A SWINDON-BORN adventurer successfully completed an epic 5,000-mile voyage across the Atlantic after overcoming dangerous obstacles and several setbacks.

Sir David Hempleman-Adams set off on his perilous ocean journey from Southampton in early May and spent 44 days at sea on a 43-foot yacht.

Despite facing stormy waters, sleep deprivation, technical issues and serious vessel damage, the 62-year-old reached New York City successfully and safely yesterday.

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've been through on this voyage.

“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’ve 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 has climbed the highest peaks in all seven continents and reached both of the Earth's poles and, though he is only a novice sailor, decided to take on his biggest challenge yet to raise money and awareness for the work of health charity St John Ambulance.

He has supported the charity for more than 25 years and been a trustee for 12 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.

"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. Or, asa 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.”

Sir David intended to complete the journey by himself but ongoing technical challenges threatened to end his challenge prematurely.

So, he had a pit stop in Spain and recruited highly-skilled skipper and experienced sailor Nick Davey to help him make it to America.

Sir David added: "I'm sad that it's over but also very pleased that it's over, I've got mixed feelings. It was a big trip and I underestimated it in terms of time and complexity, but set off with a grand goal and it's lovely to be here safe and sound.

"What am I looking forward to doing now? Certainly not sailing for a while, that's for sure. I've probably got a mountain of post, I have to get home and see my loved ones which will be very nice.

"I'll just relax, every day has been tough, you couldn't relax at all because you didn't know what was coming, it could've been a storm, it was just a goal to get to the end.

"It'll be nice, I can have a long bath, go to the pub and have a couple of beers, see a few of my mates and just chill out."

To read Sir David's daily diary of the journey, visit www.sja.org.uk