Bad weather halts quadriplegic woman's solo voyage round UK

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The Independent Online

The quadriplegic yachtswoman Hilary Lister was forced to abandon her solo quest to sail around Britain yesterday.

The former scientist, who suffers from a rare degenerative condition which means she is only able to move her head, said she was "extremely disappointed and incredibly frustrated" at the decision to stop.

The voyage has been hampered by a series of technical problems and atrocious weather since setting out in June. Having reached Newlyn in Cornwall last weekend, on the brink of the most dangerous sail in the circumnavigation, Ms Lister realised that she had run out of time if she was to reach the starting point at Dover by September before further bad weather.

The team now intend to pick up where they left off next year to raise funds for the charity Hilary's Dream Trust, which aims to get disabled people sailing.

The 36-year-old adventurer said: "It seems that the fates have conspired against us but I am now even more determined to go again next year. We always said every mile we sailed would be an achievement and we have to try and take positives from this year's efforts. I have enjoyed the wonderful experience of night sailing and the tranquility and sense of freedom that brings."

The team took comfort in the fact that Ms Lister's disability had not held back the effort at all.

She was making the voyage using specially designed "sip and puff" technology which allows disabled helms to control their boat using breath controls.