Holt Continues Atlantic Crossing - Sail Magazine

Holt Continues Atlantic Crossing

Nearly two weeks after setting out on a solo transatlantic voyage, British quadriplegic sailor Geoff Holt is back underway after seeking temporary shelter in the Cape Verde islands to refuel and repair his boat’s engines. On December 10, Holt set sail from the island of Lanzarote aboard the 60-foot catamaran Impossible Dream bound for Tortola and almost immediately encountered
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0
Holt0912_1_300w

Nearly two weeks after setting out on a solo transatlantic voyage, British quadriplegic sailor Geoff Holt is back underway after seeking temporary shelter in the Cape Verde islands to refuel and repair his boat’s engines.

On December 10, Holt set sail from the island of Lanzarote aboard the 60-foot catamaran Impossible Dream bound for Tortola and almost immediately encountered unseasonal headwinds from the southwest. The rough conditions further complicated things when contaminants in the fuel—stirred up by the lumpy seas—knocked out first his port, then his starboard engine, so that he could no longer motorsail to stay on schedule.

An onboard physical assistant, Susana Scott, who is not otherwise taking any part in the actual sailing of the vessel, did her best to keep the engines working, but with only partial success.

“The honeymoon period of calm seas after leaving Lanzarote is now a distant memory,” Holt reported shortly after getting underway. “The real debilitating factor is the sea state…. It is nothing too bad, at worst waves are only 2 meters and the Atlantic swells barely 3 meters. The problem is that it is a very confused sea, waves and swells coming from all directions and the wind is blowing directly on the starboard beam, not good for a lightweight catamaran. Impossible Dream is bobbing like a cork, pitching and yawing, snatching and jerking, her 60-foot length belying her skinny 17 tons as she gets picked up and slapped broadside by the seas.”

To make things worse, Holt also lost all his electronic wind instruments, making it extremely difficult to trim sails effectively after dark.

Holt0912_2_300w

After logging barely 500 miles in six days, Holt decided to alter course for the Cape Verde islands when he realized he was already running low on fuel—crucial to running the generator that powers the systems allowing Holt to handle Impossible Dream’s sails. The original plan had been to cover the 2,700 miles from Lanzarote to Tortola in about three weeks. Unfortunately, even making it to Cape Verde proved to be a challenge, due to yet more contrary winds.

“Here we go again, back on the rollercoaster ride and have been for the past 24 hours,” Holt reported on December 17, after making the decision to alter course. “We are still making for the Cape Verde islands on a course of 220 degrees, exactly the same direction the wind is blowing…. One of the engines is as good as dead as the fuel in that tank is now so concentrated with crap in the fuel we cannot run it any more. The other engine cannot rev above 1,100 revs for the same reason and is pushing us along at a paltry 2 knots. At this rate, our ETA in Cape Verde isles is early next week. Considering we left Lanzarote a week ago today, our progress has been dire.”

For all that, Holt has been maintaining his spirits, applauding Scott’s efforts to get the boat’s engines running again (Scott had essentially no previous sailing experience before setting out on Impossible Dream) as well as their success in catching fresh fish to supplement their rations.


A lifelong sailor with three Atlantic crossings to his credit by the age of 18, Holt was paralyzed from the neck down in 1984 in a diving accident. Although he is wheelchair bound and has only partial use of his arms, he has remained an avid sailor, becoming the first quadriplegic to sail single-handed around Great Britain in an expedition he called his “Personal Everest.”

For more on the voyage, visit www.geoffholt.com

Related

Stearns Photo

Racing the Solo Mac for a Cause

There are plenty of reasons to do a Chicago-Mac race, and Rich Stearns, who has done literally dozen of ‘em should know. This year, though, he’s doing the Solo-Mac for an especially important reason: to help those with prostate cancer.“Two years ago, I was diagnosed with prostate ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comRafting dangerOne unseen danger when sailing yachts lie alongside one another for a convivial night is that if they happen roll to a wash or begin to move in an unexpected sea, the spreaders can clash ...read more

180615-01 Lead

A Dramatic Comeback in the Volvo

After winning three of the last four legs in the Volvo Ocean Race (and coming in second in the fourth), Dutch-flagged Brunel is now tied for first overall with Spanish-flagged Mapfre and Chinese-flagged Dongfeng following the completion of Leg 10 from Cardiff, Wales, to ...read more

MFS-5-2018-Propan-SP02

Tohatsu LPG-powered 5hp Propane Motor

Gassing it UpTired of ethanol-induced fuel issues? Say goodbye to gasoline. Japanese outboard maker Tohatsu has introduced an LPG-powered 5hp kicker that hooks up to a propane tank for hours of stress-free running. Available in short-, long- or ultra-long-shaft versions, the ...read more

180612-01 Landing lead

Painful Sailing in Volvo Leg 10

It’s looking to be a case of feast or famine for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean fleet as it continues the epic struggle that has been Leg 10, with it having been all famine thus far. Painful is the only word to describe the light-air start in Cardiff, Wales, on June 10, as the 11-boat ...read more

01-13_07_180304_JRE_03695_4605

Tips From the Boatyard

Within the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard sits a communal sail loft which provides service and repairs for all seven teams sailing in the 2017-18 edition of the race. The sail loft employs only five sailmakers who look after 56 sails in each stopover. If you’re thinking, “wow, these ...read more

sailCarwBasicsJuly18

Sail Care for Cruisers

Taking care of your canvas doesn’t just save you money, it’s central to good seamanship  Knowing how to take care of your sails and how to repair them while at sea is an important part of overall seamanship. The last thing any sailor needs is to get caught on a lee shore with ...read more

Ship-container-2048

The Danger of a Collision Offshore

This almost happened to me once. I was sailing singlehanded between Bermuda and St. Martin one fall, and one night happened to be on deck looking around at just the right time. The moon was out, the sky was clear and visibility was good. Still, when I thought I saw a large ...read more