Disabled Yachtsman Keith White Postpones World Challenge

Disabled Yachtsman Keith White Postpones World Challenge

With a heavy heart, disabled yachtsman Keith White postpones World Challenge – for now.

Today Keith White confirmed with his team that he is stopping his single handed round the world challenge and is now heading for the Caribbean. After casting off in October, Keith endured storms in the Bay of Biscay which inflicted a lot of damage to the boat. The same storms put an end to some of the big budget race boats competing Transat Jacques Vabre race. Determined as always, Keith showed us what he was made of and carried on regardless of the damage and gave it everything he had.

Unfortunately since then it’s been a constant battle to keep the boat going and well maintained. Exhausted and now with the loss of both types of self steering mechanisms, Keith has made the wise decision that it is not safe to carry on and take on the Southern Oceans in this state. Therefore he’s taking the trade winds and seeking refuge in the Caribbean to make good the boat in order to bring her home to Cowes in the new year.

His challenge and dream is by no means over. We will be doubling our efforts to find backing from a sponsor to ensure he has the budget to do a full and comprehensive refit to make sure the boat is fit enough to take on the world once again.

Keith is devastated he’s had to make the decision to stop and he is worried that he’s somehow let people down. But I’m sure you will all back me up and say that no matter what, he’s made everyone very proud indeed that he’s endeavoured to make it this far despite damage caused through no fault of his own. You can’t predict the sea, you just can’t. Keith is as competent a sailor as you will ever meet, with two single-handed transatlantic and round Britain voyages under his belt, it’s hard to argue otherwise. But if you are self funded with a very limited budget, there is nothing you can do if the sea decides to hit you with a devastating blow.

So I hope you will all join me and show your support to Keith for attempting something which most of us would not dare. I personally am very proud and honoured to know Keith and I know he will be back.


By | 2017-04-13T08:56:28+00:00 December 23rd, 2015|World Challenge|33 Comments

About the Author:

Keith lives on the Isle of Wight and is an accomplished solo offshore Yachtsman. He lost the use of his left arm in a motorway accident in 1991, so he really is your genuine single handed yachtsman. What is incredible is that not only has his disability not prevented him from living his dreams, it’s spurred him on to better things. In 2015 he takes on the pinnacle of solo sailing by sailing single-handed and non stop around the world in his World Challenge.


  1. Ann December 24, 2015 at 5:26 pm - Reply

    HI Keith

    just read your latest update. Its quite a relief as I could see you were heading West. I hope you arrive safe and sound in the Caribbean very soon. I am so proud of you. Well done. I will look forward to the next attempt. Stay safe and I wish you a very Merry and safe Christmas. XXX

  2. Gary December 24, 2015 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    Never mind,better to be safe than sorry.

    There’s worse places to spend the winter than the Caribbean

  3. John MacKenzie December 24, 2015 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    I am pleased to hear that you have put safety first and made the wise decision to head for safety. There is no point battling on when you know the equipment is not up to it, even if you are. I admire you for having got that far with the breakages after the battering you were subjected to in the Bay of Biscay. Enjoy the Caribbean!!
    Regards and happy Christmas.

  4. Mary Ann December 24, 2015 at 6:10 pm - Reply

    So sorry to hear about your challenge postponement but over the top with happiness that you’ll be in the Caribbean. I arrive in St. Maarten New Years Eve and will be looking forward to meeting up with your there. The same slip as where we first met at in Simpson Bay Marina.Things happen for a reason…Merry Christmas my dear friend! Hope to see you soon! Xxxx

  5. Tim December 24, 2015 at 6:32 pm - Reply

    Far braver to stop than to carry on regardless

  6. Paul December 24, 2015 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    Hi Keith

    When we saw the tracker a few days ago and the direction you were travelling we immediately thought that there was some not quite right but awaited official confirmation before writing this message to you.

    Keith, we have no doubt that this decision has not been made lightly and that making the decision would be for the safety of yourself and that of the boat and indeed other vessels on the water. Having read the report from Julian we are more than proud of you and what you have achieved, as Julian rightly said, there are few if any in your position that would even think of taking on such an enormous challenge. Make no mistake my friend, you have NOT let anyone down in anyway whatsoever, in fact you have used your knowledge and understanding of the enormity of the challenge to make this brave decision so that you may one day in the future be able to take on the challenge with more funding and more support than you had this time. I am sure that your family will be disappointed for you but happy in the knowledge that you will be safe and return to them in one piece, I know I will be glad to see you safely on dry land and home where you belong! From the messages I have read on this site, you have great friends and family who know that if it was not for the damage to the boat and the lack of funding you would have made it. These things are sent to try us Keith and you’ve already beaten one challenge in your life so we have no doubt you will successfully conquer this global challenge in due course. Have a wonderful Christmas in the Caribbean, you deserve it!

