First quadriplegic to sail solo around the Isle of Wight

35-year-old Hilary Lister, who made headlines as the first quadriplegic to sail solo across the English Channel exactly two years ago, became the first female quadriplegic to sail solo around the Isle of Wight yesterday, Tuesday 24 July. Lister, who is able to move only her head and neck, used a ‘sip-puff’ method of steering to control her boat, by breathing down two straws enabling her to steer and adjust the sails.

Hilary crossed the start line off Cowes yesterday morning on Tuesday 24th July in her Artemis 20, a modified 20 foot carbon-fibre racing boat called ‘Me Too’. She sailed 50 miles round the island in a speedy 11 hours, 4 minutes and 22 seconds, sailing at an average speed of ten knots. Crossing the finish line at 19.20 (BST) an exhausted but jubilant Lister was overjoyed to have completed the challenge, an important prologue to her solo sail Round Britain next summer.

Hilary Lister said: ‘It has been an incredible day; I surpassed even my own expectations during this marathon solo sail. Sailing round the Isle of Wight is much further and more complex than across the Channel, which was only 22 miles compared to today’s 50 miles, over double the distance, and round lots of corners! My new Artemis 20 was an absolute dream to sail.’

Hilary will now continue her training for her ‘Round Britain Dream’, including her search for support which will enable her to achieve this dream. Hilary intends to set up a charity which will aim to helping disadvantaged and disabled people to get out on the water and experience the thrill of sailing, whilst showing that disabled people can live challenging and exciting lives.