Ben Hooper - Swim across Atlantic Ocean

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Comments

  • It is getting pretty onerous now and those FB updates are just laughable. He's not making history, and is just splashing about. There is no transparency to this at all, and if anyone tries to ask legitimate questions they get derided as a troll or unbeliever.
    I can understand people not wanting to follow it anymore(its getting to me too), but I think its important that the challenge is maintained and questions asked.

    captainhaddockloneswimmerKatieBunevmorosemarymintrlmZoeSadlercurlyLynneMvG
  • Just had a look at the fundraising pages for the 4 charities that are being sponsored.
    Of the total £560,000 target, so far a total of £15,876.18 has been raised

  • ZoeSadlerZoeSadler Charter Member
    edited December 2016

    I would like to ignore it, but am getting fed up of all the people asking me "Have you heard about that man who is swimming across the Atlantic?". I hope it doesn't take until Spring 2018 to finish the "swim" as I will vaporise into a pile of pink goo at this rate.

    #SailTheBigBlue

    evmocaptainhaddockVLMcurlyandissrlmIronMikeMvGSylviaSidMott
  • The swim remains of interest to me particularly to see where the successes might be versus the mistakes. Comparing them with others in particular Ben Lacomte , and looking at his previous swim and the forthcoming one. Seeing how he chooses to duplicate or eliminate certain protocols. Many of the mistakes are clear and should therefore be avoidable if other swimmers seek similar adventure swims. Remember, these are all pioneering and we have seen only a handful of such swims. It is hard for us to accept fins, wetsuits, stinger suits, blatant breaking of accepted rules but it seems to me, such rules must be sacrificed (to a degree) when big ocean swims demand a different mix of ingredients.

  • mjstaplesmjstaples Atlanta, GA, USMember

    At the beginning, I really hoped he would succeed. But the "updates" are seeming a little too much like story telling without any real updates. I feel like this is just fodder for his book. The updates (which are coming from a land base) feel slightly choreographed (sp?) in their delivery.

    DanSimonelliKatieBunSylviaflystorms
  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member

    @mjstaples said:
    At the beginning, I really hoped he would succeed. But the "updates" are seeming a little too much like story telling without any real updates. I feel like this is just fodder for his book. The updates (which are coming from a land base) feel slightly choreographed (sp?) in their delivery.

    Like you, I hoped he would make good progress and deliver some serious mileage, even if he needed to have a few rest days. We all want people to succeed when they take on something big and, as @ssthomas said on another thread, this is surely possible as a stage swim. I know I'd follow with interest anybody managing to hack 20 - 25k every day for such an extended period.

    I was trying to give up following it, because what's frustrated me about this attempt is the constant assurance that he is on track to complete his 2,000 mile swim within the advertised time scale...... coupled with the lack of info about swim distance covered, in spite of lengthy, newsy updates. I agree that they seem highly choreographed, even sensationalist, with the intention of keeping Ben in the news. That comes across as more important than either the swim or the aim to raise £1 million for the charities. The press is lapping it up.

    DanSimonellipondlifeSylvia
  • Hello all. Without being funny, I think he has gone slightly bonkers. His posts are hysterical and tangential and a bit wild. Maybe that's for our benefit? Dunno, but I'd be slightly worried if I were his crew and family. It all seems pretty odd. As well as all the other very very obvious issues with tracking and the very bad state of the boat, it's really annoying me that he keeps insisting that the portuguese man o'war has 'attacked' him.

    pondlifeKatieBunSylviacaptainhaddockDanSimonelliSolosuziedods
  • JSwimJSwim western Maryland, USMember

    SallySwims said:
    it's really annoying me that he keeps insisting that the portuguese man o'war has 'attacked' him.

    Especially since in the recent interview referenced above, he said that the PMOW was dead:

    "...a Portuguese Man of War which had obviously been eaten by another animal, so I didn’t see any of the tentacles and I had quite a bad reaction to which resulted in me being taken out of the water..."

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

  • pondlifepondlife Member
    edited December 2016

    I agree with Sally and am actually losing interest (and glad to be). They are either pre written, or at least pre scripted in some kind of plot with regular events to keep the press interested - and/or he's going bonkers (A la Donald Crowhurst as has been said before). Especially the particularly crazy religious references to resurrection and meeting his maker

    7 December
    "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."

    BUT if he walks up some beach in Brazil, to a clatter of press photographers claiming he has made history, while Chris Bertish plods along on his SUP, quietly doing something incredible while Ben lies in his bunk and sails across - well then I think I'll explode. We will need to act.

