New York to London Swim – April 2017
I’m Michael Ventre and I am an experienced extreme open water swimmer and passionate about ending extreme poverty. I have partnered with Oxfam and in 2017 I aim to raise £5M to help them meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030.
To do this I am going to swim from New York to London, 3800 tough miles across the world’s wildest ocean, battling all that the elements can throw at me and dodging killer marine life.
I know it sounds crazy and impossible, but I have a team of scientists behind me who say that with the right preparation and equipment it can be done.
It takes 6 hours on a commercial flight from New York to London but I will need to be at sea for between 5 and 7 months to swim the same distance. I will be swimming for 6-8 hours a day then taking a GPS reading upon exiting the water, before resting and refueling on a support boat. I will then be getting back in the water at the point I previously got out and starting swimming again. It's going to be physically and mentally punishing but I know it can be done and I won't stop until I step out of the River Thames on to landfall in London. I will need support throughout which will include two support boats, captains and crew, medical staff, safety divers, food, equipment and fuel. This is a massive undertaking and costs are estimated to be in excess of £2m.
I have taken this financially as far as I can on my own and now I need your help to make this a reality. I am not asking for the full amount for the project through crowdfunding. I need your help to raise the first £40,000 which will help me and my team obtain corporate sponsorship for the expedition.
A Word From Oxfam
”I was both astonished and hugely impressed when I heard about Michael’s plan to swim from New York to London in aid of Oxfam. Michael is a wonderful example of someone who, like us, won’t live with poverty, and it is humbling to think that his passionate dedication to fighting poverty has led him to attempt such an enormous feat. We are immensely grateful to him and his team for the hard work they are putting in to making Michael’s dream a reality. Like the swim, ending poverty may seem impossible, but we can end this injustice. By working together, we can create a fairer, safer world where everyone has the chance to reach their full potential. I hope you will join me in supporting Michael as he takes on this mammoth challenge for the 1.2 billion people currently living in extreme poverty.”
Tim Hunter Director of Fundraising, Oxfam GB
I’m 38 years old, British and I live and work in London as an IT Engineer. I’m a regular guy who likes socialising with friends and family, travel and open water swimming, but I also have a desire to right some injustices in the world. I have swum the English Channel, two other ‘Oceans Seven’ channels around the world and competed at the Winter Swimming Championships in Latvia and Finland.
I have been planning this monumental project for a number of years and have a team of scientists and professionals that have given up their time to help me get to this point.
My journey started back in landlocked Botswana, Southern Africa in September 1988 when I was a small boy. I was watching television and on the news an 11 year old boy from England, Thomas Gregory, had just become the youngest person to swim the English Channel. He was two years older than me and I was amazed by what he had done. Back then I had never seen the ocean and wouldn’t for another 3 years. But from that point I set myself the goal of doing the same as Thomas and swimming the English Channel.
When I completed the English Channel in 2011 it was a monumental personal achievement for me, but that was only the beginning. Since then I have completed other swimming challenges around the world (the Molokai Channel in Hawaii, The Catalina Channel in California and Winter Swimming Championships) and now comes my biggest challenge – The Atlantic Ocean from New York to London.
This swim is going to be a world first. No one has ever attempted to swim between the world’s two most iconic cities and I want to show that an ordinary person can do something extraordinary if you put your mind to it. In taking this mammoth task on, as well as raising money for Oxfam for their fight against extreme poverty, I want to do something that inspires others to do things that they thought something they previously thought impossible, just as I was inspired as a 9 year old.
Why is ending extreme poverty important to me?
Growing up in Southern Africa it was impossible not to notice the vast contrasts in social inequality between different communities. It's not acceptable that millions of people suffer severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter and education. This is an opportunity for me to take a stand and to assist in the alleviation of poverty in non-conflict zones by the year 2030. Oxfam and I need your help as this is a colossal task but I believe that we can overcome any challenge if we come together and play our part.
Why should it be important to be a donor?
