A teenager from Hambrook is on course to complete a challenge to sail single-handedly around Britain.
Tom Webb, 18, set off from Langstone Sailing Club where he is a member on July 2 in his 21-foot Beneteau yacht named Danera.
A keen sailor since a youngster, Tom has wanted to complete the challenge for several years to help further his sailing skills and also to raise money for several charities which focus on giving people with disabilities the chance to take up sailing.
“As a young person I want to challenge myself by drawing from the inspiration of the young disabled people I have met through several sailing charities.
“Despite the challenges in their daily lives they strive to set themselves new goals.”
During his preparations Tom was even lucky enough to have been mentored by Major Phil Packer, the founder of the British Inspiration Trust (BRIT).
“I have been on and around boats all of my life,” said Tom. “I got used to sailing around the Solent on the catamaran my parents had as I grew up. These experiences inspired me to try my hand at dinghy sailing.
“My first dingy was a bright yellow wooden Mirror dinghy - a piece of history as it had previously been owned by Sir Peter Blake.
“I then moved to toppers where I took part in club racing. Most recently I started racing frequently on a 420.”
One of the charities which Tom will be raising money for is the Even Keel Project which encourages able-bodied and disabled people to sail together regardless of age, gender or background. It provides high-performance keel boats and also allows paraplegic sailors to sail by themselves using tubes which you blow into or suck to control different parts of the boat.
Tom has been involved with the charity, taking part in some demonstrations as well as racing events including the Artemis Even Keel Challenge in Cowes Week last year and has seen people transformed by its work.
He will also be raising money for Sailability which is part of the Royal Yachting Association’s (RYA) work to enable people with all types of disabilities to enjoy sailing.
It operates from many clubs on the south coast and Langstone Sailability was the first sailability centre of its kind in the UK.
Since leaving Langstone Tom, who is also a member of Emsworth Slipper Sailing Club, has had various stopovers including Brighton, Ramsgate, Harwich, Woodbridge, Lowestoft, Grimsby and Scarborough – where he celebrated his 18th birthday – Sunderland and Amble.
See www.tomwebbsailing.com for more information and to make a donation to the challenge.