Ben Hooper - Swim across Atlantic Ocean

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  • Hi people! I came to this forum after reading about Ben Hooper's Atlantic attempt in the newspapers. I recognise some names here. A few contributors have achieved in swimming by crossing the Channel - not on a ferry but by swimming it. They have something in common: Their stroke flows and they look like swimmers. I'm afraid Ben Hooper doesn't come into this category. He isn't a 'swimmer' as such. He looks awkward in the water. He must be thinking, 'How the hell can I get out of this without losing face and without having to give back sponsor money.'

    SylviaOhioGalcaptainhaddockRobyn8KatieBunSidMott
  • JuicyLucy,
    I completely agree with you. He's not going to complete this swim in the way he's promised. He knows it and we know it.
    He needs to go home and spend Christmas with his little girl who must be traumatised after reading today's post that her daddy is slipping in and out of consciousness!! How to give a child nightmares.
    Then in the new year he can start planning again but maybe set his sights a bit lower and work his way up to such an enormous attempt.
    Wonder if the crew are being asked to keep quiet about the swim as he's still able to post but they haven't posted since they left Dakar?????

    OhioGalJuicyLucyRobyn8
  • MarathonJaneMarathonJane Northumberland uk Member
    edited December 2016

    Fortunately the paralysis wasn't so severe that he couldn't update FB

    suziedodsSidMott
  • I have exchanged messages with a couple of the land crew, trying to get more information on the swims posted. I suggested,in the absence of a working tracker, that "The lat/longs could be posted with time for the start of swimming, end of swimming and hourly intervals during the swim. During the exchange I was told that the Facebook updates were being done by the land crew.

    DanSimonelli
  • That one I can answer I think. The Facebook updates are being done by Charlotte in the UK not Ben directly, I can only assume she is posting what she is being told and does not have access to anyone else's. I believe that the crew are able to send occasional emails and messages to their families, and are doing so, but obviously those are private communications.

    Still keeping an open mind in the absence of tangible evidence either way, and still watching with interest.

  • That is laughable really. So Charlotte is being told what to update. She's on land, no where near the boat or the swimmer. In this day and age.. really?
    Reminds me of Donald Crowhurst.. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Crowhurst... again.. sadly.

    pondlifeSylviaIronMike

    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach
    www.suziedodsswimcoaching.com

  • Debatable Sophie :) It is what is being done for other challenges such as the Vendee Globe, the land teams are updating facebook for the participants. You know as much or more than I do

  • suziedods said:
    That is laughable really. So Charlotte is being told what to update. She's on land, no where near the boat or the swimmer. In this day and age.. really?
    Reminds me of Donald Crowhurst.. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Crowhurst... again.. sadly.

    Mentioned that in the FB page. It got deleted! A Strange Voyage indeed. Almost feel sorry for him.

  • jellyfishjellyfish Member
    edited December 2016

    Robyn8 said:

    Still keeping an open mind in the absence of tangible evidence either way, and still watching with interest.

    There is more than enough tangible evidence to suggest that Bens swim is not being carried out in the advertised manner. Having read the PR stuff posted on here and further statements from Ben he is not doing what he set out to do.
    If Ben wants to get in the Guinness book of Records then why has he not used another method of logging his swim when the tracker is broken. He has gone off half cocked on this expedition, he hasn't done enough training and to say that he has had people working on his technique then he seriously wants to get another coach. His cadence is too slow, he overglides terribly and he doesn't have a good 'catch' from what I have seen on social media anyway.

    Sylvia
  • MarathonJane said:

    Fortunately the paralysis wasn't so severe that he couldn't update FB

    Interestingly some of the posts here shown, Like John Rodgers, are not active or present on the actual FB post?

  • SidMottSidMott Member
    edited December 2016

    OhioGal said:

    MarathonJane said:

    Fortunately the paralysis wasn't so severe that he couldn't update FB

    Interestingly some of the posts here shown, Like John Rodgers, are not active or present on the actual FB post?

