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8 January 2010, 10:52 am
Geoff Holt Becomes First Quadriplegic To Cross The Atlantic
Geoff Holt arrives in Tortola
Geoff Holt arrives in Tortola

Disabled Sailing News

Geoff Holt arrival in Tortola yesterday made him the first quadriplegic to sail across the Atlantic.
Ellen MacArthur praised Geoff's determination: "Congratulations Geoff on what is a truly exceptional achievement. You had a dream, one that at first may have seemed impossible but through your courage, determination and a belief that you could succeed you have realised it and gone on to be an inspiration for us all. We wish you the very best for what will be an unforgettable New Year!"

It has taken 28 days in total from his departure in Lanzarote to the arrival and emotional return to Cane Garden Bay where he will revisit the place of his accident that paralysed him 25 years ago.

This is the fourth time Geoff has sailed the Atlantic, but the first since his life changing accident in 1984 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.

Overall, the journey has been far from plain sailing, Geoff was most worried about sleep deprivation but he has faced a mountain of other challenges along the way. Engine problems just three days in meant an essential stop to the Cape Verde Islands and unexpected light prevailing winds made progress frustratingly slow for Geoff. It has also been emotionally straining having to spend Christmas and New Year apart from his Wife Elaine and seven year old Son Timmy.

Holt explains how he feels as he approaches Tortola: "The arrival has been everything I expected and more. The welcoming committee was amazing. When I arrived I was surrounded by a flotilla of boats and yachts that came out to meet me. It was extremely emotional and I had tears in my eyes as I neared the finish line."

Robin Knox-Johnson also shows his support: "What a tremendous thing to have completed. Geoff continues to raise the bar when it comes to sheer determination to allow nothing to stand in his way. I am so proud of his achievement."

Holt's family and friends have been flown out to meet him in Antigua by British Airways after he was awarded the flights through the BA Great Britons programme.

In 2007, Holt sailed his way into the record books when he became the first disabled yachtsman to sail single-handed around Great Britain. Holt hopes that his journey will raise awareness of the accomplishment of other disabled sportsmen and women and inspire others to push their own personal boundaries.

Impossible Dream, the boat Holt sailed across the Atlantic, belongs to Mike Brown, who competed in the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games.
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