Ben Hooper - Swim across Atlantic Ocean

andissandiss Senior Member
edited November 2016 in General Discussion

I was first a bit sceptical when I heard about it but then i saw "This is to be undertaken under the auspices of the World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA)."

I could but not just to wish the man good luck!

http://www.swimthebigblue.com/

tortugaRobyn8
«13456789

Comments

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandAdmin
    edited November 2016

    There's only one (untrained) observer listed for what is estimated to be a four month swim (and I think that estimate is nonsense).

    I think Ben Hooper is genuine, but I am reminded of The First Law...

    pavlicovevmo

    http://www.loneswimmer.com The World's Most Popular Open Water Swimming Blog

  • andissandiss Senior Member

    Well...it doesnt seem to start well; "attempt delayed until at least Saturday due to unexpected crew changes."

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandAdmin

    English Channel distance. For 80 days...

    evmo

    http://www.loneswimmer.com The World's Most Popular Open Water Swimming Blog

  • JSwimJSwim Maryland, USMember

    I agree with @loneswimmer . I looked at his website and some articles about him and watched a couple of videos about him/from him a week or 2 ago, and wasn’t filled with confidence. A few things (okay, grew to 8 things, then I quit) I discovered on the web (in no particular order):

    1. lots of sponsors

    2. no list of previous marathon open water swims, only vague references in a video where Ben himself says he’s done a few 10 K’s and charity swims

    3. this swim was scheduled for November 2015, but obviously didn’t happen. I didn’t poke around enough to find a reason for the reschedule to this year. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2688618/Father-one-swim-2-000-Atlantic-Ocean.html

    4. He was supposed to start November 2, 2016 but hasn’t: http://dailynews.openwaterswimming.com/2016/09/swim-big-blue-update-from-ben-hooper.html

    5. In watching video of him swimming, that he posted, his stroke is not particularly efficient. Good for a fitness swimmer, but not “swim across the Atlantic and not get shoulder over-use injuries pretty quickly” type of efficiency. I expect he’d last 2 days at most without major shoulder issues (assuming 10+ miles each day).

    6. One of two videos I watched he was using a snorkel and fins and a wet suit (and at the beginning when he was cruising quite fast, with fins AND swim gloves). Why did he think it’s 1of 2 of his best videos to post on his home page?

    7. Lots of talk about why he’s swimming, his daughter, but just not what I’d expect a viable, ultra marathon swimmer to talk about.

    8. Front and center on his home page: “How to Donate” and “Filmed for a Global Audience...”

    evmoloneswimmer

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

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited November 2016

    @andiss said: I was first a bit sceptical when I heard about it but then i saw "This is to be undertaken under the auspices of the World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA)."

    This doesn't actually mean anything, re: the credibility/authenticity of the swim. It means he paid $100 for some insurance, an Openwaterpedia entry, some DNOWS coverage, and a subscription to the WOWSA magazine.

    The listed "observer" is a UK-based paramedic with no apparent connection to swimming, or experience at observing/documenting swims.

    rosemarymintandiss
  • I remember being similarly sceptical when Sean Conway set out to swim Lands End to John 'o Groats a couple of years ago. He did it, though it took him months, and was pretty transparent about how he hid it (wetsuits etc, staged adventure swim). He did he whole distance, using the tides to help very sensibly, and even wrote a very entertaining book, totally free of Nyadian claims and hyperbole. Ben says he is going to swim the whole distance, and even 'make up' for what currents may assist, which seems positively sadomasochistic!

    DanSimonelli
  • phodgeszohophodgeszoho UKSenior Member

    This was posted on the BBC on the 8 November 2016

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-37899259

    Ben Hooper's Atlantic swim attempt further delayed

    A man's attempt to become the first person to officially swim across the Atlantic has been delayed by two crew members pulling out of the expedition.

    Ben Hooper, 38, was due to have started his swim from the west coast of Africa to Brazil on Monday morning.

    But, he said, a medic had become unsettled and quit the crew, prompting another crew member to leave as well.

    He said he was still hoping to begin the 2,000-mile (3,200 km) challenge later this week.

    Mr Hooper, from Cheltenham, said both crew members would need to be replaced.

    'Key member'

    "The expedition isn't grounded, but... I need to replace my medic and one sailing crew." _ He said the medic was a key member of the team he could not go without, but he was hopeful one of his two _"backups" would soon be able to join the team.

    The attempt was originally due to begin on 1 November, but it has already been postponed several times, due to bad weather and an electrical fault with one of the two support boats.

