British sailor Geoff Holt has set out to become the first quadriplegic yachtsman to cross the Atlantic. The 42-year-old father became the first disabled yachtsman to sail around Great Britain in 2007 and has now departed the Spanish island of Lanzarote on his latest challenge, headed for Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.
"It feels good to finally be under way and off on my journey across the Atlantic," Hold said before setting off. "The weeks and months of planning are over and now I am facing 2,700 miles at sea. I am excited about what lies ahead, but naturally there are nerves, too. I am looking forward to returning to the beach in Tortola that I left in an ambulance 25 years ago. Back then I thought I would never sail again and now I will be returning in command of my own vessel."
In 1984, he was a stout 6-foot, 4-inch delivery skipper who injured himself diving headfirst into shallow water and has been in a wheelchair ever since.
Holt will spend Christmas away from his wife Elaine and 7-year-old son Tim. His family will fly out to meet him in Tortola where they will be reunited and celebrate a belated Christmas in the Caribbean.
Holt says he hopes that his voyage will inspire others and show that anything is possible.
"I've been living off the memories. I now want to relive the experience," he says.