It is September 10, and Ben has sailed for 24 hours straight on a northward trajectory to reach calm seas. He swam 8 hours in safe and manageable waters, gaining more than 35 miles on his easterly path. Prior to sailing out of the storm pattern Ben and the Falbala were stuck in, he had only logged 25 miles since leaving the Azores on August 28. This was due to unprecedented storms battering Ben and the boat with 45-60 knot winds and 20-foot and higher waves.
Ben explained, “If I consider that the last 10 days have truly been a battle, then the sea has won. We have had horrible weather (storms of force 8 to 10) except for one day and it becomes more and more dangerous for me to swim. We are being pushed South and I have no intentions of finishing in Africa!”
He continues, “There is a thin line between being passionate or focused and being fanatical or extreme…and I do not want to cross that line. I also realize I do not want to stop and I am going to swim to France, but I have made a very difficult decision. I have decided to raise the sails and head north, out of the bad weather system, then resume my route to Quiberon, France.”
Ben says, “By using the sails to get beyond the bad weather system, I can’t help but feel a part of my dream has slipped away, but my sense of purpose and conviction to raise awareness of cancer and offer what encouragement I can to families and individual’s battling the disease is what this is all about. The many emails I receive clearly prove that to me, and for that I can’t begin to explain how grateful I am.”
Personally, Ben feels he has let himself down by sailing out of the storm, but he also realizes that his goal to swim the North Atlantic is about the memory of his Dad and the hopes and encouragement so many cancer survivors are drawing from his effort. For that reason, he continues on and is looking forward to seeing everyone in France on September 25!
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