Geoff Holt Celebrates His Atlantic Crossing With a Painkiller (or two!)

by admin on January 15, 2010

Geoff enjoys a Painkiller and gives his book "Walking on Water" to Pusser's as a token of his appreciation for the Painkiller Welcome Reception the night before.

Geoff enjoys a Painkiller and gives his book "Walking on Water" to Pusser's as a token of his appreciation for the Painkiller Welcome Reception the night before.

Geoff Holt, after a 28-day, 2,700-mile voyage, recently become the first quadriplegic to sail solo across the Atlantic.

Sailing Impossible Dream, a 60-foot specially built catamaran, he completed his voyage on Thursday, January 7th after setting off from Lanzarote in the Canary Islands on December 10, 2009. On his arrival at Tortola he was given a hero’s welcome by hundreds of wellwishers. The BVI governor and deputy prime minister also turned out to greet Geoff. All of us at Pusser’s were very pleased to throw him a Painkiller Welcome Party on the dock at Manuel Reef Marina, the home of the BVI’s Sailability programme and the BVI Watersports Centre.

Geoff had been expected to arrive in Tortola on December 27, but unhelpful weather and mechanical problems delayed them (he had a non-sailing carer and videographer onboard with him). Five hundred miles from the finish line the generator on Impossible Dream stopped working properly, leaving Geoff having to work the hi-tech yacht manually.

It also meant he couldn’t cook anything onboard in order to save vital fuel.

Geoff’s historic voyage has been extensively covered in the UK including a live broadcast on BBC News when he arrived at Cane Garden Bay and in major newspapers.

The Daily Telegraph reported: “Poignantly, he returned to the exact scene of the diving accident that paralysed him 26 years ago – Cane Garden Bay, on Tortola island.

“The arrival has been everything I expected and more,” Holt said.

“The welcoming committee has been amazing, I am surrounded by a flotilla of boats and yachts that have all come out to meet me. It’s emotional and I have a tear in my eye.”

This is the fourth time Holt has sailed the Atlantic, but the first time since the accident in 1984.

Congratulations Geoff from the entire Pusser’s crew!

Geoff’s Bio

By the age of 18, Geoff had sailed in excess of 30,000 miles at sea, including three trans-Atlantic crossings and several solo voyages. His career was cut short in 1984 by a life changing accident which left him paralysed from the chest down. Diving into shallow water broke his neck causing a complete spinal cord injury and he has used a wheelchair ever since.

He has remained passionate about sailing and keen to support any initiative which provides sailing opportunities to other disabled people. In 1995, Geoff was a founding Trustee of the national disabled sailing charity RYA Sailability and now, through a network of more than 150 Sailability clubs and groups, more than 20,000 disabled people a year experience the freedom of sailing in the UK.

For more than 15 years he headed up regional marketing teams for two of the world’s largest firms of accountants. He holds a degree in Fine Art Valuation and has sat on just about every sailing committee representing disabled sailing both nationally and internationally.

More than 20 years after his accident, Geoff became the first disabled person to sail single-handed around Great Britain in an expedition he called Personal Everest.

“Sailing has given me so much in my life. It was my livelihood before my accident and it was to be my saviour after it. The freedom I experience on the sea is like no other; I am free of my wheelchair and free of my disability. When I am on the water, it makes me feel alive and any sailor, regardless of their ability, will know exactly that same feeling. Sailing is my life.” says Geoff.

On his return from Personal Everest, Geoff published his autobiography Walking on Water to critical acclaim.

Personal Atlantic was his latest adventure and raised funds for The Ellen MacArthur Trust.

For more information: http://www.geoffholt.com

Photos courtesy of Todd VanSickle

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