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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Ben Lecomte Reaches DNF Decision, But Carries On



Courtesy of Seeker, The Swim, Pacific Ocean.

After weeks of fighting the weather and risky water conditions with the final 5 days of no swimming due to safety stoppages, Ben Lecomte officially called off The Swim, his transoceanic assisted stage swim of 8,721 km across the Pacific Ocean from Japan to California.

After 160 days, Lecomte had already covered 1,524 nautical miles (2,822 km) in The Swim.

He found himself and his escort crew in a position far, far away from safety and any possible help should something go wrong.

And things had started to go wrong. Very wrong. Dangerously wrong.

Lecomte wrote on Day 160, "With the tri sail, the boat is less maneuverable and her up sail capacities are limited as well. If something goes wrong with the tri sail, then [our escort boat] Seeker cannot sail. Then, we could only rely on our motor but we only have 15 days worth of fuel and that wouldn’t be enough to get us to the closest mainland."

"With 32.3% of the distance covered in a little more than 5 months, he still had a very long way to go: 5,899 km to his unprecedented goal to San Francisco," commented Steven Munatones.

"At that current pace, he may have had to be out in the Pacific Ocean up to 322 more days to finish."

Lecomte explained the collective decision on the Seeker when winds reached up to 50 knots, "We have been slowly sailing south all day with the tri sail under heavy wind and high seas. After this low pressure system passes, more are forecasted.

Today we had an open discussion about the limitation of the swim, the challenges we are facing, the many constraints we have to deal with and what it all meant for the expedition.

I knew everybody’s position; they felt we had reached a point where going further would mean compromising our safety. I was the only one willing to go further and challenge the limits.

I have a different approach, mindset and goals when it comes to the expedition. For me the expedition is also an opportunity to discover myself, my limits and to challenge them. I set my mind to reaching a certain goal, face the difficulties as they come, reassess my attitude and adapt it to the changes, and learn about my own limitations and artificial barriers that are ingrained in me. The only way to discover more about oneself is to live through challenging events. This is for me one important aspect of the swim and this unfortunately I can no longer pursue.

The other important goal and the one that everybody is aligned with is the mission of The Swim; bringing attention to ocean health, focusing on the marine plastic pollution and inspiring people to reduce their use of plastic.

This goal has not changed, for me now it is my only focus.

Today, The Swim as a world record attempt as stopped but The Swim as a platform keeps on living because it has always been the most important goal of the expedition.

Swimming is for me not only a mode of expression but also a unique way to open a window into this amazing world. I feel the ocean not by standing on a beach, or on the deck of a boat, nor by floating, but rather by being submerged in it. I experience its state and mood, and spend countless hours looking down to its depth sharing that magic and disturbed space with its wildlife and virus, the plastic that compromises its health. I keep on swimming when and where ever possible to share this deep felt connection I have with the ocean
."