    >

    John Rogers commented on the PMOW post:-

    Ben and all on big blue sorry to hear your bad news today, must be very painfull, is there any chance of a update on the distance you have travelled to date instead of all the negative points you are experiencing.

    Your last update miles travelled to days been at sea meant the swim would take 415 days food 140 it just does not stack up.

    Nick and Sally stuck in Dakar waiting for what? Charlotte have you as land support team leader ? Any further news on the questions ask above or the questions Sam has ask you in a earlier post as So many people are watching Ben, invested in Ben time and money.

    Ex crew member John

    loneswimmerOhioGalcaptainhaddock
  • @SidMott - what's PMOW?

  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member
    edited December 2016

    @OhioGal Portuguese man of war

    OhioGal
  • Yeah I realise that comment from John was replying to his PMOW comment on FB - but when you go to the actual FB page (being signed into Facebook) and look at the comments on that post - John's is not there?

  • KarenTKarenT Charter Member

    The Crowhurst analogy should give everyone pause for thought here. Crowhurst never set out to defraud and was a man who got himself into a position that was hard to back out from, leading to a tragic outcome. It seems clear to me that Ben Hooper's voyage / swim is becoming unsustainable and that groundwork is being laid for a possible early end to the venture. There needs to be space made by everyone to allow for a safe retirement if / when necessary. The questions that many people on this forum feel are necessary to ask have been asked and have entered the public domain. I think that at this point, piling on is likely to do more harm than good.

    KatieBunevmoViveBeneOhioGalpavlicovcurlysuziedodsdc_in_sfphodgeszohoMvGand 3 others.
  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member
    edited December 2016

    @KarenT said:
    The Crowhurst analogy should give everyone pause for thought here. Crowhurst never set out to defraud and was a man who got himself into a position that was hard to back out from, leading to a tragic outcome. It seems clear to me that Ben Hooper's voyage / swim is becoming unsustainable and that groundwork is being laid for a possible early end to the venture. There needs to be space made by everyone to allow for a safe retirement if / when necessary. The questions that many people on this forum feel are necessary to ask have been asked and have entered the public domain. I think that at this point, piling on is likely to do more harm than good.

    This may well be the case, Karen, but Ben has people on board with him who could be advising him. He's not alone and I don't think he's in an impossible situation. It's been suggested on FB that he should stop, for his own sake and that of his family. I think more harm is being done by the hoards of fans on his posts who are praising him and urging him to continue. It's feeding his desire to carry on.

    ViveBeneevmopondlifecurlyMvGVLM
  • @KarenT and @KatieBun both make good points.

    pondlifeMvGVLM
  • I agree that the space needs to be there for him to retire but think he's doing well at supplying that himself - broken boats, people letting him down, jellyfish "attack"... plenty of reasons but as my mum always said, if you're going to make an excuse, choose one and stick to it. What do we reckon it will be?

    captainhaddockSylviaOhioGal
  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member
    edited December 2016

    Interview on BBC radio Gloucester today, post jellyfish sting. Plenty of new information. 2hrs 16 minutes in.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04gnnjr

  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member

    As my email inbox is stuffed with notifications more and more of this thread, a thought came into my mind:

    Why is it that this post has more more pages of comments than say Sarah Thomas' swim in Oct or Chloe's Bahamas swim?!

    Don't have time at the moment to elaborate...got kids to pick up!
    But, I will if needed...unless you get where I'm going with this...

    david_barraRobyn8curlyphodgeszohoMvGrosemarymint
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited December 2016

    @DanSimonelli said: Why is it that this post has more more pages of comments than say Sarah Thomas' swim in Oct or Chloe's Bahamas swim?!

    Because many of those commenting on the Ben Hooper thread joined the Forum after Chloe's and Sarah's swims - and that's OK! It's how the Forum grows. Hopefully some of the folks drawn here through Ben's swim will stay to learn more about Chloe's and Sarah's past/present/future endeavors (and of those who are inspired by them).

