Ben Fogle to Tackle Atlantic Swim
TV adventurer Ben Fogle is taking on his most punishing challenge yet - by swimming across the Atlantic Ocean.
The presenter will have to spend up to 12 hours a day in the water, swimming the equivalent of the Channel, to make it in his target of 100 days.
His 3,000-mile journey from the US to Cornwall will dwarf the gruelling achievement of comic David Walliams who swam much of the Thames last year.
The 38-year-old admitted:
"I am daunted by the magnitude of this challenge, but I have never been one to take the easy option."
His previous escapades have included rowing across the Atlantic with friend and Olympic star James Cracknell, as well as racing to the South Pole, which led to him suffering frostbite to his nose.
Father-of-two Fogle has also competed in the Marathon Des Sables and has swum from San Francisco to Alcatraz.
He will undergo a tough training schedule over the coming months ready to launch his Atlantic swim in 2013.
Only one other person has completed the ocean swim, and he will be accompanied by a support yacht for sleeping and eating. He will log his starting and stopping points each day to ensure he swims the full distance.
His journey will also aid homeless charity Centrepoint as he gives several young homeless volunteers the skills and opportunities to work on the project as both his short support team and yacht crew.
His body will also carry sensors to allow scientists from the University of Southampton to do research into temperatures, currents and marine organisms.
And he will work with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Plastic Oceans Foundation to use the trip to highlight the fragile state of the seas.
Fogle - who first found fame as a participant in the BBC series Castaway in which he lived on the island of Taransay - said:
"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."
Seyi Obakin, the CEO of Centrepoint - which works with 1,200 young people each year - said:
"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."
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 - who was a torch bearer on the first day of the Olympic torch relay across the UK - added:
"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 will launch his challenge later today at the Serpentine in London's Hyde Park, which will be the venue for the Open Water Swim at the Olympics this summer.
Further details of the swim will be at the website www.theatlanticswim.com