Tributes to Hilary Lister
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