    #sailthebigblue

    And don't even let the boat captain speak

    KatieBuncaptainhaddockSylviaDanSimonelliflystorms
  • It's gone a bit quiet the last couple of days

  • SidMott said:
    It's gone a bit quiet the last couple of days

    Some where along the info tube there is a regular delay where they seem to store up two or three days updates for the maximum effect. Judging by posts on his FB page today there may a rant or two in the next post.

    SallySwimsSidMott
  • I'm wondering if Ben is going to silently give up his attempt to swim the Atlantic as he is clearly not fulfilling it and just quietly slip away.

  • edited December 2016

    jellyfish said:
    I'm wondering if Ben is going to silently give up his attempt to swim the Atlantic as he is clearly not fulfilling it and just quietly slip away.

    He needs a story to explain why, that may take a day or two work out.

  • The rambling has just reached new heights - see the latest updates. Scary.

    pondlife
  • Lynne said:
    The rambling has just reached new heights - see the latest updates. Scary.

    Weird. An the comments asking about updates and what's happened to the previous "issues" are being deleted. One from Dave Marlow disappeared while I was on there

  • andissandiss Senior Member

    Just read the last FB updates - this is a farce (compared to what other swimmers has accomplished) - i regret even posting this in the first place.

    I don't think it should give it anymore attention

    Shall/Can we delete the thread?

  • Oh please don't delete. We have to be able to rant somewhere and he keeps deleting stuff from Facebook. A few journalists are watching this forum and we will need them if/when he strolls up a beach in Brazil claiming to have made it "against all the odds" - and trying to sell the movie rights...

    Bit disappointed in myself though. Last night I was going to write on here and say I'd put money on a shark popping up in the next post but deleted it before posting as it felt mean. I feel vindicated now.

    Sylviasuziedods
  • @andiss I don't think this thread should be deleted, but understand your frustration.
    Like you, I was genuinely in awe of the premise of the swim and followed with interest the build up and initial stages. But the more it has gone one, the more we have realised all is not what it seems.
    Others who are asking questions on FB are now taking screenshots of their posts as they are being deleted. I can understand that the shore based folks want to protect Ben from "negativity" but as has been explained before, only allowing the encouraging posts could push Ben into an increasingly dangerous situation.

    KatieBuncaptainhaddockpondlifeDanSimonellicurlysuziedods
  • It's important not to delete as we need a record of concerns so other swimmers in the future don't make the same mistakes.

    That said, maybe folks need to post less, buy their MSF calendars and start planning their 2017 swims!

  • ZoeSadlerZoeSadler Charter Member

    It would be good if WOWSA were to make a statement or distance themselves from this. It is clear that there is no record attempt now, even if there were good intentions at the start.

    I am concerned about the safety of all those on board. There are other crew members on board who have families who must be missing them terribly. Maybe if they realised that there is no world record for the taking they would (sensibly) return to Dakar.

    SylvialoneswimmerKatieBunevmocurlypondlifesuziedodsIronMike
  • FYI all, I posted on the FB page but was pissed off with Robyn heckling so just deleted my posts. Didn't want to start another battle. So that's why mine disappeared - it's not all conspiracy...

    SylvialoneswimmerDanSimonelliKatieBun
  • Not sure about a World Record but he's sure to be in line for an Oscar at this rate. He's such a drama queen in all his posts . Even if he does knuckle down and start doing the distance I ll find it hard to take him serious now

    Deborahsuziedods
  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member

    There's one thing we've been seriously concerned with while warming up by the fire after swimming for the past few weeks...Sea Moths.

    What the heck are Sea Moths? Ben had one burrowing in his ear, a doctor had to remove it, and Reuters published as much. This sounds more terrifying than lampreys. As best I can tell, they look like someone straightened out a sea horse and added wings, grow to about 8cm, and live mainly in the coastal tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. So what on Earth was one doing in middle of the Atlantic BURROWING IN BEN'S EAR!

    Until this gets sorted out, I'm keeping my unplugged ears far away from pelagic Atlantic waters.

    Sylviawendyv34KatieBunpondlifeMvGsuziedods

    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    EW! :-&

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember

    I'm not really a facebooker or anything so I don't see all the material about Ben's swim. In my little wanderings about the internet, I haven't seen one shred of evidence that he is actually swimming. We have some video of him starting out. We have some verbal accounts of swimming and so forth. Is there any credible evidence of swimming available? Can an independent observer talk about stroke count, feedings, speed, anything that might show that he is actually swimming rather than writing dramatic Facebook posts. In all honesty, I could cobble up a story of an amazing swim from the comfort of my living room. I have been refraining from posting further on this thread because I really have nothing to add. But as I was thinking about this further, I started to realize that there really is nothing out there that I have seen that proves this "swim" is actually taking place.

