Geoff completed his Atlantic sail 25 years after being paralyzed and kicks off ExplorersWeb 2010.
Geoff Holt completed his Atlantic sail 25 years after being paralyzed

Posted: Jan 08, 2010 05:54 pm EST
I want my arrival to be a celebration of the past 25 years, Geoff stated in his blog before arriving in Tortola, British Virgin Islands on 7 January.

Geoff, his carer Susana, and a photographer Digby, successfully crossed the Atlantic. They left from Lanzarote, one of the Canary Islands in the beginning of December 2009 in a 60 ft, purpose-built, wheelchair-accessible catamaran.

Last minute problems

With 500 miles to go to the end, the boats generator failed.

Geoff reported, Despite efforts by Susana to find the fault, it looks serious. The boat depends entirely on electricity to run its complex electronic and hydraulic systems.

The backup electrical supply is an alternator on the starboard engine but this uses 5 times the fuel and we have only enough fuel for another 8 battery charges.

All electronics are therefore being switched off to save power and fuel in order to have sufficient to navigate the difficult arrival in Tortola. The autopilot has also been switched off and I am manually steering the vessel with some difficulty.

Geoff made a diversion for the coast of Antigua to collect fuel from an offshore vessel and then rejoined their course to Tortola.

A celebration

Geoff wrote in his latest blog, I want my arrival to be a celebration of the past 25 years not, as someone asked recently, "will it give you closure"? What? Closure? That infers I somehow regret or lament the past 25 years. Absolutely not.

Were it not for the accident, I would not have met Elaine, had Timothy or had such a wonderful life so, closure? No. Celebration? Yes.

And any tears will be tears of joy not tears of regret or sadness.

Life is too short to worry about what "might have been" or waiting for some "miracle cure" for Spinal Cord injury, there's a magnificent world out there and I'm both honoured and humbled to have had the opportunity to put together this great project; the Atlantic was everything I had hoped it would be and just as I remembered it from all those years ago.

Geoff Holt sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, from Lanzarote, one of the Canary Islands, to Cane Garden Bay in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. He handled the boat all by himself while sitting in his wheelchair. A carer, Susana Scott helped Geoff with his personal activities.

By the age of 18, Geoff had sailed in excess of 30,000 miles at sea, including 3 trans-Atlantic crossings and several solo voyages. His career was cut short in 1984 by a life changing accident which left him paralysed from the chest down. Diving into shallow water broke his neck causing a complete spinal cord injury and he has used a wheelchair ever since.

Sailing has given me so much in my life. It was my livelihood before my accident and it was to be my saviour after it. The freedom I experience on the sea is like no other; I am free of my wheelchair and free of my disability. When I am on the water, it makes me feel alive and any sailor, regardless of their ability, will know exactly that same feeling. Sailing is my life, says Geoff on his website.

Twenty-three years after Geoffs accident, on 5 September 2007, he crossed the finishing line of what he had called his Personal Everest. He had sailed 1,500 miles in 109 days single-handed around Great Britain. Geoff became the first disabled person to do so.

He wrote a book about the experience, Walking on Water with the sub-title A voyage around Britain and through life, published by Seafarer Books. Click here to read more about the book.

Geoff Holt was born in 1966 and lives in Hampshire, UK. He is married to Elaine and they have a 7-year old son Timothy. Geoff added, Elaine was my nurse in hospital which is where we met; weve been married 23 years.

As a hobby he enjoys sea fishing. Geoffs favourite book is The god delision by Richard Dawkins, Im a big fan, he added.
The movie Geoff likes best is Deep Water, A true story of Donald Crowhurst in the 1968 round the world yacht race tragic but incredible story, says Geoff.
He has two food favourites seafood paella and curry (chicken tikka jalfrezi)
As for music Geoff loves everything from mid 70s to mid 80s which includes disco, punk and new romantics. I guess Michael Jackson if I had to pick just one.

Geoff is doing this voyage to raise funds for the Ellen MacArthur Trust. Click here to donate.

The boat Impossible Dream is a wheelchair accessible yacht owned by the charity Sporting Activities for the Disabled. Manufactured by Multimarine near Plymouth in the UK, she is a custom-built design with push-button technology allowing Geoff to navigate and sail the boat using his sailing skills and experience, without relying on his physical ability.
LOA 18m
Beam 8.25m
Draft: 1.14m
Displacement: 13,500kg
Engines: 2x 70hp saildrive Volvos
Construction: Carbon vacuum foam sandwich

#Oceans #Medical