In 2014 Ben Fogle will attempt to swim more than 3000 miles from America to Cornwall. Supported by a yacht, Ben will need to swim more than 30 miles a day to reach his target of completing the crossing in under 100 days.
Man and Sea. No boat, no board, no paddle, no oar, no sail. Just man and ocean. It is the purest of challenges, the toughest of pursuits but the greatest of adventures.
Swimming up to 12 hours a day, Ben will use the support yacht for sleeping and eating, logging his stop and start position each day to ensure he swims the entire distance himself.
The equivalent of swimming the English Channel everyday for 100 days, it is a massive challenge of mind and body, battling icebergs, sharks, cold, boredom, exhaustion, storms, hunger and loneliness.
Having run across the Sahara desert, rowed the Atlantic Ocean and walked to the South Pole, The Atlantic Swim will be the ultimate test of physical and mental strength. More people have stood on the moon than swum the Atlantic. The greatest risk in life is to risk nothing.
The Great Atlantic Swim will be the biggest challenge of Ben’s life using the lessons of his past experiences to try and prove that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it.
Ben Fogle took to the Serpentine in Hyde Park this morning in a wetsuit to announce his plans to attempt to swim across the Atlantic Ocean from North America to Cornwall in 2014, swimming up to 12 hours a day. To complete the challenge in his target of 100 days he will have to swim the equivalent of the English Channel every day.
Ben will be working with the World Wide Fund for Nature and the Plastic Oceans Foundation to highlight the fragile state of our oceans, while The National Oceanography Centre and the University of Southampton will turn Ben into a scientific research vessel. Ben will also be working with homeless charity Centrepoint, aiming to help several young homeless volunteers by giving them the skills and opportunities to work on the project as the shore team, the yacht crew and help with apprenticeships afterwards.
Louise Heaps, head of marine at WWF-UK, said: “Our seas are under severe pressure from overfishing as well as unsustainable and poorly planned development and WWF is proud to support our ambassador Ben’s challenge to raise awareness around the issues affecting our seas and to highlight the pressing need to safeguard the future of these and other marine species and the diverse ecosystems that support them.”
Fogle will also become a human scientific instrument during his long swim. He will be working with The National Oceanography Centre and the University of Southampton who will use the long slow period in the water to track marine temperature, currents and algae. Dr Simon Boxall said that the University and the National Centre are looking forward to helping Ben. "The science community will use Ben as a personal mini research vessel. Using new advanced micro technology he will carry sensors on his body to measure the thin surface layers of the ocean, a layer that usually gets disturbed by our bigger ocean going ships."
The Atlantic Swim will also have social objectives and has teamed up with the homeless charity Centrepoint and. Seyi Obakin, CEO of Centrepoint, which works with 1,200 young people in London and the north east each year, said: “We’re delighted that Ben has chosen Centrepoint young people to play such a key role in this amazing adventure. Being part of Ben’s team and entrusted with new responsibilities will be life-changing for the young people who join him. It will inspire them to face challenges of their own, including finding a job and moving on to independent living.”
Fogle who was a torch bearer on the first day of the Olympic torch relay across the UK last weekend said ‘in this Olympic year, it is important that we leave a lasting legacy and I hope the swim will continue to inspire people to push their boundaries, to aspire and to achieve. I hope that it captures the imagination reminding us that adventures can still be had.’
He said “I am daunted by the magnitude of this challenge, but I have never been one to take the easy option. You get out of life, what you put in and the greatest achievements come from the biggest challenges. If I can complete it, it will be the culmination of a childhood dream and the completion of an Atlantic circle that began in the North Atlantic in 2000 where I spent the year on Taransay. Having rowed East to West, I will complete the circle by swimming West to East back home to Cornwall.”
Ben has limited open water swimming experience and will spend the next year working with experts and swimmers to prepare him for the physical and mental challenge. He is also Trustee of the Royal Parks Foundation so he chose to launch his challenge at the Serpentine, an iconic open water swimming location in Hyde Park and the venue for the Open Water Swim at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Just one person has swum across the Atlantic Ocean to date. Ben will use a support yacht for sleeping and eating, logging his stop and start position each day to ensure he swims more than 3000 miles. The exact start point and date will be dependent on meteorological and oceanographic conditions.