A live talk with Captain Craig
At 2pm on the 25th of February Blesma Member Craig Wood, who became a triple-amputee aged 18 before setting off to sail the world solo, will be giving a live Zoom talk to Blesma Members.
This is his story...
“I had always wanted to join the British Army. I signed up at 17 and loved it straight away, it was the lifestyle that I really enjoyed. I deployed to Sangin, in Afghanistan, in April 2009, three days after my 18th birthday.
Three months in, I got blown up. We had been out on a routine patrol when we stopped for a drink. When we set off again, I remember walking forward a few metres and then just seeing a white flash. I instantly knew – and felt – that something was very wrong. I landed heavily and I remember my friend shouting my name. After that, I blacked out. “I was in a coma for 14 days before I woke up in hospital back in the UK. It was surreal. I’d lost both legs above the knee and my left arm below the elbow. I had pretty serious facial injuries, too. I knew I was severely injured, but I tried to keep a positive mental attitude.
I’ve had so many operations over the last seven years that I can’t even count them all. I’ve had 10 operations on my face alone, and lots more on my arms, legs and body. Learning to walk again took eight months, and I was at Headley Court, undergoing rehabilitation, for four and a half years in total. I had all kinds of issues – your stumps change and surgery alters things. You get knock-backs and have to re-learn the basics of walking all over again.
I joined Blesma as soon as I was injured in 2009 – they were by my bedside from the very beginning. They’ve helped me out with practical things, like adaptations to my house, and they’ve been there with emotional support, too. I’m planning on sailing around the coast of Britain soon, and they have helped me buy the sails for my boat. Blesma has given me the strength to move forwards with my life, and I’m incredibly grateful to them for that.
Craig had planned to compete as a sailor at the Paralympics in 2020 but the sport was dropped for the Tokyo Games. So in 2017, he set off on a bid to sail around the world."
"I can’t climb the mast on my own, or hold nuts and screw them, but when I haven’t got crew on board to help with the two-handed jobs I just find someone on another boat to jump aboard and help me out. I’m quite comfortable and content with my life. It’s not a struggle, because I’ve made it so it’s not a struggle. I’m happy on the boat.”
“I want to go to Brazil, Argentina and all over the Americas, the Caribbean and the west coast of the Americas and the Pacific. Anywhere you can think of that’s got a coastline, really. I’m still young in terms of sailing round the world.
In general now it’s not a struggle, it’s just specific things. But you figure out a way. Going round the boat is fairly easy – I’ve had no adaptations. It’s a bog-standard 46ft boat. I’m just living my life. I understand my approach is not common.
It’s not just a hobby or a gap year off. It’s my lifestyle. I’ve made a conscious choice to make it my future. I don’t think I’m going to get over this phase, unless I can’t sail and have to go back to land. I’ve not really thought about it.” said Craig.
🖊️ To sign up to the talk please email firstname.lastname@example.org