After an inauspicious start last week, quadriplegic Geoff Holt sets out again on his 'Personal Everest' round Britain sail 21/5/07

Quadriplegic sailor, Geoff Holt, has resumed his attempt to be the first disabled person to sail around Great Britain.

Sailing his 15ft Challenger trimaran, Freethinker, Geoff sailed past the South Cardinal marker in Southampton Water at 1705 yesterday (Sunday 20th May) to start his round Great Britain challenge, which he describes as his ‘Personal Everest’.

“It’s a fantastic day to go sailing”, said Geoff as he sailed in to Southampton Water. “I am so pleased to be resuming my challenge although, I must say, it was a bit of shock when Ian, my Project Manager, told me at 0930 this morning that he thought the weather was right for me to start. We have been waiting for the weather window all the week and Ian had said we couldn’t start until at least Monday, so I was reading the Sunday paper and eating my toast when he arrived with the news that we could go today!”

By the time Geoff reached the Solent the wind had dropped and the tide was against him, but he arrived at the Lymington River at 2015 and was met by the Lymington Inshore Lifeboat and the Royal Lymington Yacht Club Committee Boat and a crowd of well-wishers greeted him on the dockside. “It’s great to be here for my first stopover”, he said. “I am so happy to be on my way at last”.

Geoff, aged 41 from Shedfield, Hampshire originally started from Southampton last Monday, after a farewell reception at the Royal Southern Yacht Club at Hamble, attended by hundreds of well-wishers. A flotilla of boats followed Geoff down the Hamble River and out in to the Solent, but his passage was cut short just a few minutes after the start, when the wash from spectator boats caused Geoff’s boat to broach and he was thrown into the sea.

The start of the challenge was abandoned while Geoff and his project team met with their equipment suppliers and made some modifications to some of his safety equipment . Since then Geoff has been waiting for a good weather window to resume his challenge.

” The weather since last Monday, the 14th, has been very windy, said Project Manager, Ian Clover. “We’ve made good use of the down time to work on a variety of measures, but the past two days we have been waiting for the weather and tracking its progress hourly. The weather was suitable for Geoff to start yesterday and we are pleased to be in Lymington and to have got the round Great Britain sail off to a good start. We had hoped to leave today for Portland, but with 25 knots of wind forecast for the Solent, we will have to wait until tomorrow. If weather conditions allow, Geoff will leave on the ebb tide at dawn”.