    Mr Hooper's four-month attempt to swim from Senegal to Natal in north-east Brazil is due to end next March.

    He hopes to raise £1m for charity by completing the task. Other people have attempted to swim across the Atlantic but no previous attempt has been ratified by Guinness World Records.

    loneswimmerevmo
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandAdmin

    If I'm not mistaken, the medic was also the Observer?

    http://www.loneswimmer.com The World's Most Popular Open Water Swimming Blog

  • andissandiss Senior Member

    evmo said:

    @andiss said: I was first a bit sceptical when I heard about it but then i saw "This is to be undertaken under the auspices of the World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA)."

    This doesn't actually mean anything, re: the credibility/authenticity of the swim. It means he paid $100 for some insurance, an Openwaterpedia entry, some DNOWS coverage, and a subscription to the WOWSA magazine.

    The listed "observer" is a UK-based paramedic with no apparent connection to swimming, or experience at observing/documenting swims.

    Thanks for above info. Im getting more sceptical by the minute that this will neither go ahead nor be completed. 3.200.000m is duable in a year i guess but in less than 100 days - one would wonder.

  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member

    I ask as a newbie marathon swimmer--so no expertise here--is it even possible for anyone to swim across the Atlantic unassisted, according to Channel rules? I don't know a lot about this particular story, but could an attempt by someone a lot more experienced than Mr. Hooper succeed? I doubt it very much, given the changeable conditions in a swim of that length in the ocean--this isn't to take away from the achievements of the best swimmers out there. Just... how does anyone swim that far nonstop? It seems like something a person might be able to do in stages, but unassisted for the distance?

    What would it take to do something like that? Marathon swimming at even a fraction of the distance Hooper plans on calls for some pretty elaborate planning and training. Even then poor conditions can derail much shorter swims. Across the Atlantic? That's just mind-blowing! (Oh, and I'd have a LOT of work to do before I'd attempt such a thing, ha! In another several hundred lives, perhaps, when I become superhuman or something.) ;)

  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsCharter Member

    According Channel rules?

    If you can stay in the water for the whole distance without being touched and without touching the boat?
    Than Yes You Can.

    pavlicov

    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!

  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member
    edited November 2016

    @dpm50 He's not doing it "unassisted" or "channel rules" It's a stage swim attempt. Swimming est 6-12 hr days.

    He has his rules posted on the website.

  • bruckbruck San FranciscoMember

    From swimthebigblue.com:

    ”Swim The Big Blue” will chart a course from Dakar, Senegal to Natal, Northern Brazil across the open Mid-South Atlantic Ocean.

    Using freestyle swimming (front crawl) Ben will swim up to a total of 10 hours per day in two sessions to allow for recovery and lowering injury risk, over approximately 140 days.

    He will need to swim at least the straight line distance of 1,632 nautical miles (1,879 statute miles) to achieve the record, mainland coastline (Africa) to mainland coastline (Brazil).

    He will be taking a near 3,000 nautical mile sailing route due South and across the equator, to account for drift whilst asleep on the boat at night and not harm the straight line distance needing to be swum for the world-first.

    It would be impossible to return daily to the exact GPS exit point due to the volume of fuel required for the 4-month duration, to fight the ocean and following winds daily. Therefore, the controlled drift at night (on the long sailing route) will be accounted for in this extra-long, sailing route and of course DOES NOT count towards the swim total required.

    Every day the total current assist in nautical miles will be calculated, and deducted from the gross swim total, to ensure that what is left is a raw swim distance in nautical miles. It is the raw distance that will be calculated for the record, therefore taking out current assist from the swim (agreed with WOWSA).

    GWR Record definition

    This record is for the first person to swim across the Atlantic Ocean.
    This record is to be attempted by an individual.
    This is to be undertaken under the auspices of the World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA).

    GWR Rules for "First person to swim across the Atlantic Ocean," record

    This record is for swimming across the Atlantic Ocean from mainland coastline to mainland coastline.

    This record attempt must be undertaken under the auspices of the World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA). Once the record has been ratified by WOWSA, the claimant must submit a confirmation letter from WOWSA, in which the record achievement and all details of it (dates, times and start and stop locations) are confirmed.

    The straight line distance is 1,632 nautical miles to take account of conversion from land miles and curvature (as agreed with WOWSA) but is likely to be closer to 1650 nautical miles upon completion (1900 statute miles) or more.

