Lion Hilary Lister Visits Howth
Author: John Deane Posted on: 24/6/09 Print Version

Hilary Lister at sea in Artemis

Arriving at Howth - 21st June 2009

Hilary Lister arrived in Howth at 10:00 am on Sunday 21st June after sailing from from Arklow during the night, completing another leg of her sail single handed around the British Isles and up the East Coast of Ireland voyage.

While doing this trip single handed in such a small boat is in itself a feat - but doing it as a quadriplegic, only able to move her head, eyes and mouth is truely remarkable.

Hilary arriving at HYC with her support boat

The Vice-Commodore, Roger Cagney, and a crowd of well wishers met Hilary on her arrival and welcomed her to Howth Yacht Club.

Hilary was able-bodied until she was 15, captain of her school netball, hockey and swimming teams.

However, she was diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy as a teenager but continued her education qualifying as a Bio-Chemist at Oxford University.

She played the clarinet and toured Europe with the Oxford County Youth Orchestra.

HYC Vice-Commodore, Roger Cagney
and Hilary Lister

In 1998, Hilary lost the use of her arms and is now totally quadriplegic, only able to move her head, eyes and mouth.

She sails the boat by sucking or blowing through three pipes which by pneumatic actions control a series of motors and winches which in turn control the rudder and sails.

The three pipes are in a chest mounted unit within reach of her mouth.

The front console and seat assembly is on gimbals so that it remains level when the boat is healed

Hilary before her condition developed

The front console and three pipes control unit

Hilary Leaves Howth heading for Carlingford - 24th June 2009

At 1000 on 24th June Hilary set off from Howth for Carlingford in bright sunshine and Easterly, force 3, winds. She had one reef in the main and was making a steady 6kts.

She managed the boat very competently. I noticed that when a wind gust hits, the boat 'rounds up' a bit - then she blows into one of her 3 tubes to ease off the main and she is back on course. She can only adjust the main, jib and rudder separately - by blowing into the appropriate one of the 3 tubes.

When we finished taking the pics, we waived her goodbye and good luck with the remainder of her trip, which is Carlingford to Scotland - then up the Caledonian Canel and back down the East Coast of England.

Leaving Howth for Carlingford

Hilary's Dream Journey ...

Hilary's Dream Journey is a major opportunity for publicity and public awareness to raise funds for her "Hilary's Dream Trust" and show that disabled people can live exciting and challenging lives. Last year stg �15, 000 was raised by the Trust from Lions.

The objects of the Trust are to promote education and healthy recreation in particular by the provision of facilities for outdoor education, sailing, navigation and leadership, particularly for disabled persons of all ages. Last year �23,000 was raised by the Trust, �15,000 of which came from Lions Clubs.

Hilary Lister's website: