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Monday, February 8, 2016

Nothing Great Is Easy Across The Ocean

Courtesy of Ben Hooper, Swim The Big Blue.

Only a very infinitesimal number of open water swimmers hope to do, plan and execute transoceanic swims.

Each of these swims takes in extraordinarily large amount of funds, supporters, logistics and operational planning.

Most of them require years of planning and fund-raising.

As a result, many transoceanic plans get cancelled and nearly all schedules get postponed in some way.

Ben Hooper and his Swim The Big Blue transoceanic swim from Senegal in Africa to Brazil in South America across the Atlantic Ocean is no different. But his resolve is deeply ingrained and similar to his transoceanic peers and colleagues.

He reports from his home base in England:

"Sadly, due to a sponsor being three-months delayed in supplying vital navigation equipment to the boat we are now in a position where the UK weather and Bay of Biscay have indeed caught up with us and will not allow the boat to travel from the UK to Dakar, safely. My insurers and consultants have advised this would simply be a suicide mission and my skipper has stated clearly that he will not sail my boat through Bay of Biscay; which is clearly the right approach to have.

I must reiterate that the boat itself is ready, as am I physically, however, it is simply not safe enough for the boat to travel south and I cannot risk loss of life and indeed the boat. The weather is something we cannot control for, as we could not control one sponsor's timeline.

There is also a further implication of time on the latter part of the swim route, in the sense that even if we could force the boat South to Senegal, we would be at considerable risk of hurricane season in July towards Brazil, which again would jeopardize the expedition.

I have not taken this decision lightly as the expedition has been three-years in the making and I must reiterate that this is purely due to weather factors as a result of one sponsor delaying our departure. The swim is now scheduled for November 1st 2016 and the boat will leave the UK in July 2016. This ensures all safety and the best chance of success.

I am sure you are as disappointed as I am, but I can assure you, I am devastated at having to delay the swim. It has huge impact financially, physically and mentally on me and my team. I do hope you will continue to stand with me as we go later in the year.

I hope you will understand why the expedition has to be delayed and that the weather is simply beyond my control. We look forward to continuing working with you.

We will achieve this epic world-first, sadly, it will simply be later than proposed.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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