Geoff Holt, Quadriplegic sailor to cross Atlantic..Canaries to Cane Garden Bay where he broke his neck 25 years ago

Quadriplegic Yachtsman Sailing Atlantic - Bon Voyage Geoff Holt!
Boating and Sailing News 10 Dec 2009

Canary Islands - Many Yacht Pals cross the pond each year, but this transat is quite special. Our friend Geoff Holt, known both for his historic sail around Britain and his work in creating the model for modern disabled sailing programs around the globe, has cast off from the Canaries, and is currently bound for the Spanish Main. When he makes it, he will be the first quadriplegic to solo the Atlantic Ocean. His aptly named 60 foot catamaran Impossible Dream is now making way on the 2700 mile journey, and a certain Caribbean beach is in for a rude Christmas present.

Geoff's goal is to cross the Atlantic, go back to the place where he was injured, and to show the beach - and the world - that he can do whatever he sets his mind to. If all goes as planned, Geoff will be arriving at Garden Bay in Tortola a few days after Christmas. This is the site of the accident which left him paralyzed at just 18 years of age. Geoff told YachtPals: "I want to sail back to the beach where I broke my neck. I know that sounds a little bit cliché - a bit cheesy - but that's where I lost my livelihood as a professional yachtsman, on Cane Garden Bay. It was taken away from me - I thought I'd never sail again."

"The next 25 years, a lot happened. I got sailing again, I got married, I started Sailability, I sailed around Great Britain. I've done a lot of work with disabled sailing, and there's something I just find very satisfying - very pleasing - about now doing the Atlantic again, 25 years after I last did it, but this time as a quadriplegic yachtsman. Sailing back to where it all happened, and going into Cane Garden Bay, and just dropping the anchor, and having a rum punch and thinking 'yeah, I've done it.' It's a metaphorical two fingers up [...] Screw you, beach!"

Though Geoff is sailing solo, he's not alone on board the catamaran Impossible Dream. His assistant, Susana Scott, will attend only to Geoff's medical needs, however, and not the sailing. Impossible Dream is entirely wheelchair accessible, and has been fitted out with some truly hi-tech gadgetry. In addition to Geoff's medical aide, there is also a cameraman on board Impossible Dream, there to document the voyage, and the fact that all the sailing and boat handling are done by Geoff alone. It is very important to Geoff to show the world that this epic voyage can be done by someone with his disabilities, and wanted to make it clear to YachtPals readers that the extra people on the boat "will not participate in sailing in any way."

Geoff's expecting to land right after Christmas, and we hope you will join us in wishing him the very best of luck both in crossing the Atlantic, and in his profane gestures. Without help, Geoff Holt cannot get himself dressed, or in and out of bed on his own. Yet once in his wheelchair aboard Impossible Dream, he is a sailor extraodinaire, capable of handling the complex 60 foot yacht with ease. Through the use of push buttons and hydraulics, this experienced skipper becomes master of his craft, and finds a freedom he can't in any other way. We wish Geoff Holt fair winds, following seas, and full satisfaction drinking his rum punch at Cane Garden Bay.

Related Links:

Geoff Holt Interview
Geoff Holt (all articles about and by Geoff Holt)
Impossible Dream (Geoff Holt's Boat Home Page with blogs, photos, videos and more about the boat)
Tracking Geoff Holt (tracking Geoff Holt's boat as he crosses the Atlantic)
Geoff Holt Profile (Geoff Holt's YachtPals member page)
Geoff Holt's Blog
Disabled Sailing
Geoff Holt on Hilary Lister's Dream (Geoff Holt writes for about Hilary Lister)
Hilary Lister
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You always post great stuff.
Thank you,
I'm sure the nay sayers will be all over this, like white on rice. We will hear a never ending list of reasons he shouldn't be doing this, and if he gets in trouble it will be even worse. The hell with that. Personally all I can say is good for him, and keep on keepin on.
wow good article---cane garden bay is sooo gorgeous in december......
you're preaching to the choir sister....sure is...sigh.. :-)


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