Raymarine provides navigational, communication, and safety equipment for trimaran, safety RIB and shore-based crew


Geoff Holt has been appointed as a Raymarine Ambassador, after choosing to equip his specially modified Challenger Trimaran with vital autopilot and navigational equipment to help him achieve his ‘Personal Everest’ of becoming the first disabled sailor to sail solo around the coast of Great Britain.

Geoff Holt has equipped his 15 foot Challenger Trimaran with Ryamarine’s ST4000 tiller pilot, which will provide him with much needed autopilot capability during the proposed eight-hour day sails. The expedition is anticipated to take around 50 days, covering some 1,600 miles. He will also have on board an ST40 compass and depth instrument, and an RC435 chartplotter and GPS to provide vital navigational and positional information at all times

With such a small boat, let alone one being sailed by a person paralysed with little or no movement in his fingers or arms, Geoff’s support and safety crew will be of paramount importance. The team has purchased a Pacific 22 RIB, which is an Ex-MOD 22 ft ‘workhorse’ designed to be dropped fully laden off a destroyer and not suffering any damage. The RIB is equipped fully by Raymarine with VHF radios, foghorn and loudhailer, radar, instrument and navigational displays, plus for the safety of the three-person crew on board, the LifeTag Man Overboard system.

Without being able to have a planned route, and being dependent on the wind and tides each day, the entire project depends on the land based support team which comprises a Land Rover and two motor homes, one of which has been specially modified for Geoff, and is being driven during the expedition by Geoff’s wife. The Land Rover is also equipped with Raymarine hand held VHF radios, as well as an ST60 wind vane system, similar to the ones frequently found in sailing clubs to show wind strength and direction. The entire route planning, tides and weather analysis is also provided from within the Land Rover, using Raymarine’s RayTech RNS software running from a laptop computer.

Geoff, 40, from Hampshire says he chose Portsmouth-based Raymarine because its name is synonymous with quality and from previous experience he has always found the equipment reliable and functional without being overly complicated. It is also vital that the Challenger, the RIB and the Land Rover can interface and exchange data with each other. Geoff says: “The Challenger is not designed to carry extra weight from electronic kit and batteries so we’ve chosen key products as they are small and compact and don’t have too much of a drain on our meagre battery supply. There will be times when I’m out of sight of land and if I’m capable of sailing a boat around the UK, then the last thing I want is someone telling me which course to steer simply because I can’t see land. With these pieces of kit, I’ll be able to make my own navigational decisions, they maybe good decisions, they maybe bad, but at least they’ll be mine!!”

Geoff’s Personal Everest Challenge is planned to depart from the Royal Southern Yacht Club on 13th May, setting off in a clockwise direction. The event will raise awareness and funds for RYA Sailability, a national charity that helps provide opportunities for disabled people to go sailing. Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal, patron of RYA Sailability, will officially launch Geoff’s Personal Everest Challenge on Wednesday 21st March at Surrey Docks Watersports Centre, and Geoff and his Challenge Trimaran will also be on show at the Dinghy Sailing Show at Alexandra Palace London on 3-4 March 2007. For more info, visit the web site at www.personaleverest.com