07 March 2016: Ian Walker, winning skipper of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race (VOR), and a team of six celebrities have set sail from Belfast Harbour Marina for a once-in-a-lifetime experience of life at the extreme – all in aid of the UK charity event Sport Relief.
Sailing around the UK on a carbon-fibre, super-fast Volvo Ocean 65 boat, the line-up for this ultimate sailing adventure includes BBC TV’s The One Show host Alex Jones and her fellow presenters Angellica Bell, Ore Oduba and Suzi Perry, as well as comedians Hal Cruttenden and Doon Mackichan.
Throughout the BT Sport Relief Challenge: Hell on High Seas, the team will be using Inmarsat’s FleetBroadband connectivity to provide live updates on their progress for viewers of The One Show every day from 7pm, as well as send photos back to update social media channels.
And they will have will have the right media people to do the job – winner of the VOR 2014-15 Inmarsat Onboard Reporter Award Matt Knighton and runner-up Sam Greenfield.
In addition, an experienced team of VOR veterans is helping the rookie TV stars during the offshore challenge; Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crewmate Phil Harmer, Team SCA’s Dee Caffari and Sara Hastreiter, Dongfeng Race Team’s Graham Tourell and Volvo Ocean Race meteorologist Gonzalo Infante.
Over the five-day, 1,000 nautical-mile challenge, which ends on Friday 11 March, the celebrities will be living, sleeping and working on the Volvo Ocean 65 in mountainous seas and freezing temperatures – certainly not for the faint-hearted or sea-sick!
However the team’s destination is still changeable dependent on the weather. With gale force winds set to hit the South Coast of England on Wednesday they could finish up in London or North Shields.
“When the sea’s rough, you’re drenched to the core and you’ve barely slept, even the most mundane daily tasks can seem impossible,” said Ian.
“I have already predicted that the BT Sport Relief Challenge: Hell on High Seas will be quite that, and quite possibly colder than any day I have spent in the Southern Ocean last race.”
Tune in to BBC1’s The One Show to see how the #HellOnHighSeas team is progressing or if outside of the UK, catch all the highlights on volvooceanrace.com.
The money raised for this Sport Relief challenge will help transform the lives of some of the most disadvantaged people both at home in the UK and across the world’s poorest communities. If you would like to donate, please follow the link.