    It's a shame, as the concept is pretty cool. But this has become so tainted that it is ruining the whole idea. His Facebook cheerleaders are nice people to cheer him on and I know I would be cheering for one of my friends that attempted something so daring and impossible. But they are wrong to blindly attack those of us who are dismissing this "swim" as a fraud. The burden of proof is on Ben and the impartial observers and so far there hasn't been any solid evidence of a legitimate swim offered up. Am I wrong?

    rlmKatieBuncaptainhaddockloneswimmerpondlifeMvGsuziedodsSylviapavlicovDanSimonelli
  • pavlicovpavlicov NYC USASenior Member

    This is more about my experience as an educator. I am hoping I will have a point at the end:

    I have noticed a strange association among my students around lying and being dramatic. If student comes to the class late and says 'sorry, subway was stuck' and sits down, I am more likely to believe them than if they come late and start being upset and dramatic about how the train stopped on 125th because there was a guy and then in the tunnel how many announcement etc... More dramatic details they give me, more likely it is that they are lying. Nowadays, in age of twitter, it is easy for me to see whether they were the only one 'stuck in subway' or not.

    The point is, if person lives through an event, it becomes so real (because it actually happened) that they don't have the need to give additional dramatic details. If person are making up an event, they are insecure and unsure about it and they feel that just saying 'subway was delayed' cannot be enough and feel that they need to justify it more. They also feel that dramatic tone makes the reader/listener to be more likely on their side. For humans, it is very hard to tell a lie in one sentence with no drama.

    My second observation is that more and more cornered a person is in their lie, more dramatic lies they come up with to persuade the audience to believe them, even though this the fast way of digging up their grave.

    evmorlmSylviacaptainhaddockcurlysuziedodsjellyfishKatieBunrosemarymintDanSimonelliand 3 others.
  • Who in WOWSA would be receiving the swim logs and updates?
    As per the last FB updates:-
    "We ensure we are able to send WOWSA documents along with captains log for verification"
    https://www.facebook.com/SwimTheBigBlue/posts/1812319222358864

  • @pavlicov - WHOA... this IS interesting.
    "it's very hard for a human to tell a lie in one sentence with no drama"
    THAT speaks volumes.

    Sylvia

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

  • Pavlicov has raised some very good points. Ben is beyond ridiculous now. How s he still swimming I wonder after all that has befallen him?
    My main concern is that with the boat in such a decrepit state surely it is not safe to continue? There are peoples lives at stake here. You don't even take a paddle boat out on a lake if it's faulty, why would you sail across the Atlantic on one?

    Sylvia
  • Hi there. Firstly I'm going to apologise for posting on your very worthy forum. I'm not a swimmer myself. I found this forum after spending an hour looking for hard proven statistics of Ben Hoopers swim. I have a feeling, after reading previous posts, that some of you here are getting heartily sick of the whole debacle.

    I'm from Cheltenham and 2 years ago I went to a fund raiser for Ben's Atlantic Swim. The fund raiser was itself funded and supplied by generous people who were impressed, at the time, with Ben's idea and efforts to achieve this feat. I along with many others, donated hundreds, as I have a personal interest in some of his stated charities.

    At the end of the evening, a fair few of us left with a very sour taste in our mouths. I even said that night to my husband "this is a crazy vanity project".
    The evening compromised- a psychologist who told us Ben was, after testing him, a psychopath (Ben was present as we're over 50 other people when this was announced) and that if anybody could pull off this swim...Ben could- and an inordinate amount of time talking about his daughter.

    Apart from that, hard fast facts were scarce. He popped up a few times in the local paper at the local lido or primary schools for a swim..and promoted his funding pages.

    There are a growing number of people in Cheltenham that would like an "official update" on this swim.
    Have we funded one man's ocean dip? Or are we the few who helped this maverick achieve the implausible?

    How do we go about seeking official confirmation of Ben's swim so far? Who are the officials that might be able to do this?

    There are many people out of pocket and hoping that their money went to the promised charities, rather than a broken boat and knackered tracking system!

    If anybody could give me details of people or organisations, I'd be grateful.

    Again, I'm very sorry to crash your forum. I thought you'd be the most informed people to ask.