    Appendix

    curlyDanSimonellidavid_barrasuziedodsrlmRobyn8Sylvialoneswimmer
  • Dan, Sometimes people just need to vent, and it is better vented here than on Facebook in front of his father, mother, step mother, sister, and daughter; as well as the families if the other people on the expedition.

    I cannot personally speaking disagree on the stroke style, the apparent lack of preparedness & planning, the feeling that the whole thing is a dream that is now meeting reality. But people have achieved madder things and there is no tangible evidence either way. Everything posted above is not proof, it is individual pieces that lack the whole picture and could be interpreted in different ways because there is vital data missing. We all are watching from the outside and can only "watch with interest".

    Personally speaking I hope both Sarah and Chloe achieve their swimming goals and wish them lots of support, fair weather and calm seas. If I can help in any way with either please do get back to me.

    OhioGalphodgeszoho
  • KarenTKarenT Charter Member

    @DanSimonelli because all the sociological research shows that anti-heroes are as important as heroes, if not more so, for the production of subcultural identities and belonging.

    evmoDanSimonelliKatieBunsuziedodsRobyn8ssthomasrosemarymintthelittlemerwookieJaimieAlex_Arevalo
  • Robyn8 said:
    Dan, Sometimes people just need to vent, and it is better vented here than on Facebook in front of his father, mother, step mother, sister, and daughter; as well as the families if the other people on the expedition.

    Agreed, I know this guy and I honestly wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him, but admittedly the man could sell ice to Eskimos.

    Sylvia
  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member

    KarenT said:
    @DanSimonelli because all the sociological research shows that anti-heroes are as important as heroes, if not more so, for the production of subcultural identities and belonging.

    Karen,
    I thought about you when I posted
    :)
    That's kinda where my thought was at.

    Thanks Evan @evmo
    for posting that.

    OhioGalssthomas
  • BlackwaterBlackwater south westMember

    Whatever he is doing he needs to account for the money he has taken. Before it really does get out of shape! Has given me an idea for a transatlantic relay swim though...

    Robyn8suziedodsSylviaOhioGal
  • Robyn8Robyn8 Member
    edited December 2016

    Blackwater said: Has given me an idea for a transatlantic relay swim though...

    Some vague rumblings in the back of my mind too :). If I can contribute/ help let me know

    VLMBlackwater
  • phodgeszohophodgeszoho UKSenior Member
    edited December 2016

    I think it is correct that the MSF point out that there now appears to be significant contradictions between Ben's original statement of intent and the quantifiable (or lack thereof) data to support the parameters of his "World Record" attempt. Primarily that his crossing will differentiate from previous crossings by "swimming every mile".

    The concerns over these apparent contradictions are probably not being alleviated by the fact that generally Ben's public message seems to be that, although he is encountering adversity and the challenge is proving harder than expected, he is however still "doing it", still "on target" and will “still succeed".

    However I don't think it necessarily does the MSF any favours to post too many subjective comments and personal observations. For example, I feel the comments about Ben's stroke potentially just make the MSF sound slightly elitist... :-/

    One of the things I love about this sport is you can never seem to judge someone by their appearance, stroke, or even by their experience. I personally know swimmers who you could argue have terrible stroke styles and yet they have achieved amazing swims.

    KatieBunIronMikeloneswimmerRobyn8FrancoDanSimonellisuziedodscurlydc_in_sfMvGand 10 others.
  • AnthonyMcCarleyAnthonyMcCarley Berwyn, PACharter Member

    Blackwater said:
    Has given me an idea for a transatlantic relay swim though...

    My hand is raised.

    DanSimonellisuziedodsthelittlemerwookie
  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member

    Well said, Philip @phodgeszoho

    Robyn8
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoCharter Member

    There is some bloke doing a stand up paddle board crossing of the Atlantic right now...

    The website is bit low on details, you have to actually go to the Facebook page to see what the paddle board looks like (not dissimilar to those solo row boats really)

    DanSimonelliOhioGal

    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • It's a bit sad really because obviously Ben's either in the water or resting and his boat team are focused on the swim with neither willing nor wanting to get involved in an internet debate which would be a massive distraction and loss of motivation knowing folks were constantly questioning them.

