father using open source software, and incorporates a sip-puff system that utilises a single straw for Natasha to control both the steering or helm, and the sails.

Lambert is raising awareness of disabled sailing and attempting to raise £30,000 for three water-based charities – the RNLI, The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, and the MissIsle School of Sip-Puff Sailing.

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