Trib­utes to Hi­lary Lis­ter

Practical Boat Owner - - News -

Hi­lary Lis­ter, who used sip and puff tech­nol­ogy to be­come the first dis­abled woman to sail around Bri­tain, has died.

The 46-year-old broke many bar­ri­ers dur­ing her life, which won her the ad­mi­ra­tion of the sail­ing com­mu­nity and le­gions of fans.

In­spired by the Around Alone yachtswoman Emma Richards, Lis­ter en­tered the record books when she be­came the first quad­ri­plegic to sail the English Chan­nel sin­gle­handed on 23 Au­gust 2005 in Robin Gray’s mod­i­fied Sol­ing.

She first sailed in 2003 at West­bere, Kent, where she later learnt to con­trol a boat by sip­ping and puff­ing through straws.

In 2007 she solo cir­cum­nav­i­gated the Isle of Wight and then went on to cir­cum­nav­i­gate Bri­tain in 2008/2009, be­com­ing the first fe­male dis­abled sailor to achieve this feat.

This was fol­lowed by a trans-ocean record which saw her, and Omani sailor Nashwa Al Kindi, sail across the In­dian Ocean from Mum­bai to Oman aboard a 28ft Dragon­fly tri­maran.

“When I’m sail­ing I go into a dif­fer­ent world…its like fly­ing!” Lis­ter said.

Born able-bod­ied, Lis­ter was con­fined to a wheel­chair by the age of 15 due to the de­gen­er­a­tive dis­ease Re­flex Sym­pa­thetic Dystrophy. By 27, she was paral­ysed from the neck down.

Through­out her life she won nu­mer­ous awards in­clud­ing the He­len Rol­la­son Award for In­spi­ra­tion, Sun­day Times Sportswoman of the Year 2007 and the Royal Cruis­ing Club’s Sea­man­ship Award, 2005.

In 2015, Lis­ter was in­vited to sail with Team SCA, which had come sixth in the Volvo Ocean Race, skip­pered by Sam Davies.

SCA crew mem­ber Liz Ward­ley paid trib­ute to Lis­ter, say­ing: “I once said that Hi­lary Lis­ter was the true def­i­ni­tion of in­spi­ra­tion. I only had the plea­sure of sail­ing with her once and the mem­ory of that ex­pe­ri­ence has got me through a few hard times. Sail on Mate, you will be missed.”

Hi­lary Lis­ter used sip and puff tech­nol­ogy to sail

Hi­lary Lis­ter once said sail­ing was like fly­ing

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