Saturday, August 27, 2005

Hilary Lister A Disabled Quadriplegic Sailor Conquers The English Channel

A Woman has become the first quadriplegic person to sail solo across the English Channel - using just two straws.
Hilary prepares to go
Hilary Lister, who is able to move only her head, eyes and mouth, overcame severe physical pain to navigate her boat unaided across the Channel. The 33-year-old travelled through one of the busiest and most treacherous shipping lanes in the world in a specially adapted 26ft boat. She set the record for completing the world’s longest solo sail by a quadriplegic at six hours and 13 minutes. The boat, sponsored by Pindar, is controlled by the "sip and puff" method where Mrs Lister adjusts the sails and tiller through blowing and sucking through two straws. Mrs Lister took up sailing two years ago as a way to boost her self-confidence.
Mrs Lister's boat The Malin
She was diagnosed when she was a teenager with the degenerative disease reflex sympathetic dystrophy. But Mrs Lister, who lives with her husband Clifford in Canterbury, Kent, said that sailing had transformed her life. Speaking after a champagne welcome to France, she said: "I am just thrilled. I can’t tell you what it feels like. "It is just tremendous, it has been a huge team effort and something only the Pindar team could have pulled off. I am so grateful to everyone who made it possible. "It is very emotional for me. I was absolutely certain that once I got in the boat that I could make it to France. I am too stubborn to give up." Mrs Lister added that, by completing the voyage, she would challenge the public’s perception of disabled people.
Hilary Lister broke the record for the longest sailing by a quadriplegic
She said: "I want to get able-bodied people to rethink their views about the disabled. "We do not need wrapping up in cotton wool and can go out and do silly or dangerous things if that’s what we want to do." Mrs Lister added that she now had her sights on sailing around Britain in a new challenge to take place next year.

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