His voyage is far more remarkable than the headlines suggest, says Elaine Bunting
Geoff Holt, who is quadriplegic, yesterday completed a voyage round Britain in his 22ft Challenger trimaran. Sounds tough, doesn’t it? But believe me, the headlines don’t in any way cover the immensity of Holt’s feat, which was a team effort of remarkable proportions.
Every day that the weather and, more importantly the sea state, was suitable – that is, when the forecast wind was 17 knots or under – Geoff set out to chew off another chunk of the 1,400-mile journey. If the wind was over 17 knots, Holt and project manager Ian Clover judged that he would not have enough physical strength to control the boat. Only some of Geoff’s arm muscles work.
Each day that he sailed, it took about an hour to get him into his boat and set up to sail; at the end of the day it was another hour to get Geoff out and put his catamaran Freethinker to bed. On some days he would sail for ten hours, braving the cold (Geoff is unable to regulate his body temperature properly) and pressure sores. “I can really only sail for 8-10 hours without suffering,” he admits.
Read more about the challenges Geoff faced on my blog.