Page last updated at 19:10 GMT, Monday, 31 August 2009 20:10 UK

Disabled sailor achieves record

Hilary Lister: "It's great to have completed the trip, the dream"

A disabled yachtswoman has become the first female quadriplegic to sail solo around Britain.

Hilary Lister, 37, was applauded as she sailed into Dover harbour, in her home county of Kent.

On arrival, she declared: "I'm so relieved to be home but looking forward to the next challenge."

Mrs Lister began her voyage in May but had to be treated in hospital a month later, having been rescued from rough seas off Pembrokeshire.

She had delayed the start of her trip, from Plymouth, after being taken to hospital with breathing difficulties.

Mrs Lister also abandoned a similar attempt last year after being hit by bad weather, technical trouble and injuries to members of her support crew.

Her spokesman, Paul Taroni, described the journey as "an amazing triumph over adversity".

Seeing whales - 35-foot long - fully breached out of the water was incredible
Hilary Lister

"Everything that went against her and all the things that went wrong, Hilary overcame to do something truly inspirational. We are all so proud of her," he said.

Mrs Lister, an Oxford biochemistry graduate from Faversham, is disabled from the neck down.

Her specially-adapted vessel, an Artemis 20 called Me Too, was designed to be operated through three "straws".

They allowed her to control the boat using a "sip-and-puff" system. Mrs Lister said she was "hugely proud" of the six strong team who provided back-up throughout her series of 40 day-long sails.

"[They] worked so hard for four months without a day off," she said.

Wildlife thrills

"The killer was when the wind died just east of the entrance to the harbour but unbelievably it picked up just as I sailed in."

Mrs Lister described the highlight of her challenge as being able to see the marine wildlife at close quarters sailing alongside her.

"Seeing whales, 35-foot long, fully breached out of the water was incredible. Two of them jumped like dolphins, it was amazing," she said.

The challenge has so far raised £30,000 for Mrs Lister's charity, Hilary's Dream Trust, which exists to provide assistance to disabled and disadvantaged adults who want to sail.

Print Sponsor

Disabled sailor taken to hospital
06 Jun 09 |  Wales
Ill health hits solo sail attempt
20 May 09 |  England
Quadriplegic in solo trip attempt
14 May 09 |  England
Disabled sailor abandons voyage
13 Aug 08 |  Kent

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