Six celebrities will be swapping the comforts of the stage and studio for five days of nautical torture as they attempt to sail around the UK, on the BT Sport Relief Challenge: Hell on High Seas.
The One Show presenter Alex Jones will be joined by Angellica Bell, Hal Cruttenden, Doon Mackichan, Ore Oduba and Suzi Perry, in a mammoth challenge which will see them battle fearsome winds, freezing temperatures and rough seas, in a feat of pure physical, mental and emotional endurance. The challenge is sponsored by BT, a long-term supporter of Sport Relief challenges since 2009.
Setting off from Belfast Harbour Marina on Monday 7th March, the crew will attempt to sail to London around the north coast of the mainland (TBC) in just 5 days, finishing on Friday 11th March.
The team will be living, sleeping and working on the Volvo Ocean 65 – a carbon-fibre speed machine that has been optimized for maximum performance. At 65 feet, and weighing in at 12,500kgs the vessel is as long as five cars and weighs the equivalent of twelve great white sharks. The largest sail, which the celebrities will have to manually hoist, is as big as two and a half volleyball courts.
From day one, the celebrities will be pushed to the limit. Without any fridges or ovens, they will have to get used to eating vacuum-packed food for 5 days and with the onslaught of the elements even simple tasks like brushing their teeth become difficult. Ian Walker, the first British skipper to win the Volvo Ocean Race, who will skipper the challenge, went on to say "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. 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.
“Forget your typical work day. Out here, it’s about doing what you need to do, to survive. Sailors operate in four-hour watch shifts – that means that they’ll spend four hours on deck, and then get four-hours to sleep or relax. Unless there’s a sail change to be performed, that is. Then it’s all hands on deck. The only predictable thing about life at sea is that it’s unpredictable.”
One Show audiences and Sport Relief supporters will be able to track the team’s progress by tuning in for live updates on The One Show, every day from 7pm. Suzi Perry will be chatting to Simon Mayo live on Radio 2 every day during the challenge.
The money raised from the BT Sport Relief Challenge: Hell on High Seas 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.