Quadriplegic round-Britain sailor prevented from completing voyage to Portland from Lymington
A UK circumnavigation is never easy but for Hilary Lister, paralysed from the neck down and sailing a specially adapted Artemis 20 yacht, there are even more factors to take into account before each day’s sailing.
After rapid progress from the start in Dover on 15 June, the team – which includes a support RIB, a specially adapted Land rover and a motor home – arrived in Hayling Island on 21 June having only experienced one minor holdup for a corroded boom fitting.
However the wind picked up and progress since then has been almost non-existent. Plus there has been damage to the boat’s electronics as well as injuries to one of her support crew.
Hilary’s boat – an Artemis 20 which is a performance keelboat built for both disabled and able-bodied sailors – had to be towed from Cowes to Lymington to be lifted out of the water.
But while there, one of her support crew, Sean Davis, cut his hand, which left the RIB under-manned, meaning more lost sailing days as a replacement was drafted in.
And then the weather has been against the team – which has led to further delays – although Hilary successfully completed the leg from Cowes to Lymington under sail insisting she cover every mile of the trip unassisted.
In common with Geoff Holt, the disabled sailor who completed a similar challenge last summer and spent more than three weeks holed up in North Wales, the waiting game is hard on everybody, as the last week’s worth of diary entries below illustrates.
Day 15 – Monday 30 June: Team remains in Lymington
Day 16 – Tuesday 1 July: Still awaiting rectification of electronics on Hilary’s boat and for Sean’s injury to heal. Possible that Hilary may not be able to sail again until later in the week.
Day 17 – Wednesday 2 July: The issues with the boat’s electronics now appear to have been resolved and Sean’s back off to the hospital today to check his injury. Wind conditions tomorrow (Thursday) do not look favourable so Hilary now plans to leave Lymington for Portland on Friday morning at 10am.
Day 18 – Thursday 3 July: Team remains in Lymington ahead of the planned sail to Portland tomorrow.
Day 19 – Friday 4 July: Yet more frustration! Severe weather conditions are forecast and would be likely to affect Hilary during the planned sail to Portland. Given the anticipated duration of the journey, it is not considered safe for her to set sail today. Forecasts for the weekend remain poor so it is now likely that Hilary will be further delayed until the beginning of next week.