Ben Lecomte is setting off next April on the world’s longest swim. His stage swim, a charity swim for cancer, will be noteworthy on various levels: (1) the method he will swim, (2) the technology involved, (3) the people behind the technology, and (4) the technology itself.
Firstly, Ben’s swim will be a true stage swim. He will mark a waypoint at the location where where he finish his daily swim. Then he will board his escort sailboat and rest, recuperate, sleep and wait until his next swim leg. On the next swim, his sailboat will circle back to the previous day’s waypoint where he will jump back into the water and continue his swim.
So his swim across the Pacific Ocean will be a true swim across the Pacific Ocean, albeit not a continuous immersion in the water.
Secondly, his stage swim will be confirmed – and observed – in a unique way. His entire data base of waypoints will be available online – and broadcast in real-time throughout his swim. In a uniquely vicarious manner, people from around the world can see what Ben is experiencing by logging online. That is, if anyone wants to know what the largest body of water looks like from the perspective of a single human swimming across it, Ben’s swim gives them the opportunity.
But it will not be easy.
To continuously broadcast Ben’s swim in the extraordinarily difficult environment of the Pacific Ocean is a technological marvel. For such a long event, in some ways the aquatic equivalent of tracking astronauts to the moon and back, the broadcast and two-way communications between Ben and the rest of the terrestrial-based humans, is taxing his support team like no other swim has. But their efforts will enable swimmers, fans and curious onlookers to see what Ben is experiencing in the comfort of their homes, offices and schools.
Without a doubt, The Longest Swim will capture the attention of mankind in ways that will be uniquely positive and globally expansive. The 5-6 month swim will capture the interest in charitable giving to cancer research as well as promote marine awareness and the sport of open water swimming. A single human effort to cross the largest expanse of water in the world – the Pacific Ocean – will be inspirational in touching people’s interest in donating money, in learning about the ocean and in swimming themselves.
Thirdly, as every open water swimmer knows, a marathon swim is not a single solitary effort by one person. Because that person is entirely dependent on the support team. And Ben’s support team will be among the best ever recruited on a long-distance journey. Ben is currently recruiting individuals with some of the world’s best technical minds and creative talent.
These individuals must be hardy, skilled and adventurous. They must be able to handle 5-6 months at sea, able to handle adversity without hope of touching land, and very importantly, enjoy and relish in an ambiance of solitude that comes with working in a small team as Ben makes his way stroke-by-stroke across the Pacific Ocean.
It will be daunting – gigantically so.
They must perform their responsibilities with patience, immediacy and a sense of teamwork on a sailboat in a stretch of blue that will go on endlessly for half a year.
The responsibilities of the five selected individuals – one captain and four crew members – are to assist Ben and manage the support boat. They must be multi-talented individual with skilled, practical knowledge in any of these areas:
Communications (wireless, satellite)
Electronics & Computer Technology
Food Management & Preparation
Renewable & Sustainable Resources (Solar, wind, biodiesel)
Applicants are asked to upload a 1-2 minute video of themselves to YouTube and explain why they want to be part of Ben Lemonte‘s team and why they should be selected.
Fourthly, The Longest Swim (also referred to as the Cross-Pacific Swim for Cancer 2012 will require tough technology to pull off continuous broadcasting of information and keep themselves and Ben safe. Ben’s team must not only anticipate how, when and where problems will occur, but also develop solutions to unanticipated problems encountered in the middle of the ocean.
Copyright © 2011 by World Open Water Swimming Association