Disabled sailor pulls off tricky solo entrance into Salcombe

Quadriplegic sailor, Geoff Holt, arrived in Falmouth yeserday afternoon, Sunday June 3, for the first Cornish stopover of his bid to sail round the coast of Great Britain aboard his Challenger trimaran.

Geoff left Southampton two weeks ago, stopping at Lymington, Portland, Bridport and Brixham, where he and his team were weather bound for over a week before setting off again last Friday, sailing from Brixham to Salcolmbe and then on to Plymouth on Saturday.

 The sail into Salcombe was not without its problems, said Geoff:

‘A spring tide at full ebb (going westwards) coupled with the southerly wind created a very localised sea state consisting of very high, very steep swells rolling into the entrance. They were certainly high enough to cause concern and it was an hour before we could make our course.

‘A matter of hours later the collar at the base of my mast sheered its rivets and the whole mast dropped into its box, a potentially dangerous situation if it worked its way through the hull. The RIB crew went into emergency procedures and within 5 minutes the rubber tender was launched and Ian had dropped the mainsail, not an easy feat in rolling seas and a good force 3 blowing. To prevent matters from getting worse, Ian remained in the support tender slung between my main hull and starboard sponson whilst holding the boom to prevent further damage – then followed a slow tow the final hour into Plymouth.

‘Once ashore, we took the mast out to see the problem, a plastic collar supporting the entire weight of the mast with only 2 rivets and a stainless steel wedge glued in place to prevent it slipping, had sheered and slid up the mast about 6 inches – a poor design that could have ripped the side of my hull out had we not acted quicker.’

To track Geoff’s progess around Great Britain, see www.personaleverest.com