  • He is supposed to start tomorrow. I have followed some of his training which he has logged. it seems insufficient for this type of distance he is setting out to do. I don't want to be negative, but I know he mentioned somewhere in his training that he is about a 2:00/100m pace that was about a yr ago he said that. He has posted that he has completed some longer OW training sessions of around 14-16km, which just doesn't seem adequate for someone who is going to look to swim around 30 km /day, every day, in the middle of the ocean. I believe for this swim he said he will wear wetsuit, but no fins. I wish him the best, but I really don't think he will be able to get through the daily swim volume necessary to complete this. I just hope he and his crew are safe.

  • andissandiss Senior Member
    edited November 2016

    The Live tracker is paused - he has done 9miles according to the FB feed.

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandAdmin

    Following what @JSwim wrote, I looked at the two swimming videos and would encourage you to do the same.

    I was frankly, quite surprised. I consider myself an average technical swimmer, because I know just how good some of you are. But, well. He looked like a local triathlete swimmer.

    Both are in easy locations, The Med fairly calm, Key West completely protected. neither indicative of the Atlantic many of us know so well.

    I would think that wearing a snorkel would allow a person to to focus on stroke and DPS, so it seems odd to me that a swimmer wearing one is unable to keep the snorkel above the water, that being the point of it after all!

    He over-rotates heavily to his right hand side. His right shoulder is going to get destroyed. He has a scissors kick that I think of as the hallmark of the intermediate triathlete. And it looks at times that he might have been been using or have come from a TI approach.

    But hey, the media team is doing their job effectively over here anyway.

    rlmJSwimtimsrootKatieBun

    http://www.loneswimmer.com The World's Most Popular Open Water Swimming Blog

  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member
    edited November 2016

    I can't fathom the tracker. Nobody swims in a completely straight line. I was looking for total transparency for this attempt. As yet, I can't see that.

    phodgeszoho
  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member

    Why doesn't everybody take a breath and let the man swim...he's barely fkn started. :)>-

    Skepticism aside, at least see what he does and encourage and enjoy the attempt and extreme human endurance venture.

    thelittlemerwookietortugaRobyn8
  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member

    KatieBun said: I can't fathom the tracker. Nobody swims in a completely straight line. I was looking for total transparency for this attempt. As yet, I can't see that.

    I'm expecting you've never seen the common tracker from Outrider (pilot boat) Catalina Channel swims. Sticks to the rhumb line very minutely. Or both my Catalina swims piloted by my coach/friend/paddleboarder extraordinaire, with his GPS on his board staying online within 10' of the line the whole time...even in very choppy sloppy conditions!

    And, the view from tracker is usually panned out enough where any swirving is not noticeable. So, that's possibility too.

    Robyn8
  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member

    DanSimonelli said:

    KatieBun said: I can't fathom the tracker. Nobody swims in a completely straight line. I was looking for total transparency for this attempt. As yet, I can't see that.

    I'm expecting you've never seen the common tracker from Outrider (pilot boat) Catalina Channel swims. Sticks to the rhumb line very minutely. Or both my Catalina swims piloted by my coach/friend/paddleboarder extraordinaire, with his GPS on his board staying online within 10' of the line the whole time...even in very choppy sloppy conditions!

    And, the view from tracker is usually panned out enough where any swirving is not noticeable. So, that's possibility too.

    I'll take your word for that, Dan. Thanks for clarification. :-)

    DanSimonelliRobyn8
  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member

    .....and apologies for the criticism. The tracker works very differently from the two that I own. I'll keep my mouth shut and watch! Sorry, folks.

    DanSimonelliRobyn8
  • EricEric Member
    edited November 2016

    DanSimonelli said: Why doesn't everybody take a breath and let the man swim...he's barely fkn started.

    Dan, a couple questions:

    1. Weren't you at one point personally involved in this event? Why did you withdraw?
    2. When Ben's website says the swim will be a "Guinness World Record" and will be "undertaken under the auspices of the World Open Water Swimming Association", what does that mean, when seemingly no one affiliated with either WOWSA or GWR is personally witnessing the attempt?
    malinakaloneswimmer
  • ZoeSadlerZoeSadler Charter Member

    I wish him lots of luck with his adventure.

    It's not a swim that follows the traditional rules of marathon swimming, but it would be impossible to swim the Atlantic anyway under traditional rules. Unless you were a shark. But there might be some difficulty there with the unassisted entry and exit at either end.

    It's not the sport that we the majority of forum members participate, but it's still going to be quite an adventure for him. I, for one, wouldn't want this to turn into another one of those discussions - he seems to be quite transparent with the rules he is following here in his adventure.

