Yachtswoman with paralysed limbs plans solo circumnavigation

The quadriplegic yachtswoman who set a new record by sailing solo across the English Channel from Dover to Calais, by blowing through pipes to activate the rudder, now wants to sail single-handed round Britain.Hilary Lister, 33, whose arms and legs are paralysed, has been befriended by Around Alone yachtswoman Emma Richards. Emma has offered ‘cautious encouragement’ for the proposal.

Hilary hopes to set off next summer on her round Britain challenge, but accepts it may take two years to prepare for such a voyage. She has already passed her RYA Competent Crew and Day Skipper, but wants to get her Yachtmaster Ocean.

Although she and husband Clifford, a chorister at Westminster Cathedral, will eventually be looking to buy a cruiser to adapt for the challenge, Hilary wants to continue sailing her specially adapted Soling to garner experience. This is the boat which Matt Debicki of the Inventure Trust adapted using parts of one of Hilary’s discarded wheelchairs into a ‘sit and puff’ boat. The boat is actually owned by Robin Gray of Pindar, and Hilary is seeking a replacement Soling to give to Robin to avoid having the ‘Heath-Robinson mechanics’, as Clifford affectionately describes them removed.