Geoff Holt capsizes minutes into his Personal Everest round Britain challenge 14/5/07

On a wind swept morning with wind speeds gusting up to 24 knots a huge crowd gathered at The Royal Southern Yacht Club to see quadriplegic sailor, Geoff Holt, off on his solo sail around Britain. Geoff’s round Great Britain challenge is supported by law firm Blake Lapthorn Tarlo Lyons, who are providing the funds to ensure that Geoff has the necessary back-up and equipment to make his Personal Everest attempt possible.

I was a guest of electronic equipment sponsors Raymarine who have provided Geoff Holt and his team with all the navigational electronics for his boat, the support vessel and the land and shore crew. It was a matter of minutes into the departure that the enormity of this voyage and the necessary safety measures and rescue procedures adopted by the team showed their worth.

TV crews and well-wishers formed a flotilla of craft and chased Geoff up the Hamble River which was to be his undoing. In the vicinity of Calshot Spit, spectator wash swamped his tiny trimaran sending Geoff out of his boat and into the waves. He was quickly picked up by his support boat, thankfully no worse for the ordeal. Geoff returned to the safety of Hamble and rightly so; his “Personal Everest” is not a race against the clock, it is to complete a monumental undertaking.

Geoff was asked if the incident has put him of the attempt; “No not at all, it is just a pity it happened with so many people here to see me off, I am determined to finish the task, however long it takes me.”

Holt’s attempt to be the first quadriplegic sailor to sail solo around Britain has been dealt a nasty blow early on but Geoff Holt has the resilience and tenacity of a boxer. He has got straight back up and will be off again as soon as possible.

Tactical weather expert, Mike Broughton commented: “It is a pity that Geoff didn’t get off today, as the forecast was for north-westerly winds giving fast reaching conditions but tomorrow, unfortunately, the weather looks likely to be fresh south westerly headwinds with a good deal of rain.”

Seeing the size of the boat and the extent of Geoff’s disability. Leaves you totally in awe of what he is trying to achieve. Today’s incident really brought home what an accomplishment it will be if he makes it all the way round.