Tag Archives: geoff holt

Dreaming with Adventurous Wheels — Cuba Journey: The Impossible Dream

From cruise ships to fishing boats, there has been some outstanding accessible ships built over the last two decades, but in the world of yachts, few have been given the full accessible treatment, which is exactly what makes the Impossible Dream so extraordinary.

Initially created in England by Mike Browne, a paraplegic injured in a skiing accident, he decided to build the Impossible Dream, a 60ft catamaran, so he could sail independently. The ship was also captained by Geoff Holt in 2010 when he became the first quadriplegic to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

  

But after owning it for 10 years, he wanted others to experience it so he sold it to Deborah Mellen, a paraplegic living in Miami, who had fallen in love with adapted sailing post-injury after being introduced to the sport by Shake-a-Leg (a Miami-based adapted sailing organization). It was fate the way the boat ended up in her hands.

After discovering sailing, she wanted to help acquire a larger ship for Shake-a-Leg. When she found out the Impossible Dream was for sale, she bought it on the spot after taking a tour.

The Impossible Dream is impressive. It has state-of-the-art controls and a fully accessible cockpit with a knob on the helm for easier steering and push button sail hoists allowing anyone to raise the sails. The ship has a stunning 85 foot mast as well to accommodate the boat’s width of 27’.

 

It also has a large remote that controls sheeting and furling from the anywhere on the boat. And if the weather is nice, there are two outside accessible driving stations/helms on each side of the boat.

                         

And that is just the steering controls. Another impressive accessible feature is the continuous single level deck that goes around the entirety of the ship and accommodates up to 8 wheelchair-users. It also has 4 titanium wheelchair lifts that go to two accessible hulls. Within these levels you’ll find four cabins. All four cabins are wheelchair accessible and each hull (port and starboard) has a lift accessing the cabins and heads (bathrooms).  

And the galley area too is fully accessible with lower counters, cabinets, and a refrigerator all within easy reach.

After Deborah acquired the Impossible Dream, she was compelled to change the name to the Possible Dream, wanting people to see the possibilities of what can be achieved when it comes to accessibility on the water. Partnering with Shake-a-Leg-Miami, and Harry Horgan its founder, also a paraplegic, the two have been bringing the excitement of yachting to people with disabilities from its new port in Miami since 2013.

Last July, the crew, along with Deborah and Harry, brought the ship to several ports along the East coast to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and they had the honor of giving President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara a ride. Deborah and Harry’s most recent adventure was sailing the ship in the Conch Republic Cup, where they sailed from Key West to Cuba, finishing second and third in different divisions.

There are so many more adventures lying in wait for this amazing catamaran. With our founder Josh and crew scheduled to sail the Impossible Dream back to Cuba this Sunday, we can’t wait to hear more about the true awesomeness of this one-of-a-kind yacht.

Learn more about the Impossible Dream here

View more pics of the Impossible Dream here

Watch the video!

Dr. Mitchell Tepper visits The Impossible Dream @ Shake-A-Leg Miami

Adaptive Sailing and brave sailors

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If you have sturdy stomach and a sense of adventure, adaptive sailing is one of the most thrilling sports to explore after an injury. Peaceful, beautiful, and incredibly challenging, the para and quad sailors of the world can’t get enough of it. And it’s no wonder, there’s magic in them there waters.

And let’s not forget, adaptive sailing is also an official Paralympic sport. You will find dedicated disabled yachtsmen and sailors all over the globe. The sport truly has become an awesome fusion of ancient knowledge and modern technology. Check out our three videos showing some of the bravest sailors with spinal cord injuries we could find.

Now if you’ve ever dreamed of running off by yourself into the Great Outdoors, this video is for you. Meet Jordan, a 20 something paraplegic, who was injured back in 2000 snowboarding. Since last August, he left his home Oregon for an epic road trip, and has been on the road since. He sleeps in his Jeep Wagoneer and has been all over the country and made hundreds of videos documenting his adventure. Visit his site

Jordan’s ultimate goal however is to use his road trip to get him sponsorship to purchase a sailboat one day, where he wants to take off from Hawaii for more epic adventures. He totally reminds me of Gizzly Adams or Jon Krakauer and his book “Into the Wild.” In this particularly cool video he’s made, watch him sail Lake Tahoe with his dog, and make a pit-stop to make coffee on his boat

Another jaw-droppingly talented sailor with a spinal cord injury is famous yachtsman and Member of the Order of the British Empire (award to him in 2010) Geoff Holt. He’s also a member of SPINALpedia – wetwheels – and has been a C6 quadriplegic since breaking his neck in 1984 in a swimming accident in Tortuga (an island in the Caribbean) when he was 18.

He spent several years on land, but eventually got back into sailing, operating a sailboat by himself with the help of electronic controls, and sometimes his wife who comes along on some of his voyages. In 2007, he become the first quadriplegic yachtsman to sail solo around Great Britain, and in 2010 he set an even more impressive record – and became the first quad to sail across the Atlantic. How does he do it? Watch this awesome video showing him and his wife on day 8 of their Atlantic crossing

And the last video – a custom accessible yacht. That’s right, a gorgeous yacht made to work perfectly for a captain who can’t walk, and the lengths at how accessible this boat is quite impressive. In this video of the Verity K, a ship docked in the UK, watch Mike Wood, a C6 quad, give a tour of his accessible yacht

The boat has a side cut-out, enabling him to wheel right on, and there’s also a lift to bring him below deck. The kitchen, the bedrooms, he can reach it all (disabled sailors all over the world are salivating for this thing). Take a tour of the Verity K

Adaptive sailing, despite the expense and difficulty, is without question worth every cent and bead of sweat. It’s definitely for the hardcore quads and paras of the world, those who choose adrenaline over comfort, and we love them for it. Watching these men sail completely unlimited definitely lifts the spirit.

Find an adaptive sailing program near you

Have you went to an adaptive sailing program? Where have you tried adaptive sailing?

Watch the videos!

On-the-road paraplegic Jordan adatpive sailing solo with his dog

Profile of the amazing Geoff Holt, British yachtsman, first quadriplegic to cross the Atlantic Ocean

Tour of an accessible yacht