    Let's hope he and his crew stay safe during this attempt.

    loneswimmerDanSimonellithelittlemerwookieRobyn8
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member

    I don't even have enough time keep track of the really badass MARATHON Swims happening in the world. Just not interested in this stuff.... sorry.

    loneswimmer

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • phodgeszohophodgeszoho UKSenior Member
    edited November 2016

    @DanSimonelli I personally don't think @KatieBun's question was being critical. Having had a look at the tracker I was also struggling to understand what I was looking at and she beat me by five minutes to ask if anyone could explain it. I don't think it is being critical if people are taking an interest and asking questions.

    Tracker

    I also don't think the straight line here is similar to what goes on in the Catalina channel. If you download the GPX it appears that the est. 20k straight sections are a single data jump:

    lat="14.33411" lon="-17.27109" time= 2016-11-14T15:35:09Z

    lat="14.10571" lon="-17.27298" time= 2016-11-15T10:17:20Z

    Would just be helpful if someone involved provided a key or explanation to what we are looking at here.

    KatieBunloneswimmerevmo
  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member

    That was my problem. I phrased it poorly. It was the big jumps with no incremental points which were puzzling. I'm enjoying checking in with Ben's progress and wish him well, but I, too, would welcome a key.

    phodgeszohoDanSimonelliRobyn8
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandAdmin

    @DanSimonelli If I've leaned anything in the last five years, it's best to get questions out in the open early on. If there are genuine answers then what's the problem? Sure, it might feel accusatory for the particular swimmer, but we've seen all too clearly what happens when we let our natural inclination to assume every swimmer is honest take control of genuine questions. And we also know no-one else is going to ask them.

    IronMikeKatieBunDeborah

    http://www.loneswimmer.com The World's Most Popular Open Water Swimming Blog

  • KatieBun said: That was my problem. I phrased it poorly. It was the big jumps with no incremental points which were puzzling. I'm enjoying checking in with Ben's progress and wish him well, but I, too, would welcome a key.

    I think the straight red line has been added manually for some reason, maybe just for clarity. I've been following the vessel's progress on marinetraffic.com where you can see they have been steadily plodding along since the start.

    KatieBunDanSimonelli
  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member

    Eric said:

    Dan, a couple questions:

    1. Weren't you at one point personally involved in this event? Why did you withdraw?
    2. When Ben's website says the swim will be a "Guinness World Record" and will be "undertaken under the auspices of the World Open Water Swimming Association", what does that mean, when seemingly no one affiliated with either WOWSA or GWR is personally witnessing the attempt?

    Hey @Eric

    1. Yes, at the beginning of the planning I was on board as Observer. I worked with Ben and wrote up the initial version of the Rules. The projected time period for the duration of the adventure increased to the point at which I had to withdraw for not being able to be absent from home for such a long period of time. I haven't been involved much since then.

    2. I'm not sure about either of these. They came about after my time. @evmo commented on the WOWSA affiliation previously, so perhaps he's better to ask. My thought: As with MSF Documented/Recognized swims, there isn't a specific relationship between the Observer(s) and MSF. So, I believe the same principal applies here with WOWSA and GWR. As long as proper, verifiable, minimum required documentation for the organization is kept and submitted, then the vetting process can occur and each organization will make their determination of verification.

    Robyn8
  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member
    edited November 2016

    phodgeszoho said: @DanSimonelli I personally don't think @KatieBun's question was being critical. Having had a look at the tracker I was also struggling to understand what I was looking at and she beat me by five minutes to ask if anyone could explain it. I don't think it is being critical if people are taking an interest and asking questions.

    I also don't think the straight line here is similar to what goes on in the Catalina channel. If you download the GPX it appears that the est. 20k straight sections are a single data jump:

    lat="14.33411" lon="-17.27109" time= 2016-11-14T15:35:09Z

    lat="14.10571" lon="-17.27298" time= 2016-11-15T10:17:20Z

    Would just be helpful if someone involved provided a key or explanation to what we are looking at here.

    Hi @phodgeszoho

    I think @KatieBun's "question" was loaded on the side of doubt and premature criticism, which she already acknowledged in subsequent post: "apologies for the criticism".

    An example of an 'unloaded' question would be, "I don't understand the straight line of the tracker. Can someone explain why it's so straight? Is that normal or possible?"

    Regarding the GPX data points, I don't understand that either. They do seem odd. Not that they're spread out more than the usual time increment of 10 min Spot Tracker (common default setting?), but because there are only two and separated by odd time frame.

