The Longest Swim

Fuel Your Life

Ben Lecomte is taking on the Pacific in a 5,500-mile swim across the ocean. The long distance swimmer and his crew are preparing to embark on The Longest Swim: a swimming expedition from Tokyo to San Francisco in the name of science and sustainability.

Ben Lecomte is no stranger to crossing the ocean. He was the first person to swim across the Atlantic Ocean without a kickboard in 1998. This time, he will swim across the Pacific— for eight hours a day for six months—accompanied by a support sailboat and his six crew members.

The Longest Swim is so much more than an athletic accomplishment. It’s the first trailblazing expedition of its kind. Ben and his crew will conduct medical and oceanic research using equipment provided by such renowned institutions as NASA and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The Longest Swim is many things: It’s a world-record setting endeavour, an unsupported six-month journey, a science expedition and an opportunity to raise worldwide awareness for environmental sustainability and the impact that we have on our oceans.

I'm not an Olympic swimmer, I'm an adventurer who likes to swim.
Ben Lecomte
Adventure Swimmer / Advocate / Founder
A Journey Across The Pacific

Tokyo to San Francisco

In 1998, Ben Lecomte swam across the Atlantic Ocean in support of cancer research as a tribute to his father. Despite being followed by a shark for five days, being stung by jellyfish, and being completely exhausted, Ben successfully completed the swim in 73 days.

“Never again,” said Ben when he finally arrived in France. But his sense of adventure and passion for the ocean’s well-being made him feel like a fish out of water. Now he wants to make history once again by fulfilling his latest dream: swimming across the Pacific Ocean from Tokyo to San Francisco. While Ben spent the last four years training physically for this incredible feat, it’s the emotional impact—taking on climate change as a society—that is the most significant for him.

Ben is currently the Associate Director of Sustainability Services at Progea, a global environmental and sustainability consulting firm that helps organizations worldwide to assess their exposure to environmental, health and safety, social, and sustainability issues. The swim itself, as intense as it is, is just a drop in the Ocean. In the grand scheme of things, the swim enables Ben to open a dialogue with a wide audience around global environmental issues, and to be a catalyst for sustainability and scientific research.

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The Expedition

Support & Gear

Accompanying Ben on this trailblazing ride is a support sailboat with a highly-trained crew, and a professional support team on land—to keep a close eye on Ben and on the expedition as a whole.bBen plans to swim eight hours a day for 180 days, with an average speed of 2.5 knots. With the push of the Kuroshio and North Pacific currents from Tokyo to San Francisco, he will swim an average distance of 30 miles per day. An electrically-powered dinghy will be dispatched from the support sailboat throughout the day to assist Ben, provide him with food and drink, and help him in case of an emergency.

After a day of swimming, Ben will come onboard the support sailboat. There he’ll eat, rest and spend time with the six-member crew. The crew will mark his GPS location when he breaks for the day and bring him to that exact spot to dive back in the next morning.

The swimmer will be supported by a team of doctors and other specialists on land, who will remotely monitor his physical condition and provide any required support. All along the way, the crew will also be conducting oceanic and medical research by sampling the water and studying Ben’s performance.

The Longest Swim has fairly unique requirements of a boat. It must be structurally strong and reliable, have exceptional storage characteristics for supplies and scientific equipment, and provide a versatile working environment for the crew to live and work, for a nonstop six-month expedition.

There aren’t many boats out there that can accommodate this. Discoverer is a 67 ft (20 m) steel hulled sailing yacht, she was originally built as an ocean racer, to be part of a 14 strong fleet of identical yachts to take part in the legendary Challenge Business round the world race.

Swim for Science

Beyond the Water

The Longest Swim is an opportunity to rally people and challenge them to contemplate the impact we have on our oceans. Throughout the expedition, especially when crossing the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Ben and his crew will interact with scientists and their audience to share their experience every step of the way.

Under the direction of researchers from 12 scientific institutions including NASA and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the crew will perform oceanic and medical research throughout the journey, marking the first time such scientific work will be conducted by the general public. In connection with organizations like The Maritime Alliance and The Ocean Project, Ben and his team will use the project as a testbed for innovative technologies and to develop sustainable solutions that relate to the impact we have on our oceans.

The journey will not stop once Ben dries off in San Francisco. He and his team will continue to tell their story and inspire change and action worldwide. With the help of partners like Progea and The Climate Group, they plan to spread the word and share all the data they will have collected.

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Follow The Swim

Stay Connected

Even though they’ll be in the middle of the ocean, Ben and the crew won’t be alone. Equipped with an advanced satellite communication system, the team will invite its audience to stay connected and be a part of the journey–every step of the way.

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Thanks to GPS and activity trackers, the audience will be able to follow Ben’s progress each day on an interactive map, as well as his performance and the weather conditions.

With a CCTV system recording 24/7, drones, action cameras and 360° cameras, the crew is fully-equipped for constant updates with regular interviews, scenes from the boat, special milestone coverage… And when it’s all over, the team will release an epic documentary and a GoPro story about their journey.

On the official website, mobile app, and social media, followers will have daily updates:
• Skipper Reports
• Logbook articles
• Video shorts
• Interviews and Q.A. live sessions with Ben and the crew

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