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8 February 2007, 10:51 am
Royal Launch For Personal Everest Challenge
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Disabled Sailing News

On Wednesday 21 March, disabled yachtsman Geoff HOLT will launch his challenge to be the first disabled person to sail solo around the coast of Great Britain, a voyage of over 1,600 miles. The launch of the Personal Everest Challenge is to be held at Surrey Docks Watersports Centre, London in the presence of HRH the Princess Royal.
HOLT, aged 40, who has been wheelchair bound since a swimming accident in 1984, when he was just 18 years old, describes the challenge as his 'Personal Everest'. Prior to his accident, HOLT was one of the youngest charter skippers in the Caribbean, sailing over 27,000 miles between the ages of 15 and 18, including three transatlantic crossings and several solo voyages.

At the launch in London HOLT will exhibit his specially modified Challenger trimaran dinghy in which he will undertake his epic voyage and will also announce further details of his programme for the event.

Mid-May Start

The Personal Everest Challenge will commence in mid-May 2007 and is expected to take about fifty days to complete. Not only sailing to fulfil a personal lifelong ambition, Hampshire based HOLT will also be raising awareness and funds for RYA Sailability, a British charity which helps provide opportunities for disabled people to go sailing. The Princess Royal will be in attendance as patron of RYA Sailability.

HOLT commented, 'I'm under no illusions what a difficult challenge this is. Sailing eight hours a day consecutively for 50 days is going to be a test of my mental agility, as well as the physical demands that I will be placed under. Thankfully I have a fabulous support team around me and we have planned for every eventuality.

'I am delighted that law firm Blake Lapthorn Tarlo Lyons has agreed to sponsor my Personal Everest. Without their backing I would not have been able to attempt this unique challenge.

'I have also received backing in terms of equipment and clothing from Henri-Lloyd, Marinetrack and Raymarine, and I am confident that I shall be equipped with the best gear available for this tough challenge.'

Walter Cha, Managing Partner of Blake Lapthorn Tarlo Lyons, commented, 'We all face massive personal challenges and Geoff's 'Personal Everest' will, I am sure, inspire us to face up to our own individual challenges no matter how great or small . We are delighted to be involved, and we look forward to welcoming Geoff back after a successful voyage.'

Providing Inspiration

Whilst at the Surrey Docks Watersports Centre, the Princess Royal will be given a guided tour of Tideway Sailability who are based at the Centre and who provide sailing opportunities for disabled people in the London area.

'I hope that by attempting this Challenge it will provide inspiration and motivation to other disabled people,' HOLT continued. 'Hopefully some of those people will see that sailing is not only accessible to them, regardless of their disability, but it allows them to integrate with able-bodied sailors in a safe and healthy environment. I also hope that the general public can see that when provided with the opportunity, we can all achieve our own Personal Everest. That may not necessarily be sailing around the UK, but it could be having the motivation to try something outside of our normal comfort zone.'

Supporters can find more information on HOLT's challenge and follow his progress on the event website - www.personaleverest.com.

For all the news on Disabled Sailing CLICK HERE.

Susan Preston Davis (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Geoff HOLT training in his Challenger Trimaran:© Personal Everest
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