    However, given their supposed intention of marking the start and end coordinates for each swim leg (to accumulate the full mileage across), perhaps those are simply two data points along the way to "draw the line" (as @Lionheart suggests above) to post on website...?

    I do trust that Ben's intention from the beginning was for full transparency, and he wanted to do whatever necessary to have his swim be documented fully.

  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member

    loneswimmer said: @DanSimonelli If I've leaned anything in the last five years, it's best to get questions out in the open early on. If there are genuine answers then what's the problem? Sure, it might feel accusatory for the particular swimmer, but we've seen all too clearly what happens when we let our natural inclination to assume every swimmer is honest take control of genuine questions. And we also know no-one else is going to ask them.

    Hi Donal @loneswimmer

    You know I agree with your premise of "early open questions"...and questioning in general and in depth.

    However, there's no reason to be accusatory or frame questions with accusatory feel. The base question can always be asked without the presumption of there being something askew or wrong or not being transparent.

    In fact, when questioning in this way it leads to more assumptions and inflames the discussion...rather than maintaining rational, reasoned questions to be answered specifically and hopefully clearly.

    curly
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited November 2016

    I plugged Ben's data into track.rs, which gives a somewhat more informative perspective on what is happening:

    Screen Shot 2016-11-15 at 4.33.50 PM

    My Interpretation:

    (All timestamps GMT)

    • Began swimming from Dakar, 2016-11-13 10:31:50
    • Stopped swimming at 17:14 - about 6.5 hours of swimming
    • It appears that the tracker is switched off while Ben is resting on the boat - hence the long straight lines between the last trackpoint on a given day, and the first trackpoint the next day
    • Started swimming the next day, 2016-11-14 13:49:53
    • Stopped swimming after ~2 hours
    • Started swimming the next day, 2016-11-15 10:17:20
    • Stopped swimming after ~2 hours
    • Started swimming after ~4 hour break, 2016-11-15 15:54:41
    • Stopped swimming after ~1.5 hours

    If this interpretation is correct, most of the distance traveled so far represents drifting, rather than swimming.

    DanSimonellimalinakaloneswimmerphodgeszohoJustSwimSpacemanspiffsuziedodscaptainhaddockgregocKatieBun
  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member
    edited November 2016

    Thanks @evmo ^:)^

    Can you post the Track.rs link

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandAdmin

    @evmo said:

    If this interpretation is correct, most of the distance traveled so far represents drifting, rather than swimming.

    From the FAQ today

    Ben will follow a support boat where he will sleep and eat, he will swim twelve of the fourteen of daylight hours per day ... 6 hours swimming, 2 hours rest, 6 hours swimming. During the night the boat will be kept in position ensuring that it does not drift in Ben’s favour while asleep. Any drift will be accounted for and made up towards the end of the expedition.

    Emphasis added mine. So how is the drift tracked? Also, don't the initial GPS track already contradict this? And even including trade winds, will the drift always be so favourable?

    And how will it be made up? We're not talking a couple of kilometres or a loop around a harbour, we're talking hundreds of k if it continues as it has begun.

    In what way is this different so far (apart from the visible tracking) from previous Atlantic swims where the swimmers didn't cover anywhere near the whole distance?

    DanSimonellievmo

    http://www.loneswimmer.com The World's Most Popular Open Water Swimming Blog

  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member

    Good questions @loneswimmer :)

  • paulmpaulm Senior Member

    Does anyone have any updates on this- the tracker appears to be not working (or flat battery ) for the last 30 plus hours ??

    Lynne
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandAdmin
    edited November 2016

    AIS shows the boat.

    The track covers about 18 hours. Lowest speed 1 knot, (top right where it is dropping down more directly SSW, then on the next reading two hours later it has increased to 2.9 knots and track changed back SW) , max 4.3 knots.

    http://www.loneswimmer.com The World's Most Popular Open Water Swimming Blog

  • I have been following Ben Hooper for a while now with what I can only say is a great deal of scepticism. How can you even hope to swim the Atlantic where there have never been an attempt at the English Channel? Ben was in Dakar for around six weeks before he eventually started his swim, he is supposed to be raising money for charity but his fundraising is as obscure as his tracker. I can't imagine the price of setting usuch a swim is cheap so how is this being funded? I was part of a group that donated approximately £500 to a cancer charity through as swim Ben Hooper organised, I also learned from the Charity that Ben handed none of the monies over save for £100 when he realised he'd been 'rumbled'. That's deplorable in my book.

    loneswimmerJSwim
  • Screen Shot 11-19-16 at 07.59 PM An update on progress with no tracker and intermittent Marine Traffic points. Need satellite Marine Traffic sub to get more updates. What surprised me was 120miles between the last two points I have plotted in 30hrs. Seemingly in Ben's FB post there was no swimming. Can anyone shed any light on why?

