Belfast Telegraph

BBC One Show's Alex Jones sailing a high-speed yacht from Belfast for Sport Relief

Sport Relief's Hell on the High Seas challenge will kick-off in Belfast on Monday.

BBC One Show presenter Alex Jones will helm a crew of celebrities as they sail around the coast to London on the high-speed sailing yacht.

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 for five days.

They will set off from Belfast Harbour Marina on Monday before sailing around the north coast of Scotland toward London. Although the route will depend on the weather.

Their vessel will be 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."

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.

To support the crew's challenge, sponsored by BT go to the Sport Relief website, or follow their progress Facebook or on Twitter.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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