Forget sailing, meet the man who is going to swim the Pacific
by Zoe Dickens
Sailing 8000km across the Pacific may be a dream trip for many experienced superyacht owners but few would consider the possibility of swimming this treacherous route. Unless, of course, they happen to be Ben Lecomte.
The 47-year-old French long distance swimmer, who became the first person to swim across the Atlantic without a kick board in 1998, plans to begin the trip in July 2015. Starting in Tokyo, Lecomte will swim eight hours a day for five months and hopes to arrive in San Francisco in December. When he is not swimming Lecomte will eat and sleep on the 24 metre classic yacht Rolano, which was built as a fishing vessel in the 1940s and has since been refitted using recycled and repurposed materials. The boat will also carry a crew of support staff who will monitor Lecomte’s health and progress at each stage of the journey.
Lecomte began wild swimming to raise money for cancer charities after his father died of the disease and cites his father’s suffering as the motivation he needed to go beyond what was considered possible. Now a father of two himself, he says this trip is intended to raise awareness about the negative impact our actions are having on the ocean. The team will live stream the challenge from the boat throughout the journey and Lecomte will take part in regular discussions with oceanic experts as the trip progresses.
In preparation for this mammoth task, Lecomte has been training for three to five hours a day, six days a week, rotating between running, swimming and cycling for three years. He will use flippers, a snorkel and one of the best wetsuits available during the challenge to preserve heat and maximise the power he can get from his body. There will also be a team of people on land analysing satellite pictures to warn Lecomte of adverse weather conditions and making sure he stays on course.
To stay up-to-date with Lecomte’s swim and donate to The Climate Group visit thelongestswim.com