Quadriplegic sailor Hilary Lister started her historic journey around the British isles this week
At 36, Hilary Lister suffers from a rare disorder known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy. This ‘genetic blip’ means she has no movement in her arms or legs. The only thing she can move is her head.
She has broken records, won awards and become a figurehead for disabled people because she is a fearsome sailor. In 2005 she became the first quadriplegic to sail single-handedly across the Channel. Two years later she repeated the feat sailing round the Isle of Wight. Now, it’s the British Isles.
Hilary plans on sailing her Artemis 20 sailboat around the isles in legs, stopping each night in ports along the way: “We’ll be going clockwise around. We’re up against wind and tides, for the whole of the south coast, but at least when we get to the North Sea we should get swept back home – which is a good thing,” said Hilary of her planned route.
Hilary Lister told reporters she was feeling confident as she set sail on Monday afternoon under bright sunny skies: “We’ve broken everything that can be broken and everything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong, so we’ve got to be OK now,” she added.
Having set sail from Dover in the afternoon, Hilary Lister arrived safely in Eastbourne Marina tired but happy to have successfully completed the first leg of her journey. The challenge for this journey will be to stay focused and determined, as Hilary is scheduled to be sailing up to 16 hours a day for the next three months. Last night Hilary arrived safely in Brighton.