by Oman Sail
Oman Sail’s support of innovation in sailing moves to the Indian Ocean next week when British quadriplegic sailor Hilary Lister and Oman’s Nashwa Al Kindi set out on an extraordinary journey from Mumbai, India, to Muscat, Oman, to set two new trans-ocean records.
The trans-ocean crossing, sponsored by Omani companies Mistal - Ajit Khimji Group and United Engineering Services LLC, starts on 10 March and will be the first to be completed by a severely paralysed woman and the first to be recorded by an Arab female sailor.
'Hilary and Nashwa are two remarkable women taking on a route that was used centuries ago when the Indo-Oman trading links were first established. This route was important to the development of Oman and is appropriate for this historic voyage,' said Dharmesh A. Khimji, Managing Director, Mistal - Ajit Khimji Group.
Hilary, who is paralysed from the neck down, became one of Britain’s best-known sailors in 2009 when she sailed solo around Britain to set a new disabled record.
Since she started sailing 11 years ago, Hilary who suffers from degenerative disease Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy has felt a strong calling to the ocean and although she has never spent more than 36 hours at sea before, this latest Mumbai to Muscat test is her most exciting yet.
'This is a big challenge in terms of personal endurance and navigating large stretches of water and being responsible for myself and other people as well,' she said.
'But I can’t wait. I love the ocean and feel a huge call to it. I also feel it’s a huge privilege to make this voyage, especially with Nashwa who will be the first Omani woman to make an oceanic passage and that makes me feel very privileged.'
Nashwa, an Omani dinghy instructor at Oman Sail who last November won the ISAF President Development Award for outstanding achievement in the development of sailing, said:
'I will be the first Arab woman to do this so if I reach Oman safely, this will be a record. I’m very excited. My friends and family keep asking me why I am doing this but the truth is I love sailing and one day want to sail solo so this is a small step towards my big dream.'
The two female sailors will be accompanied onboard by Oman Sail’s Niall Myant, a qualified Yachtmaster with extensive offshore sailing experience, who will help in the event of an emergency and a carer to attend to Hilary’s medical needs. Neither will assist in the sailing of the boat.