Quadriplegic Sailor Hopes to Set Another RecordThursday, May 29, 2008 10:56:00 AMLast updated: Thursday, May 29, 2008 10:56:00 AMU.K. woman is in final preparations for solo journey round the British Isles.
Photo by: Curtosey of www.hilarylister.comHilary Lister
Hilary Lister, a 35-year-old quadriplegic from, of Canterbury, England not holy has mastered sailing; she’s now preparing for a record-breaking solo sail trip around the British Isles.

Growing up, Lister was heavily involved in hockey, swimming and horseback riding. She was also classically versed in the clarinet, touring all over Europe by the age of 23. Her life dramatically changed after being diagnosed with a degenerative disease that left her with only the ability to move her eyes, mouth and head.

Falling into depression, Lister refused to leave the house and relied on her family and friends for the smallest of tasks. After being persuaded by a friend to get out for a sailing trip, everything changed.
Lister got her first taste of the sea with the help of Westbere Sailing Opportunity, a nonprofit organization that helps to give the sailing experience to individuals of all ages and disabilities. She then was loaned a 26-foot Soling keelboat to learn how to maneuver on the water.

Thanks to charitable contributions, the sailboat was outfitted with a sip and puff device that Lister uses to control the sails and tiller with just her breath. Within months, she became a proficient sailor and had a new lease on life.

“You have a freedom on water you don’t have anywhere,” Lister said. “It’s hard to explain what it’s like being stuck in a wheelchair.”

“Here [on the boat] I’m the boss,” Lister told Britain’s Guardian newspaper. “As well as steering, I can chose to sail flat, or go faster. It’s wonderful to have choices again.”

In August 2005, Lister made international news by sailing solo across the English Channel-- entering the record books as the first quadriplegic to sail across the channel and for the longest solo sail by a quadriplegic.

She is now setting her sights on breaking her own record by sailing solo around the British Isles. Lister will embark in a series of day sails, with her exact GPS position recorded at the end of the day. A support crew will then tow her to land and back to the exact position the following day. The trip is expected to last 3-4 months, and she is scheduled to start June 9.
To follow her record-breaking journey, check out the daily updates at www.hilarylister.com.