Geoff had already accomplished much by the time he was eighteen years old. He had sailed across the Atlantic Ocean three times, completed several solo voyages and sailed over 30,000 nautical miles. And then his life changed. All hopes, dreams and expectations of earning his livelihood as a professional yachtsman were destroyed after diving into the Caribbean Sea and breaking his neck.
Geoff spent a year in hospital and then, with characteristic spirit, he retrained in a different career and went on to lead the marketing department of an international firm for 12 years, but eventually returned to his first love of sailing.
Geoff entered the history books in 2007 when he sailed solo around Great Britain.
In January 2010, Geoff became the first quadriplegic to sail unassisted across the Atlantic. The 3,000mile journey took four weeks to complete sailing a purpose-built 60ft catamaran ‘Impossible Dream’.
In June 2010, Geoff was awarded an MBE for services to disabled sailing and then in early 2011, Geoff received the coveted YJA Pantaenius Yachtsman of the Year that Geoff considers the ‘Knighthood of Yachting.’
Geoff is passionate about creating opportunities for others facing their own challenges in life through a long association with the Paralympics and the charity RYA Sailability of which he was the inaugural Chairman and Trustee commencing in 1995.
He represented the UK on the International Disabled Sailing Committee and was Chairman of the RYA’s Paralympic Steering Committee that selected the Gold medal winning team in the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics. Geoff was a member of the current Paralympic Steering Committee who selected athletes for the 2012 Paralympic sailing competition.
Geoff is a member of the RYA Council as voted for by the membership and he is also a member of the RYA’s Board.
Most recently Geoff has designed and built Wetwheels, the world’s first wheelchair accessible powerboat so disabled people can have an opportunity to try powerboating. Based at Portsmouth, the 30ft catamaran regularly takes groups of disabled people for rides in the Solent through the Wetwheels Charitable Fund.
Geoff is passionate about “giving back” and supporting community and charitable initiatives where possible.
"I am delighted to support this amazing project. Mental Health issues are a root cause of many related illnesses and circumstances which are prevalent in our society today and anything which can shed a light on those issues and help support those suffering should be applauded".
Geoff Holt MBE DL
We are delighted that Geoff is supporting Row Britannia and will be visiting Portsmouth University on the 13th January between 10am and 1130am.