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33-year-old Craig Wood aims to be first triple amputee to sail solo and unsupported across Pacific

by Vicky Sales 3 Jul 16:42 UTC

A former British soldier from Doncaster is set to embark on a world first maritime expedition to become the world's first triple amputee to sail solo, non-stop and unsupported 6,000 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean.

The gruelling challenge is predicted to take more than 60 days departing from La Paz in Mexico to Yokohama in Japan in early 2025.

In order to complete the expedition, Craig will have to overcome unpredictable weather, waves as tall as two double decker busses, isolation and sleep deprivation - all whilst managing the additional challenges associated with his injuries.

"This is a massive challenge, and I'm not going into it without weighing up all of the risks involved," says Wood.

Craig's boat for this voyage will be a 41- foot aluminium catamaran, a custom-built yacht made for the tougher conditions he will face. He added; "We are fully adapting my catamaran for the voyage so that even if I have an issue with my prosthetic arm, I can still sail one handed.

"That's not just adding in rails and electric winches, but also reconfiguring the galley to make sure everything is at an accessible height."

Having gone through basic training as a rifleman in the British Army, Craig was posted to Afghanistan shortly after his 18th birthday. It was just three months into his first tour when his life was to change forever.

Craig lost both legs and his left hand in an (improvised explosive device) IED bomb blast on July 30th, 2009. He also suffered two collapsed lungs, lost 27 pints of blood and his face was ravaged by shrapnel.

It took eight months for Craig to learn to walk again and four-and-a-half years of rehabilitation work at the dedicated Headley Court facility in Surrey to improve his quality of life.

His recovery was long, slow and painful - with over 20 operations over four years. It was a mental and physical battle.

Craig added, "At points it almost got the best of me, but my family were amazing, and I couldn't change my situation - so I came to terms with it and decided to be the best triple amputee I could be.

"We had support from some amazing charities including Blesma and Turn to Starboard.

"My dad then encouraged me to return to a hobby I shared with him as a child on family trips to Bridlington - sailing.

"It helped me overcome the feeling of being trapped and showed me that even with my handicap everything is possible," Craig said. "A new world of opportunity opened up, and a new purpose grew in me. Today, my life has developed beyond my dreams."

Fifteen years on, Craig lives on his boat, Sirius II, with his wife, Renata, and their two young children for much of the year. It's a nomadic lifestyle true to the character he has become and one which the whole family embraces.

"I've never spent any significant time away from my family and I think this will be one of the hardest things for me.

"However, through this expedition if I can help change the perception of disability, and show how sailing can transform lives of those affected by trauma - it will have been well worth it.

"It's also a chance for me to raise awareness and money for the two amazing charities who were there for me during my rehabilitation and recovery."

Craig is now preparing for the challenge and gaining the support of the public and businesses cross the UK.

To support Craig record breaking Pacific voyage, visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/craigwoodsails

Supporting Craig's record-breaking sail are Team Forces and Palo Alto Networks. To complete his voyage Craig is still looking for further sponsorship.

Follow Craig's preparation and voyage on Instagram, TikTok and other social media platforms on @CraigWoodSails

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