    Happy swimming.

    suziedodsIronMikeSylviaDanSimonelliMvGpondlifeOhioGalTracy_Clark
  • @Jessrhs , You are not "crashing" the forum. You are WELCOME . Maybe we will get you in the water, but at the very least you'll learn about our sport.
    There are some lovely funny and informative threads here.
    Grab a cup of tea, put your feet up and read away.

    rlmslknightAnthonyMcCarleySylviaDanSimonellicaptainhaddockKatieBundc_in_sfOhioGaltortuga

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

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    @Niek beat me to it, @jessrhs, as did @suziedods. I would advise ALL who have donated money contact WOWSA and Guinness. Further, I think there might be legal actions that could be taken when someone is taking money meant for a charity. Someone up above (I've forgotten who) mentioned it I believe.

    The questions you are asking are not improper. They are legitimate questions one should ask of any world-record claim, or any claim for that matter. You've come to the right forum.

    Again, welcome! This is a wonderful community of caring and dedicated people. Please stay and update us on what you learn.

    SylviaMvGOhioGalTracy_Clark

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

  • @Jessrhs

    Ben came to Northumberland to raise awareness and to raise money for charity, admittedly some of the venues he booked were not overly subscribed nevertheless all monies it was publicised were to go to charity. The event I took part in raised £100's for a local charity, but a few of us became suspicious so we rang the charity only to find that non of the money was donated, Bens excuse was the his expenses were running high. We embarrassed him into donating £100 of 'his' money to the charity so you could contact the charities to find out if they have actually received any of the monies you donated. If they haven't then this adds a whole new level.

    IronMikeSylviaMvGOhioGalTracy_Clark
  • Interesting stuff - keep it coming! Just caught up!
    Love it that real Swimmers are posting - and like Dan Simonelli - sad he is associating himself with DN - and beer? really?

  • I have added a very polite comment to his STBB Facebook page asking for a breakdown of expenditure and charitable donations. I'll keep you posted.

    curlyMvGsuziedodsOhioGal
  • Dolfinsal said:
    Interesting stuff - keep it coming! Just caught up!
    Love it that real Swimmers are posting - and like Dan Simonelli - sad he is associating himself with DN - and beer? really?

    The alcohol bit was vigorously denied as just being a joke.

  • Jessrhs said:
    I have added a very polite comment to his STBB Facebook page asking for a breakdown of expenditure and charitable donations. I'll keep you posted.

    Did you take a screenshot? as many FB comments asking questions get deleted

    A few days ago, I added up the donations so far of 4 the charities on the STTB Charities page. £15,876.18 Of the total £560,000 target has been raised

  • Lisa_LloydLisa_Lloyd London, UKMember
    edited December 2016

    I'm hoping the Michael Ventre NY to London swim learns from all these mistakes and so we don't see a repeat of this thread when that swim starts - I presume it is still starting in April?

    DanSimonelliKatieBun
  • Lisa_LloydLisa_Lloyd London, UKMember

    Although Michael has many swims under his belt so at least knows what to expect... any updates on that swim... I'm looking forward to following that.

    KatieBun
  • I've just been reading Bens latest post.

    No working engine
    Headsail snapped
    Rigging snapped
    Failed generator
    Snapped steering cable-fixed but for how long?

    Surely if they continue to sail and say there was an accident. Would his insurance not be invalidated as he's continued instead of making for safety asap ?
    Assuming he has adequate insurance for all the crew, even the last minute crew!!!

    loneswimmersuziedodsDanSimonelli
  • I have been following this in the background for a while and have been pretty skeptical reading all the comments. I do wish him all the luck in the world But when you take on something like this and the Claims that go with it, You have to be prepared for the questions. If this was some guy just swimming the atlantic, that would be different, The moment you turn it into a GWR, you have to be prepared for all the questions.

    I think the biggest omission is the lack of information being fed to the world and that Frustrates a lot of people in this world. We have seen it all before with certain other claims and this is the reason for the questions

    Having not really achieved much in my life compared to the heavy hitters I see on this forum, I would love the opportunity to do something like this so I admire ben for getting where he has got to but it frustrates me with the lack of planning, lack of information, blame appropriation, It all seems to be very clandestine and unprofessional and it is great that there is a group who do not just roll over and accept everything that is fed to them on social media.

    evmocurlyJessrhsSylviaMvGsuziedodsDanSimonellicaptainhaddockTracy_ClarkSydneD
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    edited December 2016

    @JuicyLucy I removed your most recent, as I think it went over the line. @IronMike I deleted a post that was virtually devoid of content.

    DanSimonellisuziedods

    loneswimmer.com

  • paulmpaulm Senior Member
    edited December 2016

    SidMott said:

    Jessrhs said:
    I have added a very polite comment to his STBB Facebook page asking for a breakdown of expenditure and charitable donations. I'll keep you posted.