    Our Very Best Wishes

    Paul and Save the Children

  7. Rob December 24, 2015 at 7:58 pm - Reply

    Hi Keith,
    My friend do not ever think you have let any One down, you have achieved so much and you have proven thus if you have determination you can achieve any thing.
    Please don’t be down and do not dwell on this, you are a true inspiratiion to so many people who could only dream of what you have achieved. Fiat winds my friend

  8. Andy December 24, 2015 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    HimKeith, when I met you on Mazu in La Coruna I was struck by your enthusiasm for life and your bravery in taking on such huge adventurs. You have not let anyone down and as several have said, knowing when to stop is a brave decision and no doubt you agonised over this but we all want you back in one piece and will help you achieve your dream. Msafe travels,to the warm Caribean and very best wishes for Christmas and the New Year. Best wishes Andy

  9. heather December 24, 2015 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    Hi my wonderful brother mum got your message ok and says thank you have a good time in the Caribbean ,Mum is staying with me for Christmas so it is really lovely having her stay .I shall still be there to welcome you home with open arms to give you a big hug you will never be a failure you are the are bravest never forget that ,Happy Christmas and New Year hope you make it home for mums 90th Birthday take care Keith just be well and safe that’s all we want for Christmas WE LOVE YOU XXX

  10. Ric Cassell December 25, 2015 at 12:36 am - Reply

    Good decision mate! Much better that you do what needs to be done if you are to achieve your ultimate goal. Anyway who wouldn’t want to spend Christmas in the Caribbean!

  11. RICHARD December 25, 2015 at 1:48 am - Reply

    GOOD decision. I am very up for Keith’s trip, however, very bluntly, the boat was not up for such a trip – both in preparation terms or the level of finish. Hard but honest words from someone who has done a circumnavigation and a recent NW Passage – happy to offer free advice on return to UK

  12. RICHARD December 25, 2015 at 1:49 am - Reply

    P.S I saw her prior to departure… I would not have done a channel trip on her

  13. Barry Braddick December 25, 2015 at 3:16 am - Reply

    Glad to hear you are safe. We will be in the Bahamas in Jan if you are near by. Are you coming to the USA again?
    Boston and skiing again in April??

    All the best
    Merry Christmas
    Love Barry Jenn Laura & Katie

  14. Paul December 25, 2015 at 9:27 am - Reply


    Best Wishes

    Paul, family and Save the Children

  15. Mary Phillips December 25, 2015 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    Pleased to hear you are safe and heading for the Caribbean, you have done so well to get so far and everyone in Cowes is proud of you. You have done so much more than most of us will ever achieve,
    Happy Christmas to you, from Mary and Kevin Phillips (Cowes Corinthian)

  16. Connie Cowleyt December 25, 2015 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    Dear Keith
    You have made right decision and we are all so proud you have got so far in terrible conditions.
    Big hug when you get home.
    Love you -Connie xxx

  17. Gill December 25, 2015 at 5:30 pm - Reply

    Tough decision , but no question the right one. Amazing achievement . We are all sending love and glad you will be in safe harbour soon. You have shown fantastic courage and great compassion to your friends and family in making sure you come home safely. Well done Keithxx
    Al, Gill and Blaire

  18. Dave S December 25, 2015 at 5:42 pm - Reply

    I have followed you from the beginning but this is the first time I am writing. You have have been an inspiration to me and to all sailors. I will continue to follow your efforts whoever they lead. You are a brave and WISE man.

  19. tamara hancock December 26, 2015 at 1:33 am - Reply

    YOU are the BRAVEST man I have ever met in my life! You are not and never will fail !

    I am just so glad your safe and will be home soon.
    Love Lane is just not the same without your smile!
    Do me just one favore though, put some of that sunshine in a Jar and bring it back to our Island!

    If ever I can be of any help in anyway in the future, let me know. We shall talk when your home.
    I can’t wait to see the tan…. Promise to get some rest,then come home. The Island will still be here, waiting for you.

    Much Love, tamara

  20. Mike buggy December 26, 2015 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    Well done keith for a brave effort and a very brave decision. You’ve tried what many could never do. Hope 2016 brings good cheer to you.

  21. Don mapp December 26, 2015 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    Well don Keith. What you have don so far is magnificent and few of us mortals would have the courage to have even attempted it. Failure just makes you stronger as you learn so much. Better luck next time. Loved hearing your reports.

