Quadriplegic sailor hoping to inspire others by circumnavigating the UK

Geoff Holt will raise money for charity during his journey from London which should take a month.

Quadriplegic sailor Geoff Holt will circumnavigate the UK for charity.
Quadriplegic sailor Geoff Holt will circumnavigate the UK for charity.

A record-breaking quadriplegic sailor is hoping to inspire others with disabilities by taking on the challenge of circumnavigating the UK while raising money for charity.

Geoff Holt, 58, told the PA news agency he will set sail from London on Monday May 13 and expects to take at least a month to cover the distance of just under 1,600 miles.

Mr Holt said: “I’m excited but nervous. I’m watching the weather forecasts on a daily basis and I’m under no illusion, it’s a huge adventure to undertake. I’m excited but I just want to get on with it now.”

Geoff Holt MBE expects his challenge to take at least a month
Geoff Holt MBE expects his challenge to take at least a month

Mr Holt and a small team will travel around the coast clockwise, calling at 17 accessible ports to raise funds for his charity Wetwheels Foundation, which takes disabled people to sea in purpose-built, fully accessible motor boats.

The sailor was paralysed in a swimming accident in 1984 and uses a wheelchair.

In 2007 he became the first severely disabled person to sail single-handed around Great Britain and in 2009 he sailed across the Atlantic Ocean unassisted.

The following year he was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth II for services to disabled sailing.

Mr Holt said the biggest challenge of his circumnavigation around the UK will be facing rough waters.

“With bigger waves, particularly up the west coast of the country, with North Atlantic swells, the boat will take a bit of a smashing, and I’ll be sitting in a wheelchair being thrown about,” he said.

“I am secured to the boat, I’m not going anywhere, but even so it’s quite an impact.”

His challenge, called Finishing The Dream, will be Mr Holt’s final adventure in an accessible Wetwheels boat, and he hopes to inspire other people with disabilities.

“I think by going around Britain, I’ll be raising awareness of what someone with a disability like mine can achieve if you set your mind to it, and also hopefully inspire others to think, ‘I fancy a go at that myself’,” he said.

“From a personal point of view, I want people to see someone who’s 40-years post severe injury, somebody who needs 24-hour care, and that you can follow your dreams.

Mr Holt beside a Wetwheels boat
Mr Holt beside a Wetwheels boat (Wetwheels Foundation/PA)

“I’m promoting the removal of barriers to obstacles, whether it’s work, transport, or active participation on boats, for example with Wetwheels, it’s about following your dreams and it takes time.

“You need determination to do it and hopefully people will see me doing it, and just by seeing me will realise that actually, someone like me, it is possible and it may just help inspire others to do something.

“It may not be getting on the water of course, some people it may just be getting out of bed in the morning and for me that will be an achievement, if I know that it’s helping others.”

To follow Mr Holt’s progress and donate visit