    Ideally a shore based team need to take up these issues and respond however it's entirely unrealistic to expect anything from the boat itself.

  • andissandiss Senior Member

    Just a thought - why attempt during the winter to do a crossing in the north atlantic?

    One would think there are more storms or are the current faster from east to west?

    On another note - Atlantic relay...

    3000km, if you swim @ 3km/h it would take 42 days of non stop swimming.

    These guys seem to have just done 1000km

    https://www.facebook.com/tributeswim/

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    andiss said:
    Just a thought - why attempt during the winter to do a crossing in the north atlantic?

    This is in his FAQ:

    Q. Ben is leaving at the beginning of November ... why winter?

    A. Winter is not winter as we know it in Europe, in fact Ben will cross the equator and it is important that we arrive on the other side before the hurricane season (August and rarely July).

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • andissandiss Senior Member

    Sure> IronMike said:

    andiss said:
    Just a thought - why attempt during the winter to do a crossing in the north atlantic?

    This is in his FAQ:

    Q. Ben is leaving at the beginning of November ... why winter?

    A. Winter is not winter as we know it in Europe, in fact Ben will cross the equator and it is important that we arrive on the other side before the hurricane season (August and rarely July).

    Sure - but that's a 9months swim. But 100-120 days - one would think you would start like March so you avoid the most of it.

    Anyway - it will be interesting to compare the media flow and tracker with http://www.thesupcrossing.com/live/
    which just have started

    captainhaddock
  • SidMottSidMott Member
    edited December 2016

    andiss said:
    Sure - but that's a 9months swim. But 100-120 days - one would think you would start like March so you avoid the most of it.

    Anyway - it will be interesting to compare the media flow and tracker with http://www.thesupcrossing.com/live/
    which just have started

    Supcrossing is already winning that battle :-)

    captainhaddock
  • bluemermaid9bluemermaid9 Boca Raton, FL, United StatesMember
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    bluemermaid9 said:
    Analysis by Kate Robarts (OSS website):

    http://www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com/news//639-ben-hoopers-atlantic-bid-whats-happening

    Good article, although I don't know where she gets that he has swum 140k as of 5 Dec. His tracker still says 52 miles as of 1 day 16 hours ago.

    And no mention of sponsors or charity money. That's a huge part of this for me.

    MvGOhioGalsuziedods

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • @>; IronMike said:

    Good article, although I don't know where she gets that he has swum 140k as of 5 Dec. His tracker still says 52 miles as of 1 day 16 hours ago.

    He said in a radio interview on 5th that he had swum140km so far. The flow of info about his progress is woefully sketchy.

  • He also stated in the interview that the cameras were switched off as only essential items could be used. I thought the point of the camera was so we could watch it live and the swim would be totally transparent

  • JSwimJSwim western Maryland, USMember

    @captainhaddock

    He said in a radio interview on 5th that he had swum140km so far. The flow of info about his progress is woefully sketchy.

    Do you have a link, or more info (BBC?) about who did the interview? I couldn't find it.

    Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. --Neale Donald Walsch

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    loneswimmer said:
    Recovery from his "death bed".

    And no comments. Typical.

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • JSwim said:

    Do you have a link, or more info (BBC?) about who did the interview? I couldn't find it.

    @KatieBun posted the link above on Dec 5th. Here is is, the interview starts just after 2hrs 16mins http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04gnnjr

    JSwim
  • phodgeszohophodgeszoho UKSenior Member

    After reading the "Back from his death bed" article linked to above I think one of my early new years resolution will be to stop following this swim and anything related to it. Best of luck to all involved and all following but I am just not interested in this anymore.

    evmoKatieBunwendyv34SylviacurlyIronMikeJSwimcaptainhaddocksuziedodsViveBeneand 3 others.
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    phodgeszoho said:
    After reading the "Back from his death bed" article linked to above I think one of my early new years resolution will be to stop following this swim and anything related to it. Best of luck to all involved and all following but I am just not interested in this anymore.