    Did you take a screenshot? as many FB comments asking questions get deleted

    A few days ago, I added up the donations so far of 4 the charities on the STTB Charities page. £15,876.18 Of the total £560,000 target has been raised

    I could be incorrect but If you look at the Help 4 Henry fundraising page & click through the donations & the Help 4 henry FB page (a Very worthy cause ! ) it appears that the majority of the 9473 pounds raised was raised by others via golf events trivia events and a guy called Phil Stamp cycling (plus other events & donations ).

  • What I am liking about this forum, is the overall weight of opinion that simply asks for more information. Swimmers are interested in the detail. Other forums like facebook, might be seen as one which cheers the swimmer on, where family and friends are more interested in other things.

    What I am less happy about, is the concept that almost forces a swimmer to develop great comms or face questioning that tends to become more intrusive if comms are lacking in detail.

    Why I am less happy is because such questioning can be debilitating to a swimmers resolve, once the questioning begins to become disbelieving or unsupporting.

    I wonder whether it might be better for the swimmer to simply go out and do their swim without concerning themselves with social media. Although this would be quite an awkward position when social media, publicity and creating a buzz is vital for sponsors and charitable fundraising, and in particular, when some element of fame or history is in the making or sought to support a book.

    Or, whether it is vital for the swimmer to be expert at top quality reporting and associated tech in order to ensure the greater mass of swimmers could then offer their wholehearted support, in real time, and so strengthen the resolve of the swimmer.

    thelittlemerwookie
  • suziedodssuziedods Mem​ber
    edited December 2016

    I wonder whether it might be better for the swimmer to simply go out and do their swim without concerning themselves with social media.

    THAT is the question! This goes back to thread on "ego swimmers".
    I don't think you need to be a "top quality " reporter and associated tech at all!
    I also have to disagree with the comment about the questioning debilitating to the swimmers resolve.
    All you need is information , on a regular basis, based in fact, not hyperbole. And if information is not on a regular basis ( ala Sarah Thomas's swim due to lack of signal) make that clear in the beginning.
    This is just fast becoming a farce and it didn't have to be at all.

    loneswimmerSylviaKatieBunrosemarymintDanSimonellicurlyslknightthelittlemerwookieMvGTracy_Clark

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

  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member
    edited December 2016

    When I do a swim, I do it for selfish reasons, ask as little as possible from folks, and typically don't give much of a performance for viewers at home.

    But if I did a swim that I talked up for years, that had 55+ sponsors, 4 charities, a patron, and a charity hoodie...if I asked a million people to donate to my swim, and got tracking devices, cameras, and said in big letters at the top of my site "Filmed for a Global Audience Online and TV by Chief Productions"...at that point I'd better be ready to deliver a performance.

    No, @haydn, I don't think this type of commentary forces any swimmer to up their self-promotion game. This is self-inflicted, and I cannot feel sorry when someone promises so much, then under-prepares and under-delivers.

    evmoKatieBunsuziedodsHaydnDanSimonelliRobyn8gregocrlmcurlydavid_barraand 14 others.

    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

  • loneswimmer said:
    @JuicyLucy I removed your most recent, as I think it went over the line.


    I accept this. I will appeal to everyone here, let's get behind Ben. He'll do it if we only post positive comments. Let's keep sending sponsorship money to him. He's a great Brit. I'm so proud of him!

  • Lisa_Lloyd said:
    I'm hoping the Michael Ventre NY to London swim learns from all these mistakes and so we don't see a repeat of this thread when that swim starts - I presume it is still starting in April?

    Please note this from Michael's website "First person to swim from New York to London - 3800 miles! Please donate and help me get to the start line to raise £5M for Oxfam"

  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member

    Haydn said:

    Or, whether it is vital for the swimmer to be expert at top quality reporting and associated tech in order to ensure the greater mass of swimmers could then offer their wholehearted support, in real time, and so strengthen the resolve of the swimmer.

    This is exactly what they've missed.
    (Though, like @suziedods, I don't think "expert at top quality reporting and associated tech" is prerequisite).

    They've missed the opportunity for a more well informed "cheering section", thus giving support and motivation from people who really know what it is and can be like out there!
    For me, that would be true and much more powerful motivation than the cliched hum of the masses (though well intended and heartfelt).

    Robyn8paulmcurly
  • You all can shout at me if you wish, I have been a bit cheeky and messaged Michael Ventre to point him at this forum as a fantastic place to get help and advice on open water marathon swimming and the support requirements.
    Hope that is OK :)

    malinakapavlicovMvGTracy_Clark
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