Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Brave Hilary nearing finish of her epic journey

Hilary Lister in her boat

Inspirational sailor Hilary Lister is getting closer to setting another world record as she enters the final leg of her trip around the British Isles, Yourswale reports.

She is currently off the coast of East Anglia sailing south towards her final destination of Dover, which she is due to reach on Tuesday.

Hilary, 36, from Selling, suffers from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, a degenerative disease which started to show itself when she was a child so controls her craft using a set of straws and her breath.

She is bidding to become the first disabled woman to sail solo around Britain.

Hilary set off in May, on her second attempt to complete the course, which includes venturing into the North and Irish seas, as well as navigating the Caledonian Canal.

The trip had to be postponed last year at Newlyn, in Cornwall, due to bad weather and technical issues.

Undeterred she returned to Newlyn this year to start again from where she left off, determined to finish it this time.

But this will be far from her first achievement, she is already in the record books as the first quadriplegic to perform a solo-sail across the English Channel.

Two years later, she was able to add another feat to the list, becoming the first female quadriplegic to sail solo around the Isle of Wight.

Hilary is sailing her boat, called Artemis 20, using a 'sip and puff' system.

This involves three straws, which are hooked up by pressure sensors, controlling a computer already programmed to react to her commands.

Hilary uses her breath to give directions, for example, one straw works the tiller, so if Hilary puffs it will go to port and if she sips it will go to starboard.

Each night she is towed into a port, with a total of 40 stops along the way.

She is expected to receive a hero’s welcome when she returns to Dover Harbour on Tuesday, after three months sailing.

On the day, KCC cabinet member for communities Mike Hill will make a special presentation to Hilary and her team to mark their enormous achievements.

Councillor Hill, also an avid sailor, said: "It has been a real honour to meet Hilary and support her latest challenge.

“I hope her tremendous efforts have inspired other people to have the determination to overcome their own obstacles and we very much look forward to welcoming her back to Kent."

Hilary also has a trust set up in her name, which raises money to help other disabled sailors and is expected to raise £20,000 when she completes her voyage.

Through her round Britain challenge, she also hopes to encourage and inspire people towards achieving their own goals.

POSTED: 26/08/2009 14:00:00

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Debra Stein dies - Berkeley land use expert

Corey Paul, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 11, 2009