Daily Progress To Date:
Day 1 / 2018-06-05 --> 10.08 nautical miles
Day 2 / 2018-06-06 --> 17.12 nautical miles
Day 3 / 2018-06-07 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 4 / 2018-06-08 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 5 / 2018-06-09 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 6 / 2018-06-10 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 7 / 2018-06-11 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 8 / 2018-06-12 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 9 / 2018-06-13 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 10 / 2018-06-14 --> 4.14 nautical miles
Day 11 / 2018-06-15 --> 5.56 nautical miles
Day 12 / 2018-06-16 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 13 / 2018-06-17 --> 8.34 nautical miles
Day 14 / 2018-06-18 --> 7.38 nautical miles
Day 15 / 2018-06-19 --> 4.78 nautical miles
Day 16 / 2018-06-20 --> 0.98 nautical miles
Day 17 / 2018-06-21 --> 2.72 nautical miles
Day 18 / 2018-06-22 --> 13.27 nautical miles
Day 19 / 2018-06-23 --> 34.61 nautical miles
Day 20 / 2018-06-24 --> 33.23 nautical miles
Day 21 / 2018-06-25 --> 16.81 nautical miles
Day 22 / 2018-06-26 --> 36.56 nautical miles
Day 23 / 2018-06-27 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 24 / 2018-06-28 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 25 / 2018-06-29 --> 23.21 nautical miles
Day 26 / 2018-06-30 --> 20.62 nautical miles
Day 27 / 2018-07-01 --> 25.75 nautical miles
Day 28 / 2018-07-02 --> 28.33 nautical miles
Day 29 / 2018-07-03 --> 43.6 nautical miles
Day 30 / 2018-07-04 --> 5.37 nautical miles
Day 31 / 2018-07-05 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 32 / 2018-07-06 --> 18.33 nautical miles
Day 33 / 2018-07-07 --> 26.84 nautical miles
Day 34 / 2018-07-08 --> 21.3 nautical miles
Day 35 / 2018-07-09 --> 21.57 nautical miles
Day 36 / 2018-07-10 --> 19.17 nautical miles
Day 37 / 2018-07-11 --> 24.09 nautical miles
Day 38 / 2018-07-12 --> 17.61 nautical miles
Day 39 / 2018-07-13 --> 32.91 nautical miles
Day 40 / 2018-07-14 --> 1.74 nautical miles
Day 41 / 2018-07-15 --> 29.45 nautical miles
Day 42 / 2018-07-16 --> 27.49 nautical miles
Day 43 / 2018-07-17 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 44 / 2018-07-18 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 45 / 2018-07-19 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 46 / 2018-07-20 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 47 / 2018-07-21 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 48 / 2018-07-22 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 49 / 2018-07-23 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 50 / 2018-07-24 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 51 / 2018-07-25 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 52 / 2018-07-26 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 53 / 2018-07-27 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 54 / 2018-07-28 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 55 / 2018-07-29 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 56 / 2018-07-30 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 57 / 2018-07-31 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 58 / 2018-08-01 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 59 / 2018-08-02 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 60 / 2018-08-03 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 61 / 2018-08-04 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 62 / 2018-08-05 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 63 / 2018-08-06 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 64 / 2018-08-07 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 65 / 2018-08-08 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 66 / 2018-08-09 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 67 / 2018-08-10 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 68 / 2018-08-11 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 69 / 2018-08-12 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 70 / 2018-08-13 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 71 / 2018-08-14 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 72 / 2018-08-15 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 73 / 2018-08-16 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 74 / 2018-08-17 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 75 / 2018-08-18 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 76 / 2018-08-19 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 77 / 2018-08-20 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 78 / 2018-08-21 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 79 / 2018-08-22 --> 26.87 nautical miles
Day 80 / 2018-08-23 --> 23.9 nautical miles
Day 81 / 2018-08-24 --> 20.51 nautical miles
Day 82 / 2018-08-25 --> 23.73 nautical miles
Day 83 / 2018-08-26 --> 13.67 nautical miles
Day 84 / 2018-08-27 --> 24.03 nautical miles
Day 85 / 2018-08-28 --> 20.74 nautical miles
Day 86 / 2018-08-29 --> 7.77 nautical miles
Day 87 / 2018-08-30 --> 12.84 nautical miles
Day 88 / 2018-08-31 --> 21.38 nautical miles
Day 89 / 2018-09-01 --> 27.04 nautical miles
Day 90 / 2018-09-02 --> 23.49 nautical miles
Day 91 / 2018-09-03 --> 36.55 nautical miles
Day 92 / 2018-09-04 --> 24.28 nautical miles
Day 93 / 2018-09-05 --> 0.69 nautical miles
Day 94 / 2018-09-06 --> 21.59 nautical miles
Day 95 / 2018-09-07 --> 5.08 nautical miles
Day 96 / 2018-09-08 --> 20.86 nautical miles
Day 97 / 2018-09-09 --> 18.02 nautical miles
Day 98 / 2018-09-10 --> 17.16 nautical miles
Day 99 / 2018-09-11 --> 19.97 nautical miles
Day 100 / 2018-09-12 --> 14.81 nautical miles
Day 101 / 2018-09-13 --> 2.82 nautical miles
Day 102 / 2018-09-14 --> 17.44 nautical miles
Day 103 / 2018-09-15 --> 13.92 nautical miles
Day 104 / 2018-09-16 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 105 / 2018-09-17 --> 0.46 nautical miles
Day 106 / 2018-09-18 --> 23.32 nautical miles
Day 107 / 2018-09-19 --> 19.85 nautical miles
Day 108 / 2018-09-20 --> 22.5 nautical miles
Day 109 / 2018-09-21 --> 23.75 nautical miles
Day 110 / 2018-09-22 --> 20.71 nautical miles
Day 111 / 2018-09-23 --> 22.37 nautical miles
Day 112 / 2018-09-24 --> 9.26 nautical miles
Day 113 / 2018-09-25 --> 17.91 nautical miles
Day 114 / 2018-09-26 --> 20.16 nautical miles
Day 115 / 2018-09-27 --> 21.42 nautical miles
Day 116 / 2018-09-28 --> 7.67 nautical miles
Day 117 / 2018-09-29 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 118 / 2018-09-30 --> 6.38 nautical miles
Day 119 / 2018-10-01 --> 11.74 nautical miles
Day 120 / 2018-10-02 --> 4.73 nautical miles
Day 121 / 2018-10-03 --> 10.07 nautical miles
Day 122 / 2018-10-04 --> 9.45 nautical miles
Day 123 / 2018-10-05 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 124 / 2018-10-06 --> 8.98 nautical miles
Day 125 / 2018-10-07 --> 8.38 nautical miles
Day 126 / 2018-10-08 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 127 / 2018-10-09 --> 4.69 nautical miles
Day 128 / 2018-10-10 --> 8.24 nautical miles
Day 129 / 2018-10-11 --> 12.82 nautical miles
Day 130 / 2018-10-12 --> 13.56 nautical miles
Day 131 / 2018-10-13 --> 20.39 nautical miles
Day 132 / 2018-10-14 --> 23.89 nautical miles
Day 133 / 2018-10-15 --> 19.22 nautical miles
Day 134 / 2018-10-16 --> 15.51 nautical miles
Day 135 / 2018-10-17 --> 10.89 nautical miles
Day 136 / 2018-10-18 --> 12.08 nautical miles
Day 137 / 2018-10-19 --> 11.11 nautical miles
Day 138 / 2018-10-20 --> 13.93 nautical miles
Day 139 / 2018-10-21 --> 5.55 nautical miles
Day 140 / 2018-10-22 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 141 / 2018-10-23 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 142 / 2018-10-24 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 143 / 2018-10-25 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 144 / 2018-10-26 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 145 / 2018-10-27 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 146 / 2018-10-28 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 147 / 2018-10-29 --> 3.71 nautical miles
Day 148 / 2018-10-30 --> 10.92 nautical miles
Day 149 / 2018-10-31 --> 4.81 nautical miles
Day 150 / 2018-11-01 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 151 / 2018-11-02 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 152 / 2018-11-03 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 153 / 2018-11-04 --> 11.16 nautical miles
Day 154 / 2018-11-05 --> 10.17 nautical miles
Day 155 / 2018-11-06 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 156 / 2018-11-07 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 157 / 2018-11-08 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 158 / 2018-11-09 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 159 / 2018-11-10 --> 0 nautical miles [safety stoppage]
Day 160 / 2018-11-11 --> 0 nautical miles [The Swim officially stopped]
Day 161 / 2018-11-12 --> 0 nautical miles [heading to Hawaii]
Day 162 / 2018-11-13 --> 0 nautical miles [heading to Hawaii]
Day 163 / 2018-11-14 --> 0 nautical miles [heading to Hawaii]
Day 164 / 2018-11-15 --> 0 nautical miles [heading to Hawaii]
Day 165 / 2018-11-16 --> 0 nautical miles [heading to Hawaii]
Day 166 / 2018-11-17 --> 0 nautical miles [heading to Hawaii] Day 167 / 2018-11-18 --> 0 nautical miles [heading to Hawaii]
Day 168 / 2018-11-19 --> 0 nautical miles [heading to Hawaii]
Day 169 / 2018-11-20 --> 0 nautical miles [heading to Hawaii]
Day 170 / 2018-11-21 --> 0 nautical miles [heading to Hawaii]
Day 171 / 2018-11-22 --> 0 nautical miles [heading to Hawaii]
Day 172 / 2018-11-23 --> 0 nautical miles [heading to Hawaii]
Day 173 / 2018-11-24 --> 0 nautical miles [heading to Hawaii]
Day 174 / 2018-11-25 --> 0 nautical miles [heading to Hawaii]
Day 175 / 2018-11-26 --> 0 nautical miles [heading to Hawaii]
Day 176 / 2018-11-27 --> 0 nautical miles [heading to Hawaii]

