Image: Felix Kunze

Veteran British adventurer, Sir David Hempleman-Adams, has arrived safely in New York, having successfully undertaken his biggest challenge yet by sailing more than 5,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean to raise awareness of the work of the health charity, St John Ambulance. 

After 44 days at sea on a 43ft yacht, overcoming many obstacles and setbacks along the way, Sir David hopes his epic journey has inspired people to push their boundaries, get out of their comfort zones and try something new.  

Describing his arrival in to New York waters, Sir David said: ‘As we went past the Statue of Liberty, I had a mild cry. It was an unforgettable moment. Such an iconic sight and so wonderful to see it after all we have been through on this voyage. 

A novice sailor before setting off from Plymouth on 28 April, the explorer’s limits were tested by sleep deprivation, difficulties with technology, and challenging weather conditions including terrifying storms, plus the resulting damage to various parts of the boat. 

After a pit stop in Spain, to assess some ongoing technical glitches that risked ending his challenge, he was determined to continue to the USA, so was joined for the rest of the voyage by highly-skilled skipper and experienced sailor, Nick Davey 

Image: Bill Davila

Speaking about the incredible journey, Sir David added: ‘This was one of the biggest tests of my life and I hope that seeing me overcome the challenges we faced and push myself completely into the unknown has inspired those who have followed our journey, especially young people, to try something new.  

‘The voyage has taught me something I think could be a good analogy for life – be prepared, and hopefully you won’t get caught out. Of course, life bowls you the odd googly, but that’s when your experience sees you through. The question is, how do you get that experience? I think it’s by pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. 

Sir David is a trustee for St John Ambulance, having been involved with the charity for many years. 

St John’s chief executive, Martin Houghton-Brown said: ‘We’re very proud of Sir David’s incredible achievement and hope that it will have inspired many across the generations to seek a new adventure. We are fortunate to have such a determined and inspiring individual as an ambassador for our charity.’  

‘His passion for St John is shared by our incredible volunteers, many of whom came to us on their own journeys of self-discovery. As a volunteer for St John Ambulance, there is something for everyone regardless of age, experience or the time that they have.  

Often, St John’s volunteers are introduced to the charity when they learn first aid in schools, their community or in the workplace.  

That experience opens the door to exciting opportunities and challenges; from becoming a first aider to keep people safe at high-profile events, as a youth leader teaching young people life saving skills – many of whom go onto become healthcare practitioners – or as a community first responder to support local emergency services.  

For more information about how to get involved in volunteering for St John Ambulance, visit the website:  


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