Teen Heather, 15,Â toÂ take on solo sailing challenge
IN A bid to raise thousands of pounds for a community project in Africa, a schoolgirl will sail solo around the Isle of Wight.
Heather Aitken from Warsash is part of a group from Brookfield Community School taking part in World Challenge and she and her friends need to raise Â£2,850 to help with travel expenses and to be donated to charities within the project.Â
The 15-year-old said: '˜In Africa we will be helping with various community projects and people far less fortunate than ourselves.
'˜I hope to make life just slightly easier for them by helping build and paint a new school, assist with teaching and other tasks necessary to maintain village life like collecting water, cooking and even running some sports fixtures.'
Heather will sailÂ a single-handed laser dinghy, 4.2 metres in length, the 55 miles around the coast of the Isle of Wight.
Portsmouth man found fatally wounded in Edinburgh is named as Wayne Elliott, 53
Southsea seafront incident: Police update after man found 'unresponsive'
Portsmouth Traffic: M27 between junctions 11 and 12 closed throughout August amid footbridge repairs with A27 diversion in place
Multi-vehicle collision on the A32 near Swanmore leaves one driver injured as police warn of congestion
Avid Portsmouth cyclists slam 'unworkable' proposals by Grant Shapps where bike-riders could be given number plates and insurance
Her father Mark and twin brother Stuart will follow in a support boat during the challengeÂ which is due to take place on September 1 and 2.
Mark said: '˜Anyone who knows the island will be aware the sea state varies considerably and Heather will need to negotiate the NeedlesÂ at the right time to ensure the tides are favourable. The big waves along the cliffs around the back of the island will be a real challenge in her 15ft laser dingy. She will need to draw on every ounce of strength andÂ determination during her anticipated 15 hours of sailing.
Heather said: '˜I'm in no doubt my sail around the island is going to be tough.
'˜I'm a member of Warsash Sailing Club and with the support of my fellow sailors, I've been training all summer.
'˜I've studied the tides and conditions meticulously and this is why I've chosen the first weekend in September for my challenge.'
She has been backed by double Olympic medallist Ian Walker who is also from Warsash Sailing Club.
Ian said: '˜Sailing around the Isle of Wight in a small dinghy will be physically and mentally demanding.
'˜Heather is a very competent young sailor but she will need to look after herself by eating and drinking correctly and she will need to be careful of the very strong currents and commercial traffic.'