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Monday, 6 August, 2001, 22:11 GMT 23:11 UK
Quadriplegic skipper's adventure thwarted
Trevor Jones
Trevor Jones at the controls of the Inventure
A yacht crewed by sailors with disabilities has returned to Plymouth, just hours after setting off on a 2,500 mile voyage around Britain.

Organisers say the 1m specially adapted wingsailed trimaran needs some minor adjustments made to her wing computer.

Quadriplegic skipper Trevor Jones will now have to wait until at least Tuesday afternoon before starting what he has called his "trip into the unknown".

My aim is to show what people with severe disabilities can achieve, given the will and the advances of modern technology. I aim to conquer public perceptions

Trevor Jones, Inventure skipper
Mr Jones, a former Royal Navy helicopter pilot who is paralysed from the shoulders down, will sail the 60ft Inventure using a remote controlled joystick or voice commands.

He will be accompanied by other wheelchair crew members who will help sail the yacht for a week at a time.

On Monday he said: "This will be the first major sail since she has been completed.

"The aim is to get round Britain safely, iron out the bugs in the boat and test the limitations of myself and the crew.

He added: "My aim is to show what people with severe disabilities can achieve, given the will and the advances of modern technology. I aim to conquer public perceptions."

During his time at sea, Mr Jones will stop in Wales, the Irish Republic, Northern Ireland, Scotland, London and the Channel Islands before returning to Plymouth in October.

Round the world

Mr Jones, 38, hopes that the two month voyage will attract sponsors for a pioneering round-the-world trip early next year - the first by a quadriplegic skipper.

The best of the 20 or so wheelchair-using crew on the round-Britain trip will be picked for the proposed round-world jaunt.

The Inventure has been specially adapted

Mr Jones said the round-Britain trip would be the biggest test so far for his yacht and was the culmination of eight years of planning and fund raising.

He has now set up the charitable Inventure Trust for the benefit of severely disabled sailors.

In December 1998, Mr Jones sailed the Inventure to London where she was unveiled by the Duke of York.

Broken spine

Mr Jones broke his spine in a skiing accident while preparing for the Inter Services Ski Championships near Innsbruck in 1988.

Shortly before that, he was the navy pilot who pulled Virgin tycoon Richard Branson to safety after his round-the-world balloon crashed into the Irish Sea.

Since his accident, Mr Jones, from Fulham, London, has flown the Channel in a specially adapted microlight aircraft and scuba dived in the Red Sea.

He has also set up the world's first flying school for severely disabled people at Old Sarum, near Salisbury, Wiltshire.

See also:

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