Total distance swum until attempt stopped:
1,524 nautical miles (2,822 km)

Hannah Altschwager, Lecomte's land coordinator on Land, confirmed Lecomte's decision. "After battling numerous storms and constant exposure to the harsh conditions in the Pacific, the support boat Seeker has suffered irreparable damages to the main sail. The broken sail has been a devastating blow in Ben’s world record attempt, and forced him and his crew to call the swimming part of the expedition off.

Ben and the crew are more determined than ever to continue collecting data and drawing attention to the state of the oceans health after seeing an eye-opening amount of debris and microplastics across their voyage. They are currently sailing towards Hawaii, and nearing the entrance to the accumulation zone, otherwise known as the great pacific garbage patch. The crew are interested in comparing samples collected there to the rest of the data they have collected during the expedition and changing their focus to collecting data rather than The Swim.

They are expecting to arrive in Hawaii in the first couple of weeks of December, and until then will be conducting the protocols as normal.

After Hawaii, Ben and the crew are working on another leg of the journey, collecting more samples through the accumulation zone as they sail back to Los Angeles, but he is no longer going for the world record attempt
."

"It was a remarkable effort; a 7-year journey to seek partners, plan and execute scientific experiments, train and prepare the escort boat," says Munatones about The Swim. "Swimming was just his expression; Ben was always working towards his goal on a long-term basis - and still is."

Lecomte is one of this year's nominees for the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year along with the following individuals:

1. Benoît Lecomte (France/USA)
2. Cameron Bellamy (South Africa)
3. Diego López Dominguez (Canary Islands)
4. Ferry Weertman (Netherlands)
5. Igor Lukin (Russia)
6. Ion Lazarenco Tiron (Republic of Moldava)
7. John Batchelder (USA)
8. José Luis Larrosa Chorro (Spain)
9. Kristóf Rasovszky (Hungary)
10. Lewis Pugh (Great Britain/South Africa)
11. Maarten van der Weijden (Netherlands)
12. Ned Denison (Ireland/USA)
13. Rohan More (India)
14. Vladimir Mravec (Slovakia/Australia)
15. Yaroslav Pronin (Belarus)

The WOWSA Award winners (Man of the Year, Woman of the Year, Performance of the Year, Offering of the Year) are selected by the public in an online poll where one vote is allowed for one computer/one person.

To vote for the 2018 WOWSA Awards and the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year, visit here.

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