Page last updated at 14:01 GMT, Saturday, 29 November 2008

Disabled sailor to attempt record

Hilary Lister
Hilary Lister said completing the journey was her "dream"

A yachtswoman is to make a second attempt to become the first quadriplegic woman to sail solo around Britain.

Hilary Lister, who is paralysed from the neck down, plans to embark on the journey next May using a "sip-and-puff" system of straws to control her yacht.

Her first attempt was abandoned in August because of technical problems and bad weather.

Mrs Lister, of Faversham, Kent, said she was "confident" she would succeed.

She spent six months preparing for the first record-breaking challenge, which was expected to take three to four months in her specially-adapted vessel, an Artemis 20 called Me Too.

I'm confident that with the experience gained this year, we will achieve my round-Britain dream in 2009
Hilary Lister

It has been designed to be operated through three "straws".

One works the tiller and one the sails while another allows her to select five different functions to help control the craft.

Mrs Lister became the first quadriplegic sailor to sail solo across the English Channel in 2005 and two years later was the first quadriplegic woman to sail around the Isle of Wight.

Her round-Britain attempt started in Dover in June and ended in Cornwall two months later.

Mrs Lister, a biochemistry Oxford graduate, said: "I'm confident that with the experience gained this year, we will achieve my round-Britain dream in 2009.

"Despite terrible weather, this year we sailed the entire length of the South Coast, which is further than any female disabled sailor has achieved before."

'Light switched on'

She was wheelchair-bound at the age of 15 because of a progressive neurological disorder, reflex sympathetic dystrophy.

Mrs Lister lost the use of her arms and hands in 1998, aged 27, but in late September 2003 she was taken sailing on a lake by a friend and fell in love with the sport.

She said: "Sailing came along when life didn't seem worth living any more.

"Within seconds of being on the water, a light switched back on inside me. I knew that I had found what I was going to do with the rest of my life."



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