Weather and technical problems force year's postonement

Hilary Lister has been forced to abandon her attempt to become the first female quadriplegic to sail solo around the British Isles.

Hilary and her team have been beset by problems since setting sail from Dover on 16 June, with bad weather, technical issues with the boats, and injuries to crew members all hampering progress.

Hilary had reached Newlyn in Cornwall, but being so far behind schedule, Hilary and the team last weekend made the difficult decision to halt this year’s attempt. They have resolved to complete the journey next year, in the late spring.

Project Manager, Toby May, said: “Hilary’s boat, the Artemis 20, has been sailed under testing conditions. The integrated navigation and control system is a combination of off the shelf items and custom built electronics. As a system, it is still in development and working in what, for electronics, is a hostile environment. What we had not envisaged was the level of difficulty operating and maintaining the boat and her systems under the conditions we have faced. The weather has often stopped us sailing and this has been an added frustration.”

Hilary said: “I am obviously extremely disappointed and incredibly frustrated that we have not been able to complete the sail this year; it seems that the fates have conspired against us but I am now ever more determined to go again next year. We always said that every mile we sailed would be an achievement in its own right and we have to try and take some positives from this year’s efforts. I have enjoyed the wonderful experience of night sailing and the tranquillity and sense of freedom that brings. I also feel incredibly privileged and proud to have been supported by such a great crew who, despite extremely testing conditions and circumstances, continued to show commitment and resilience of the highest order.”

The up to date news and status of the project will continue to be posted on the website. 

Despite the huge disappointment, Hilary remains philosophical: “I was under no illusion that this was going to be easy and the trials and tribulations of the past few months have certainly tested our resolve. Over the course of the next few months, we will be taking what we have learned and preparing for next year’s trip around the remainder of the coast of Britain – salt encrusted and a little wiser.”