A quadriplegic sailor set off on a journey around the British Isles on Monday in a boat she controls with her breath.
Hilary Lister, 36, set sail alone in her boat from Dover on the southeast coast of England, steering her specially adapted yacht by blowing and sucking on straws to adjust the sails and tiller.
She had planned to leave a week ago, but malfunctioning electronics and a broken mast delayed her launch. As she set sail on Monday afternoon, Lister said she was feeling confident. “We’ve broken everything that can be broken and everything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong, so we’ve got to be OK now,” she told journalists.
Lister will sail about 18 hours a day and will come into shore every night. An inflatable boat will sail alongside her and a crew will provide support on land. She expects the journey to take around three months.
Lister, who is paralysed from the neck down, has already broken sailing records. In August 2005 she became the first quadriplegic to sail solo across the English Channel. She was diagnosed as a teenager with reflex sympathetic dystrophy, a degenerative disease.