News & Blog



Quadriplegic Adventurer Geoff Holt MBE DL Sets Sail on Challenge to Circumnavigate the UK on a Cheetah Powercat

After months of planning and preparation, quadriplegic adventurer Geoff Holt MBE DL set sail from St Katherine’s Dock in London today in a record breaking first-of-its-kind challenge.

On his ‘Finishing the Dream’ journey Geoff and his team will circumnavigate the UK coastline in a fully-accessible Cheetah Marine power catamaran to raise £1.2m for charity Wetwheels Foundation. Over the next 4-6 weeks, their route will call at 17 accessible ports across the country to raise awareness of the charity.

The Wetwheels Foundation offers unique opportunities for disabled people of all ages – including those with multiple, profound and complex impairments – to access the water in custom boats designed specifically for wheelchair access. Guests are active participants, rather than simply passengers, with the opportunity to steer the vessel and learn seamanship alongside peers, friends and families.

The charity has amassed a fleet of 8 vessels around the UK and hopes to add another 4 boats as a result of the funds raised in this challenge. These boats will help the Wetwheels Foundation reach an additional 5,000 disabled people each year, offering life-changing experiences on the water through accessible boating.

Geoff was paralysed in a swimming accident in 1984 and has spent 40 years in a wheelchair facing and overcoming often unimaginable challenges. He has dedicated his life to providing access to the sea for disabled people, demonstrating that there are no limits to what we can achieve. In 2007 he became the first severely disabled person to sail single-handed around Great Britain. In 2009, he was the first quadriplegic to sail across the Atlantic Ocean unassisted.

He was awarded an MBE for Services to Sailing in 2010 and named ‘Yachtsman of the Year’ shortly after. Along with being a patron and ambassador for several charities and motivational speaker, Geoff set up his own charity in 2011, The Wetwheels Foundation, to enable disabled people to access the sea barrier-free in purpose-built, state-of-the-art motorboats. ‘Finishing the Dream’ will be Geoff’s final disability adventure.

Today is the start of the next chapter in my life and possibly my biggest challenge to date. Having spent 40 years in a wheelchair, paralysed from the chest down, the sea has been my salvation, the freedom and independence I get when I am afloat, I can forget about my disability. I have devoted most of my life to promoting the opportunities and benefits sailing offers disabled people and now this is my opportunity to spread that message throughout the United Kingdom.”

“The 1,500 mile journey will be a test for not only my physical endurance but also a mental challenge as I juggle the logistics of navigating through some of the most dangerous and congested waters in the world. Only when I cross the finish line back in London and we hit our fundraising targets, will I allow myself to relax. Hopefully, by demonstrating that a quadriplegic, 40 years paralysed from the chest down, still has the ability to achieve his dreams will inspire more disabled people to find out about Wetwheels and support the amazing work we do.”

Geoff was joined by the Lord Mayor of London, Michael Mainelli, as his team set off from St. Katharine’s Dock this morning, passing through the iconic skyline of Tower Bridge.

“I’m delighted to see Geoff and his team set off on this remarkable challenge for an inspiring cause in which my mayoral theme Connect to Prosper Experiment Series will play a part. Throughout the journey, Geoff and the team will be sampling and collecting microplastics along the UK coastline as part of the Suzuki Clean Ocean Project.

As one of the greatest threats to our oceans and marine wildlife which is worth more than $1.5tn to world economies per year, it’s integral that the City of London is at the forefront of tackling the challenge of microplastics and providing a hub for thought leaders to connect. Wetwheels’ work at the forefront of scientific advances that drive improvements of our environment while meeting its incredible objective of opening the water for those who otherwise are unable to access it, is an inspiration to us all.”

To follow Geoff’s journey, please visit ‘Finishing the Dream’. To show support, donations can be made via the team’s Just Giving page.

With Thanks To the Wetwheels Foundation’s Partners:

Stelios Philanthropic Foundation | RS Marine Group | Hugh James | Raymarine