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Quadriplegic sailor readies for her journey

Hilary Lister is in the midst of preparing for her attempt to sail solo around Great Britain, but this will be a more impressive voyage than at first glance.

At 35, Lister is a quadriplegic and can only move her head, eyes and mouth. With the help of the Artemis 20, a special sailboat designed for disabled sailors, she will attempt to journey clockwise around the coast, according to a recent press release. She will sail through the Irish Sea and the North Sea as well as the English Channel.

A sip-and-puff device that allows Lister to control the sails and the tiller with just her breath will aid her on her journey, which is expected to begin at 6:30 a.m. June 9 in Dover. She plans to complete the voyage in a series of day sails, and will be accompanied by a support RIB on the water and two motor homes and a Land Rover by land, according to the release.

Each day, the team will record Lister’s finishing latitude and longitude from her GPS to take her back to the same point the following day. She hopes to complete the journey in three or four months, according to the release. Lister has already sailed solo across the English Channel from Dover to Calais in 2005 and circumnavigated the Isle of Wight in 2007.

Lions Club organizations of the British Isles and Ireland will help Lister’s voyage by organizing local support facilities on route and the Kent County Council Sports Development Unit will organize a launch event June 9. For information and to track Lister’s progress, visit

— Elizabeth Ellis