  22. Tim December 27, 2015 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    Chaps, let’s remember that the decision to head for port is not the same as arrival.
    Keith has a fair old slog to make port still, and could do with our encouragement on this leg of his trip, too. He’s done more already than most of us would ever have dared, and just this leg to port solo and exhausted is more than I would ever dare anyway.

  23. Rob December 28, 2015 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    Well said Tim, he seems to be making great pace now which is good to see. Keith it up Keith you are amazing at achieving what you have so far and inspiration to us all
    R and D

  24. Paul Smith December 29, 2015 at 11:30 am - Reply

    Morning Keith

    Looking at the tracker you are making good progress towards the Caribbean, is it Barbados you are heading for? Hope you’re keep up you spirits up and getting some sleep, hopefully you’ll be there by the 1st Jan or very soon after! Raining here in Portsmouth and has been on and off for a few days now, looking forward to those cold,crisp, sunny days that will blow the cobwebs away!! Looking forward to hearing from you when you make land, will message on NEW YEARS DAY.

    Best Wishes


  25. Connie Cowley December 30, 2015 at 3:24 pm - Reply

    Dear Keith
    Hope you are getting some sleep and be careful on way home it is still going to be hard for you. So proud of what you have achieved so don’t be downhearted. You never know you may be back for Mum’s birthday both Margaret and I are going so would be lovely if you are back in time but don’t push it sooner you keep safe.
    Happy New Year and lets hope 2016 is a good one for you.
    Love as usual.
    Connie xxxx

  26. Paul Smith January 1, 2016 at 10:56 am - Reply

    Happy New Year Keith, we wish you a Healthy and Peaceful 2016 my friend and look forward to seeing you on your return to the UK. I have some surprising and good news to tell you about when we next speak, keep on trucking you’re an inspiration to many!!!!

    Our very best wishes.

    Paul and Save the Children

  27. heather January 2, 2016 at 6:12 pm - Reply

    not long now Keith and you will be on dry land mum had a wonderful Christmas with use ,thank you for your kind message it was so lovely to hear from you xx I got really merry on new years eve went to bed 4 in the morning it was a god night though. Look forward to hering how you are getting on and where you are going to stop for a good rest take care Keith miss you loads keep safe big hugs xx

  28. tamara January 3, 2016 at 3:23 am - Reply

    Hi Keith, a bit of a belated Happy New year to you. Had computer problems and am just back on line and the first place I had to go was here to see how you are doing. Had a look at your tracker and your doing well.

    Love Lane was a bit of a New Year wash out, Rain and a few Fireworks, but nothing to write a novel about.
    We had the tail end of Hurricane Frank the other night, kinda glad they topped the trees now! 🙂

    But as said above, weather wise your not missing much, so when you stop for a rest, pull up a deck chair and soak up the sun as it doesn’t look like we will be having any soon.

    As a non-sailing type of person, who has only sailed a clinker built 16ft around Bembridge fort. I really have no idea what your plans are next. I will keep poping in to see if there is any updates. Was wondering if you plan on fixing the Marathon there and sailing her back or Flying back and having her shipped back to the u.k.

    Either way it would be nice to keep having the odd update if possible, so we know how you are and when to expect my neighbour back. 🙂
    And don’t forget…….

    When your wanting that sunshine again, I offer my assistance in anyway I can to help you with your next world challange. I do have the gift of the gab,may help with fund raising….. but that is in the future.

    For now, live in the moment, get to dry land, get rest and enjoy a bit of sunshine and beautiful people!

    See Ya when you return Keith, keeping you in my thoughts,
    your friend and neighbour,

  29. rob January 4, 2016 at 8:18 am - Reply

    Hi Folkes, i have been in touch with Keith, only briefly, he is planning to go to St Maartins. He has not made any further decision as yet.
    He is very tired and has had a few more problem with his self steering gear. He was in good sprits and is looking forward to a good rest.


  30. tamara January 4, 2016 at 11:57 pm - Reply

    Thanks Tim and Keith, for letting us know how things are going. Keeping you in my thoughts. Many thanks for the news,as being a typical female, I worry. I shall rest easy and pray that soon Keith does too.
    So proud of you mate!
    I shall keep checking in, but get rest once on dry land and don’t worry about anything until you have done that first! Neighbours orders!
    Much Love,

  31. Neil Coker January 7, 2016 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    Glad to hear you are safe, rest, recuperate and enjoy the challenge can be approached another day. All the very best mate

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