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Natasha Lambert's 'Sip and Puff' helmet goes on display at the National Maritime Museum

by National Maritime Museum 4 Dec 2021 10:54 GMT
Natasha Lambert's 'Sip and Puff' helmet goes on display at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich © Marketing / NationalMaritimeMuseum

The National Maritime Museum has acquired a specially adapted helmet designed for disabled sailors and has been placed on display in the Sea Things gallery to coincide with UK Disability Month.

In 2020, Natasha Lambert, 24, became the first person to sail across the Atlantic using just sip and puff technology on the helmet to control her boat. The sailor has quadriplegic athetoid cerebral palsy which affects her limbs and speech but this did not deter her from spending 18 days, 21 hours and 39 minutes at sea, covering 2,808 miles using the specially adapted equipment.

The impressive helmet was designed by Natasha's father Gary Lambert. Gary designed the specially adapted system, using open-source software, and incorporates a sip-puff system that utilises a single straw, allowing Natasha to control the helm and the sails.

Aside from Natasha's extensive sailing achievements, Natasha and her parents Gary and Amanda Lambert have set up a charity called Miss Isle to encourage and support sailing amongst the disabled community. The family's vision is to provide affordable sailing tuition to young people with physical disabilities who would benefit from using the sip and puff method of sailing. The Miss Isle School of Sip and Puff Sailing has been born out of the constant drive and desire to open sailing up to more people who wouldn't otherwise have access to it.

Natasha Lambert said '"I am delighted and very proud that my helmet is on display at the National Maritime Museum and really hope my story and the technology my dad developed encourages and inspires others. People are often surprised at what I have achieved and having the helmet at the museum will allow people to see how technology is developing to make accessing the marine environment achievable for all."

Laura Boon, curator at the National Maritime Museum added 'Natasha Lambert has achieved incredible feats that most of us can but dream of; most recently becoming the first person to skipper a boat across the Atlantic using the 'Sip and puff' system aged just 23. At the National Maritime Museum we are thrilled at welcoming the Sip and puff helmet into our collection and to be able to share Natasha's story with our visitors'.

The helmet will be on display for six months before being taken back under the care of the Museum's conservation team.

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