British yachtsman Ian Walker is set to skipper a Volvo Ocean Race 65 with a crew of VOR sailors and celebrities in aid of Sport Relief.

The Volvo Ocean Race champion will set sail on Monday, 7 March, joined by Alex Jones, Angelica Bell, Doon Mackichan, Suzi Perry, Ore Oduba, and Hal Cruttenden.

Ian’s experienced crew will include his 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.

The challenge will be aired as part of the BT Sport Relief Challenge: Hell On High Seas with live updates broadcast each evening.

Ian, who was named YJA Yachtsman of the Year in January, will be putting the celebrities through their paces in the name of charity.

Volvo Ocean Race sailor Ian Walker. Credit: Matt Knighton/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race

Volvo Ocean Race sailor Ian Walker. Credit: Matt Knighton/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race

Ian said: ‘This is going to be a tough challenge for the sailors and celebrities. In the UK in March the sea is very cold and with Northerly winds forecast, the air temp will be freezing – especially at night.’

All the participants have been kitted out by Musto, with a selection of HPX Ocean Boots, HPX pro drysuits, external thermal trousers and tops, winter gloves and waterproof luggage.

Musto ambassador Ian added: ‘We will need all of Musto’s clothing technology to keep us warm.

‘Cash raised by Sport Relief helps to raise money for people living incredibly tough lives so I am really pleased to be helping out the celebrity crew.’

Dee Caffari said: ‘There is no doubt that what we’re taking on as professional sailors, taking a half amateur crew out with us, is a tough challenge.

‘Especially with the forecast we’ve got at this time of year, it’s the coldest possible water we could sail with them, but the fact they’re just absorbing and listening to everything we tell them and wanting to do it is hald the battle.’

She added: ‘Everyone’s really ready to go.’

The expedition is estimated to finish on 11 March.

The challenge is a unique opportunity for the celebrities involved to experience life aboard a Volvo Ocean Racing 65, all to raise funds for Sport Relief.

Half of the money raised by Sports Relief goes towards UK charitable causes while the other 50% go toward transforming lives across the world’s poorest communities.