A pair of teenage sailors, both with type 1 diabetes, have braved the English Channel in a lightweight but challenging to control sailing skiff (boat).
At 17, William Chanter is the eldest of the pair and has had type 1 diabetes since he was 6. Tom Baker is two years younger and was diagnosed around 2 years ago.
The challenge they set for themselves was to sail all around the Isle of Wight in a 29er sailing skiff. The 70kg boat is capable of high speeds and requires a skilled two man crew to manoeuvre, requiring the sailors to regularly lean much of their body weight over the side of the boat to keep it upright.
The challenge required athleticism and skill to navigate the boat around the island in a day. The distance around the island is over 100km in distance and the choppy waves and shipping traffic of the English Channel meant the challenge was a steep one, even before taking their diabetes management into account.
William and Tom needed to regularly test their blood glucose levels during the challenge to prevent their sugar levels straying either too high or too low, both outcomes which could present real danger for the sailors. Even testing their blood became difficult as the level salt on their hands confused their blood glucose monitors into thinking they were doing a control solution test!
As the sun began to set and the strength of the wind dipped, the teenagers, who had covered 65km, were forced to end the challenge. The pair did extremely well and are much of the way towards raising the £5,000 target for charity they set themselves, having raised £4,000 already. The funds raised will be donated to the JDRF, the charity for people with type 1 diabetes.

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