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[THE WIRE] Keeping position

Sitting around the saloon table the hot discussion of the morning today is the GPS location and the fact we missed our timing again to drop Ben in the water on our first approach. At the end of each days swim we take the point of when Ben finishes so we can return the next day. Simple in theory but this is one of the biggest challenges for us in supporting Ben and guarantee he swims every mile for the Guinness World Record. It involves constant strategy and planning every night which changes as the weather changes. Our best friend the Kuroshio current which provides Ben with a lot of extra push and extra miles during the day, and then becomes our worst enemy of a night. Fighting 3.5 sometimes 4 knots of current to stay west of the point takes a lot of proactive forethought, it doesn’t take long at the speed of the Kuroshio to drift hours from the point. We spend all night sailing, hove to, sailing, drifting, sailing to hopefully time an approach at the starting line in the early morning. So far, we haven’t had much success in terms of early starts, it requires a lot of things to align and successful coordination between everyone.

We only need one hold up as we drift towards the point and suddenly we have missed it, as little as ten minutes lost somewhere either in the morning prep, dinghy drop or in Ben’s preparation could means hours turning around and trying again. Sometimes we can drive a mile or more in the Dinghy to get back to the point other times it means raising a lot of sailing again and attempting to tack upwind and up current again for another approach.

Everyday the prep team starts at 4am in the morning to help ensure the dinghy team and Ben are good to go, making sure all dinghy gear is ready, Ben’s food is prepared, his gear is accounted for, all the while sailing/drifting to time Seeker’s approach to the GPS point at around 830 – 9 am. However even with the early start sometimes it still doesn’t work out, today was one of those mornings.  We are slowly getting better and better, more coordinated and more organized but sometimes it simply doesn’t work out as planned. Nobody on board wants to hold up Ben when he is ready to swim and when it happens it can be pretty disappointing and frustrating for us all. It must be extremely frustrating for Ben, getting told to suit up, mentally and physically prepare yourself for a days swim and then we miss it. As frustrating as this must be for him he rarely shows any sign of it, he is extremely patient with us and understanding.

I think there is a small feeling of accomplishment every day amongst the team once we finally manage to launch Ben and have him swimming. Every successful delivery of Ben back to his GPS point is like winning the previous nights game. Equally, every missed opportunity is a small blow to the confidence and feels like a loss. Today’s loss hurt the most, I think because after two days of no swimming due to bad weather everyone was keen to hit the ground running (water swimming*). Still, everyone remains positive, slightly frustrated by the whole invisible GPS location game, but positive. It is a struggle sometimes but it is what keeps Ben’s swim legit and gives our expedition credit. It also makes the days we do have a successful launch all the more rewarding, after all, if it was easy someone else would have already done it…

Written by: Ty Dalitz, First mate, research manager.

Read more of his blogs from The Swim on his personal website www.lostaussies.com 

Or follow him on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

 

About Ty:

‘Since 2014 I have been trying to circumnavigate the world without flying (https://www.facebook.com/thelostaussie/), on a bit of an extended underserved holiday. After making it from Australia to London at the end of 2016, the next step was finding a boat to sail across the Atlantic. Fortunately enough, The Longest Swim had just recently purchased DISCO in the UK, and was still desperate enough for crew to consider a hitchhiking Aussie bum.

 Originally I was only wanting to get to Canada to find a much-needed job, but the catch for an Atlantic crossing with The Longest Swim was to help with another two Pacific crossings as well. Quite possibly the most roundabout way to get to Canada but an adventure I am stoked to be involved in.

Dusting off my biological science degree I will be helping with the science on board and the unique task of keeping the boat sailing at a breathtakingly slow pace. If I can help Ben achieve his dream while contributing to environmental awareness, something I‘ve always been passionate about, it’s well worth the unwanted stress of writing this bio.’

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9 comments

  1. Ty, thank you for sharing with us the hard work you are doing behind the scenes in order to enable this fantastic expedition by a great team.
    No wonder Ben is accepting the problems, I believe that he deeply appreciatets your efforts. This is the meaning of acting as a team, and this spirit will drive your team all the way to San Francisco!
    Keep up the great job in your inspiring journey. Your team is a role model for many people worldwide, it is a great privilege for us to follow your daily life as a team.

    1. …and congrats for achieving 300 miles in 100 hours of swimming !!(sometimes we forget to celebrate intermediate wins)

  2. Thank you Ty for your post. It’s great to get to know all the crew members through your individual posts. What an adventure you’ve been having for the past 4 years. Great contribution all around.

    Blessed be your journey!!

  3. Votre travail est remarquable et on prend conscience des vrais difficultés que représente
    la mer dans cet exploit. Benoît est un ami formidable. Bon courage à tous

  4. Thanks for this detailed insight into what needs to happen behind the scenes, Ty.
    It’s amazing how many processes have to run smoothly within the greater scheme of things, to keep everything on track! And yes, there must be the underlying tension of supporting all the rules that go with achieving a World Record that is officially recognised.
    I guess for everybody involved it is a constant theme of “Keep calm and carry on”.
    It sounds like everyone is doing their bit with good grace and an excellent mix of experience and confidence, yet enough modesty not to let any ego get in the way of the bigger picture! May you all have continued success in all your efforts!

  5. Hello Ty, hello all in Team,

    Your Report ist highly appreciated! You and everyone in the team(s) on- and off-shore enable Ben to swim sucessfully the record and for the attention to the state of the ocean!
    Thank you so much!
    You are example for teamwork in it’s best form. Everyone depend from eachother,all follow the AIM and care fully dies His/her Work in responsible atitude. I know this Feeling Well from mrdical teams,which have to Care for lifes. You Care for Bens ans yours.
    Take Care and bei blessed These dass.
    Bye Bye from Kiel
    Brigitte

  6. Today was like ground hog day on land. It was Thursday. The day I clean the house, mow the lawn, get groceries take the kids to activities,.. wait for them to come out of activities. No team just me. I can only imagine what the sea looks like where you are. Your challenges are so different yet similar. The challenge of a land locked stay at home parent is doing the same thing day after day believing the stability and constant love you show to encourage the dream of those you love will work. Not a Guinness book record kind of day I guess, but still takes endurance and mental stamina. A land story for you and your team. 🙂 enjoy the adventure!

    Blessings to you all!

    1. Hello Heidi, thank you so much for your comment. Your day sounds similar to mine, taking it a step at a time and getting through each challenge! Ben

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