In becoming a donor you will not only be part of the team that is aiming to attempt a world first crossing of the Atlantic from New York to London, you will also be creating a platform to raise millions of pounds for Oxfam and assist in the achieving the United Nations goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030. You will receive regular updates and exclusive content as the project progresses. When I step into the Hudson River in New York in April 2017 you will be able to track my progress and receive live updates from the middle of the Atlantic. Only with your donations will I be able to bring corporate partners on board which will then enable the project to go ahead as planned.
Where will the money go?
This is purely a not for profit venture and all monies that are donated will go towards funding the swim. I want to make it clear that the initial funds that I am looking to raise will not go directly to Oxfam. At the point the project has full backing from corporate sponsors to cover all operational costs we will start fundraising for Oxfam.
What will the project cost?
We have calculated that the costs for the expedition will be in excess of £2m. Being at sea for up to 7 months will incur a substantial financial outlay and the following will all need to be acquired, rented or purchased for the swim to go ahead:
- 2 Support boats - minimum 75ft +
- 2 x Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIB)
- Fuel for 7 months
- Approx 12-16 crew - Captains/ Crewmates/ Medics/ Safety crew/Divers/Observers
- Safety equipment
- Communications equipment
- Flights and hotel accommodation for crew on rotation
- Transport for crew to and from the support boats
- Back Office support
What will you spend the funding on if you hit your minimum?
If we are able to hit the minimum target of £20,000 it will allow us to pay for staff, operating costs and to obtain professional fundraisers to target corporate backers for approximately 2-3 months.
Where will the money go if you hit your full target?
If we hit our full target of £40,000 we will be able to continue the corporate fundraising for a longer period of time which will increase our probability of success.
What will you do with extra funds if things really take off and you raise more than your target?
If we raise more than our initial target it will also help to pay for some equipment and the logistics in the build up to the event.
What will you do with any assets you have after the swim has been completed?
Any assets that have been accumulated (which may include large support vessels) will be sold after the swim has been completed and any funds raised will go to Oxfam.
How often will you give updates on progress when you're running your project or campaign?
Updates on the project’s progress will be sent out monthly to all donors via e-mail. You will also be able to follow the project via social media on Twitter and Facebook.
Frequently asked Questions
How will you swim from New York to London?
This unprecedented swim does sound crazy but I know that it’s possible. I will swim for 6-8 hours and between 14-18 miles each day. I will repeat this every day for as long as it takes to reach London which could be approximately 210 days. Once I hit the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream (23-26°C) I may be assisted by the current, which is unpredictable but it is possible that I could cover between 20 and 40 miles per day where the current is at its strongest.
How will you make sure that you cover the entire 3800 miles?
I will be using GPS equipment to track my position in the Atlantic – you will be able to follow where I am on line. When I get out of the water a GPS reading will be taken and after I’ve sufficiently rested the boat will manoeuver back to the point that I exited and I will start swimming again.
Will you be swimming every day?
Weather permitting I will be swimming everyday, on occasion conditions may make it too dangerous for me to be in the water, during these periods I will stay on the boat whilst we ride out the storm. If in the event of me falling ill I will need to spend time recuperating on the boat.
Won’t you get attacked by sharks?
I may see sharks and other potentially hazardous marine life on a daily basis, however the boat will be fitted with a Sharkshield system to deter sharks from approaching too closely. I will also have people on the boat looking out for sharks and watching the sonar for any large objects approaching from below. My biggest concern will actually be jellyfish which can have tentacles reaching up to 30m in length. When I swim in to the them, the tentacles will wrap themselves around me and cause burning pain and inflammation of the skin. I will need immediate attention from the medical team on board to neutralise the stings.
What will you be wearing whilst swimming?
I intend to swim in CSA (Channel Swimming Association) regulation equipment of trunks, swimming cap, goggles and lard or Vaseline. In bad weather or large jellyfish blooms it may be necessary to break away from CSA rules and use a wetsuit, small snorkel and possibly fins. You can read more about the swim at www.newyorktolondonswim.com/
We’ve got a range of fantastic New York to London Swim branded merchandise and also some experiences that money can’t buy, to thank everyone who donates, whatever amount you might give.
Find us here
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