Quadriplegic sailor to cross the pond

The first quadriplegic yachtsman to sail solo around Britain has set his sights on a transatlantic crossing.

Geoff Holt, 43, broke his neck when he dived into shallow water at the age of 18. He said: ‘I last sailed the Atlantic just before my accident.’

Geoff will leave the Solent for the Canary Islands at the end of October, departing for Tortola at the beginning of December.

‘It’s not about being disabled. It’s not about sailing the Atlantic Ocean,’ he said. ‘It’s about demonstrating that disability need not be a barrier to achieving something positive in your life.’

Geoff will sail the 60ft catamaran Impossible Dream singlehanded, but will have a personal assistant alongside him to help with day-to-day tasks like getting out of his wheelchair and having a shower, but she will not take part in any sailing.

The yacht, owned by the charity Sporting Activities for the Disabled, is a unique craft, and one of the few suitable for the voyage. It is operated by push-button technology, allowing Geoff to sail it completely by himself.

‘A few months ago I went to Malta and sailed it for the first time,’ he said. ‘It was quite stunning, doing it on my own. It is the only one I know of which is up to sailing across the Atlantic.’

In 2007, Geoff became the first disabled sailor to sail single-handed around Great Britain, an epic journey that took him a total of 109 days to complete.

Geoff Holt’s website