Storm force 10 winds have forced the BT Sport Relief Challenge team of six celebrities and six Volvo Ocean Race veterans into port at Plymouth until the storm passes.
Skipper Ian Walker (@ADORSkipper) tweeted an update this morning: ‘Sat in Plymouth. Nobody leaves the boat and nothing comes aboard!!! Everyone’s asleep. Kettles on
Dee Caffari (@deecaffari) tweeted last night: ‘Good, seamanlike decision from the Skipper. We have pulled into Plymouth to avoid the worst of the storm. @SportRelief’
The fundraisers set sail on Monday from Belfast Harbour Marina on a Volvo Ocean Race 65 yacht. They are aiming to finish in London on Friday night.
Their first two days at sea involved a mixture of seasickness and hairy moments but they have raised £354,810 for charity so far.
Other highlights from the voyage so far have included a welcome escort from some friendly dolphins.
Last night Ian blogged: ‘We always knew that an explosive low pressure was due to develop today, and that’s what is just happening. As I write this, I can see on the satellite imagery a big mass of cloud growing vertically in the Celtic sea. On channel 16, Falmouth coastguard has issued a navigational warning saying that Gale force 10 winds are expected across the English Channel tonight.
‘We initially thought about arriving as far as Southampton but it now looks like we will need to sail into the Solent with 30+ knots of wind, very steep waves and low tide, which are ingredients enough for running aground with catastrophic consequences.
‘We have decided to stop a little closer, in Plymouth, and restart tomorrow once the worst of the system has gone. It will still be tough, but more manageable. As Dee said today, it’s not often that the coastguard broadcasts a warning like this.’
Who’s on board?
The One Show host Alex Jones and presenters Angellica Bell, Ore Oduba and Suzi Perry are taking on the challenge, along with comedians Hal Cruttenden and Doon Mackichan.
They are living, sleeping and working on the Volvo Ocean 65 – a carbon-fibre speed machine that has been optimized for maximum performance – i.e minimum comfort.
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.
Ian Walker, the first British skipper to win the Volvo Ocean Race, is skippering the challenge.
The experienced crew include Ian’s 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.
Prior to setting sail, Ian said: ‘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,’ he said. ‘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.’
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.
Viewers of BBC One’s The One Show will be able to track the team’s progress by tuning in for live updates every day from 7pm.
The crew need the public’s support to spur them on at sea. You can sponsor them at sportrelief.com/highseas.
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