“We took nearly a 1000 people out on the water... spreading the message of accessing the water.”
All Rounder Profile: Geoff Holt
Geoff Holt MBE was a professional yachtsman with many ocean crossings under his belt until he was paralysed in a swimming accident in 1984.
Today he commits much of his life engaging others in his passion for making the sea accessible to everyone.
Geoff was appointed a Raymarine Ambassador in 2007, after choosing to equip his specially modified Challenger trimaran dinghy with vital autopilot and navigational equipment which helped him to achieve his 'Personal Everest' when he became the first disabled sailor to sail solo around the coast of Great Britain. It was a monumental undertaking for someone who is paralysed from the chest down.
MBE & YACHTSMAN OF THE YEAR
Since then, Geoff has sailed unassisted across the Atlantic, a 2,700-mile trip from the Canary Islands to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. Raymarine ensured the navigation and communications electronic equipment aboard Geoff’s 60ft (18m) catamaran, Impossible Dream, could be easily operated either by remote control or rotary controls, as Geoff has no fine finger movement.
In 2010 Geoff was awarded an MBE for “services to disabled sailing” and, in the same year, he was named Yachtsman of the Year.
In 2011 Geoff founded the Wetwheels organisation. Wetwheels builds disabled people's confidence and improves wellbeing, by providing the opportunity to access the sea in a safe, stimulating and rewarding way on purpose-built, specially-adapted boats. There are now five Wetwheels boats in the fleet, all 9 metre power catamarans. With a full Raymarine navigation system on-board, Wetwheels boats cater for disabled people of all ages, all of whom have the opportunity to drive the boat. Other activities include fishing expeditions and adventure tours. The Wetwheels Solent boat played a part in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, the Olympics, the Paralympics and the Americas Cup series.
“When I conceived the Wetwheels” said Geoff, “the idea was to build powerboats capable of giving some of the most vulnerable people in our society the opportunity to go to sea and actually drive a powerboat, top of my list was safety and reliability. It is critical that the marine electronics on these boats is both safe and reliable, there is no room for compromise. Having used Raymarine electronics for two of my record-breaking adventures, there was never any question that I would want Raymarine to equip our fleet. Not only do we have the very latest in navigation technology enabling us to see above, and below the water, but we are looking at new technologies that make it easier for our disabled participants to navigate and steer themselves”.