    Good luck!

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • I bought a book about Crowhurst today as I had honestly not heard of this man/story until reading this forum... Major feature film about him coming out next year called The Mercy. Looking forward to reading this.

    pondlifeSylvia
  • edited December 2016

    Sums it up very well.

    Were he to continue to cover actual swim distance at his current rate, he would take until February 2018 to complete his target... at its present speed, the boat would reach Natal with Ben having swum roughly 500k, leaving him with 2,500k still to swim

    Not surprisingly, Ben’s Facebook pages and the Marathon Swimmers Forum have seen some heated debate about whether this swim will be able to claim an Atlantic first. Such an enormous undertaking, seeking to claim a world record, was bound to be subjected to minute scrutiny. Opinion is divided as to whether the so far relatively short daily distances en route, coupled with a lengthy swim at the end to compensate for considerable drift mileage (if this is what actually happens), would constitute “swimming the Atlantic”. Such a swim has been compared by one respected marathon swimmer to, “swimming 21 miles in Dover Harbour and claiming to have swum the Channel”.

    I've swum many kms in OW races off the coast of Brazil, I didn't realise I could have offset them against crossing the Atlantic. I was the first !!

  • I don't know why but I feel like I have totally 'zoned-out' and shut out everything about this swim - maybe it's because all my friends and family keep sending me articles about it and NO-ONE in the Dover scene has ever heard of him.....He comes from Cheltenham (as does Manhattan record holder Ollie Wilkinson) and Ollie confirmed that he did actually see him training! I just figured you would take on the EC first to get a feel for what's in store before the Atlantic but maybe I am a traditionalist!

    Can anyone confirm whether he is definitely NOT using a wetsuit, snorkel & flippers?
    Does he have a respectable group of observers who can stand up to scrutiny?

    Just keen to know any more proper facts IN CASE I am asked to comment as President Elect of the BLDSA!!!

    Shezza

    loneswimmerKatieBuncaptainhaddockDanSimonelliMvGTracy_Clark
  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member
    edited December 2016

    Ok, I'm also bored with this, now. Have tried hard to keep watching, but these two latest posts have sapped my will to continue. I've been feeling weak. Do I really want to read any more drama? I just wanted to watch a swim...... stage swim or not, had it been a good, long swim every day, it would have been fun to follow. I would respect a swimmer who could continue to put in long hours day after day.

    7 December
    Day 25
    One small swim for a man, one giant splash towards making history.
    That Portuguese man of war attack really knocked me for six.
    I have been in pain and feeling weak since.
    Still experiencing limited movement in my right shoulder.
    Do I really want to go back into the murderous abyss?
    Do I really need to face my nemesis and my creator for a second time in under a week?
    Nobody walks from a body bag.
    OK
    I'm ready.
    Let's do this; one small splash.

    8 December
    Day 26
    Hoorah!
    Hip hip hooray.
    Back to work after too many days sick leave.
    Not easy physically or mentally.
    Flopped over the side and within minutes the batteries on my headphones died. How is a man supposed to swim across an ocean without the support of the latest gramophone recording by chart topping popular beat combos?
    Undeterred I pressed on manfully. Only stopping to take on water and to pass water!
    I was dragged out after an hour for observations. Made me feel like a circus side show.
    Dragged literally. I was fatigued and couldn't climb out of the water unaided.
    Sen was there with the rescue kayak then Russell dragged me into the dinghy.
    Lunch and three hours rest and I had another go. Two one hour sessions isn't a lot but it is the start of my road to Natal.
    For some reason the press want to interview me....

    For some reason..... this has begun to pall. Yer 'avin a larf!

    @MarkSheridan Sorry, Shezza, didn't see your post. He has that kit on board but it's too hot to wear the wetsuit and I don't think he's wearing flippers and a snorkel, either...... but that's because he's sailing. ;-)

    loneswimmerSidMottcaptainhaddockteresapondlifeMvGSylviaTracy_Clark
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