According to The Guardian, Hilary Lister, 37, has made history as the first quadriplegic to sail solo around Britain. In 2005 she also set the record as the first quadriplegic to sail solo around the English Channel. We salute you, Lister!
Lister is an Oxford-educated biochemist who has a rare, progressive neurological disorder, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, that has left her paralyzed from the neck down. Last night at 6:45 pm she sailed into Dover, completing the final leg of a marathon journey undertaken in a series of 40 day-long sails that started in June last year.
She used advanced technology (her “sip and puff” system) that enabled her to steer and control the sails by sucking and blowing through plastic straws. She embarked on and completed her voyage alone, except with a support team that helped her get in and out of her boat.
Says Lister of her amazing feat:
It’s a privilege to be back in Dover. The killer was when the wind died just east of the entrance to the harbour but unbelievably it picked up just as I sailed in.
Asked of the highlight of her journey:
Just seeing whales 35ft long fully breached out of the water was incredible. Two of them jumped like dolphins, it was amazing.
All in all:
I’m so relieved to be home but looking forward to the next challenge. One thing I’ve learnt is that you can’t predict the future, we couldn’t even predict tomorrow’s weather so I’m not ruling anything out or anything in.