Lister Sips And Puffs Her Way Across English Channel And Into
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 23, 2005
CANTERBURY, ENGLAND--Hilary Lister broke two records Tuesday, becoming the first quadriplegic sailor to navigate alone across the English Channel, and taking the longest solo voyage maneuvering a boat using sip-puff technology.
Lister sailed the 21 miles from Dover, England to Calais, France in just six hours and 13 minutes.
Because of her disability, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, the 33-year-old can only move her head, eyes and mouth. She piloted her 27-foot-long sailboat using a mechanism, similar to one on her wheelchair, in which she sips and puffs on two straws connected to switches to control the boat's sails and the tiller that steers the boat.
Lister took up sailing just two years ago as a way to help boost her self-confidence, she says.
She used the Channel crossing to raise money so that other people with disabilities can experience the joy of sailing and to make more people aware of what people with and without disabilities can do.
"I want to get able-bodied people to rethink their views about the disabled," she said. "We do not need wrapping up in cotton wool and can go out and do silly or dangerous things if that's what we want to do."
At the end of the adventure, Lister announced that next year she plans to navigate around the entire United Kingdom.
Disabled sailor crosses Channel
Disabled woman sets solo sailing record
Hilary Lister & The Channel Challenge: Hilary achieves her dream