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member

    Razzle dazzle?

    JSwimsuziedods

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • He posted somewhere that he swam 6 miles on day 4. So at that point it was 4 days of swimming, and 37 miles of swimming completed. I found that post thru a google search I don't know if it was from his FB or what.

    loneswimmer
  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member

    There's now a note on Ben's personal page stating that,.... and I quote,... "... from now on, only the boat tracker will be used." This is a comment on a post which states that, "there has been an issue with the Iridium so no messages over the last two days. The spot tracker is only as good as the satellites relaying its position."

    • Spot tracker does not use Iridium.

    It also says, Spot tracker..."is not the main way in which Ben's mileage is calculated."

    loneswimmerJSwimevmo
  • JSwimJSwim Maryland, USMember

    Can someone ( @KatieBun ? @loneswimmer ?) explain the implications, if any, of only using a boat tracker?

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

  • edited November 2016

    They started off by starting the spot tracker when Ben started swimming, and turning it off when he stopped so we could all see when he was swimming. By using the boat tracker, it's on all the time so we do not see when he is swimming, unless they find a way to tell us when he is swimming.

    evmoKatieBunJSwim
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited November 2016

    @JSwim said: Can someone ( @KatieBun ? @loneswimmer ?) explain the implications, if any, of only using a boat tracker?

    Implications (according to my understanding - please anyone correct if I've said anything inaccurate):

    • The technical term for "boat tracker" is AIS (automatic identification system) - Wikipedia has a good overview.
    • AIS devices transmit the position of marine vessels through a combination of GPS sensors and VHF radio transmissions to land-based receivers.
    • In near-shore waters, AIS is generally a more reliable source of location data than a SPOT tracker - which is presumably why it is used by all the English Channel boats.
    • Far offshore, the VHF transmissions can no longer reach the base stations directly. However, an AIS device can still transmit data back to land via two paths:
    • (1) by sending data to a nearby AIS-equipped boat (or series of boats), until there is a boat close enough to reach the base station.
    • or (2) by sending data to an AIS-networked satellite. This depends on (a) a satellite being close enough to receive the VHF transmission, and (b) the boat's AIS device being a Class A transponder (Class B transponders aren't typically powerful enough to reach satellites).
    • Data access: while SPOT provides a public API so anyone can access free and unlimited data from SPOT trackers, AIS data are generally paywall-restricted (e.g., via MarineTraffic.com). Satellite AIS data are even more restricted.
    • Since Ben's team is apparently no longer using the SPOT tracker, that means we won't be able to reliably distinguish between his swimming progress and his drifting progress (according to my interpretation earlier in this thread).
    • Assuming Ben's boat has a Class B transponder (because Class A's are prohibitively expensive) Ben's "boat tracker" data may be inconsistent, because it depends on being close enough to another networked boat or satellite.
    captainhaddockKatieBunJSwimIronMikesuziedodsJaimie
  • edited November 2016

    Absolutely spot-on @evmo.

    JSwim
  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member

    Fkn right on! This is exactly why this forum is so awesome! Thanks @evmo! Thanks @captainhaddock \m/

    captainhaddock
  • One further update Big Blue has popped up on Marinetraffic Screen Shot 11-20-16 at 10.55 PM

  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsCharter Member
    edited November 2016

    https://www.facebook.com/SwimTheBigBlue?fref=ts

    Hi All, Everything is ok on Big Blue, just an issue with the iridium so no messages over last two days.The spot >tracker is only as good as the satellites relaying its position and is not the main way in which Bens mileage is >calculated. It also tends to pause every time he stops to take on fluid. We had a similar issue tracking the boat >on its way from Norfolk to Dakar.

    I think it's one big DNish type scam. X(
    A spot tracker with low battery for 4 days! And no spare?!? [-X

    JSwimloneswimmersuziedods

    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!

  • andissandiss Senior Member
    edited November 2016

    In one way i regret putting this post up, cause now it looks like somewhere around 400km has been covered in less then 10 days time.

    this is not right.

    however - it would be nice to swim like that for a month, jump in and swim for a few hours, then rest on the boat... :))

    KatieBunKellieevmoloneswimmersuziedodsJaimie
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