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12-Year-Old Sailor Attempts Bristol Channel Dinghy Crossing in aid of The Maiden Factor Foundation

by Ian Lockyer, Icom UK 20 Aug 2021 09:00 BST
Flo is taking an Icom IC-M25EURO buoyant Marine VHF radio as she attempts solo Bristol Channel dinghy crossing in aid of Maiden Factor Foundation © ICOM UK

Can you remember when you were 12-years old? Did you have the courage to take part in a big adventure, voyage, or expedition? Did you ever think of raising money for others? If most of us are truly honest, we would probably say no.

12-year-old Flo Tovey from Swansea will sail her Topper dinghy across the Bristol channel on 18th September to raise money and awareness for the work that the Maiden Factor Foundation do. Flo is using an IC-M25EURO to be in communication with her support boat and other vessels to keep her safe.

Rob Tovey, Flo's dad, said, "Flo started learning to sail properly when she was about seven years old and progressed to becoming a Welsh Topper sailing squad member. She is a very physical sailor and her favourite conditions are when the wind is blowing hard and the swell is up! She has always had an eye for a challenge and has for years said that she would like to sail from Mumbles to Devon on a clear day.

"Due to Covid, Flo had a disappointing sailing year in 2020. She was selected to represent Team Wales in the Eric Twiname championships, the Topper national and world championships, which were unfortunately cancelled due to the pandemic.'

He added, "Then she watched the documentary 'Maiden' which she found truly inspirational. She then took it upon herself to email The Maiden Factor Foundation telling them that she would sail her dinghy across the Bristol channel to raise money and awareness for the work that the Maiden factor foundation does. The first that I knew about it was when she got an email back from Tracy Edwards MBE.... since then, things have started to gain momentum!"

Flo will be supported by one designated safety RIB crewed by her father Rob and her Godfather David Thomas. Both are RYA instructors and RNLI lifeboat crew. There will also be other local boats that have promised to drop in throughout the attempt to provide some support and motivation.

Rob said, "The main challenges for Flo are going to be the tide, the weather and the stress of being sat in the boat for between 6-10 hours. Flo is taking an Icom IC-M25EURO buoyant Marine VHF radio to keep her safe. She has requested that the support boats keep their distance whilst she is sailing, she is keen to make sure that this is a genuinely independent effort. Support vessels will always remain in visual contact, the radio will be very important allowing her to call in the support boat if anything unforeseen happens. In addition, she has been practicing how to send VHF emergency messages."

If anyone would like to donate, go to Flo's GoFundMe page where they can also follow Flo's charity adventure on her Facebook page Flo Tovey Bristol channel crossing and Twitter @ToveyFlo.

Good luck Flo from everyone at Icom UK.

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