Quadriplegic solo sailor reaches Weymouth and meets the Mayor

Quadriplegic Sailor Hilary Lister, who is currently undertaking a ‘Round Britain Dream’ solo sail in her specially adapted Artemis 20, has finally said goodbye to the Solent and is making tracks westward.

Having spent the whole of July weatherbound in Lymington, Hilary Lister and her support team arrived at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) yesterday for a planned two-day stop.

Earlier today, she and her support team met with the Mayor of Portland and the WPNSA staff.

Hilary, who is only able to move her head, entered the record books on 23rd August 2005 when she sailed solo across the English Channel by using a ‘sip and puff’ system of straws to control the sails and tiller.

36 year-old Hilary stopped off, along with her support team and crew, to enjoy the Academy’s facilities, which will host the 2012 Olympic sailing events.

WPNSA boasts excellent facilities for disabled users. The building exceeds the standards required by the Disability Discrimination Act and, with the disabled access hoists on the pontoons, provides some of the safest access to tidal waters for people with disabilities anywhere in the UK. In addition, WPNSA’s onsite sailing school. SailLaser, has formed strong links with the disabled charity Sailability, with trained staff available to deliver these courses.  

Hilary comments, “When you live in a wheelchair or bed 24 hours a day, being in a sail boat is like flying. You have a freedom on water you don’t have anywhere, well I don’t. It’s hard to explain what it’s like being stuck in a wheelchair. On the water, I’m the boss. As well as steering, I can chose to sail flat, or go faster. It’s wonderful to have choice again. I am enjoying my time at the 2012 sailing venue and meeting the team here.”

Mark Stubbings, Chief Executive of WPNSA, commented, “Hilary is a truly inspirational individual; what she has achieved so far has been fantastic and we wish her the best of luck in her latest venture. We are all very excited about hosting Hilary at the Academy.”
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