Geoff Holt hopes to become the first disabled sailor to sail singlehanded around GB 4/1/07

In less than five months time, disabled yachtsman Geoff Holt will set sail in what is being billed as the ‘Everest of all sailing challenges’.

Completely paralysed from the chest down, Holt will leave his wheelchair behind on dry land as he embarks on an epic 50-day adventure in his bid to become the first disabled sailor to sail singlehanded 1,600 miles around Great Britain. SailingFreethinkerhis specially modified 15ft trimaran dinghy, he will set off in a westerly direction from the Isle of Wight in mid-May 2007.

Sailing for eight hours a day, he will be supported on the water by a fully crewed rescue craft and will spend each night ashore in his wheelchair accessible motorhome with his personal care proved by his wife Elaine.

Holt commented: “It would be difficult to overstate the complexities of putting together a project like this; the logistics are simply enormous. From organising the stop-over venues to identifying the right support craft and crew, it would be difficult enough were I not disabled. There will be approximately six people in the team, each with their own area of expertise. Compared to the planning, I think the sailing is going to be the easy bit.”

As an experienced yachtsman, Holt is well aware of the potential difficulties that lay ahead. Apart from the obvious dangers at sea like waves, commercial shipping and submerged obstacles, Holt faces many personal difficulties brought about by his disability with the risk of pressure sores, fatigue and exposure to name but a few.

One key appointment has already been made, that of Ian Clover as Project Manager. As a Yachtmaster Ocean Instructor running his own RYA Sea School, his experience and skills are going to be invaluable to the success of the project.

A title sponsor has also been found and a full announcement will be made within the next few weeks. “I’m delighted to have found a Title Sponsor” continues Holt, “now it means the Project can definitely go ahead. The next five months are going to fly by and although we have the funding, there is still much work to be done, including identifying the right yacht to act as “mothership”. Were it not for the many supporting sponsors and the goodwill of everyone involved, I’m not sure we would be in such a strong position to not only attempt such a Challenge, but complete it too.”

The Personal Everest Challenge gets under way mid May 2007.