Survivor tackles toughest endurance challenge on the planet

Some of the Clipper boats in their current state, waiting to have sponsors' livery added. Picture:

Some of the Clipper boats in their current state, waiting to have sponsors' livery added. Picture: David Greer - Credit: Archant

A 64-year-old man who was left unable to walk after a brain injury four years ago is taking on the toughest endurance challenge on the planet.

David Greer, left, in his Coastwatch uniform with the President of National Coastwatch Insitute John

David Greer, left, in his Coastwatch uniform with the President of National Coastwatch Insitute John Gifford. Picture: Marie Greer - Credit: Archant

David Greer has been selected for the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, which is a contest over 40,000 nautical miles between 12 70ft ocean yachts in a circumnavigation of the globe.

He has held a dream to sail around the world since he was 'knee-high to a grasshopper', and he said: 'I have largely recovered from my brain injury, but I could not go back to work as a CEO. My wife Marie said I was like a bird with its wings clipped, so why not do something.'

To qualify for the race he had to pass a series of tests and interviews. Rossis in North Walsham is sponsoring his land training and his sailing training is being delivered by Clipper starting next week, followed by weeks in April, May and July and additional race practice weeks, before the race starts in August.

He will be away from his home in Mundesley for 11 months, while Marie looks after their two dogs. On the Australian leg of the race he will be reunited with his twin brother, whom he has not seen in 15 years.


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Belfast-born Mr Greer, who is a senior watchkeeper with Mundesley Coastwatch, added: 'I will live out of a 20-kilo kitbag. I won't miss the creature comforts, but I will obviously miss Marie and the dogs.'

The trip will cost the family about £60,000, which they are busy finding.

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He plans to raise money through sponsorship for the Headway brain injury charity, but there are no plans yet in place for raising sponsorship for his own race costs.

After his brain injury in 2012, Mr Greer was in hospital and rehabilitation for several months.

The couple decided to move from the West Midlands to the Norfolk coast, where he took up cycling as a challenge.

The Clipper is made up of 14 to 16 races over eight legs. Each yacht is crewed by 20 to 22 people, and the crews will join in with the famous annual Sydney Hobart yacht race on Boxing Day. Mr Greer will discover which of the 12 yachts he is on and meet his skipper in May.

for more information visit clipperroundtheworld.comaboutabout-the-race

Are you taking on a huge challenge? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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