Father abandons Atlantic swim as storm damages support boat
A British father has abandoned his attempt to become the first person to swim the Atlantic Ocean.
Ben Hooper, 38, said it would have been "foolhardy" to try and carry on with his near 2,000 mile challenge after his support vessel suffered damage during a storm.
Mr Hooper, from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, left Dakar in Senegal, on the west coast of Africa on November 13 to swim to Brazil's Natal - a distance of 1,883 miles.
In that time he swam 87 miles after losing 15 days' swimming to a combination of poor weather, medical problems after being stung by a Portuguese man o' war and technical issues with the support vessel.
During the Swim The Big Blue expedition, the former policeman and soldier had to battle 20ft waves, was followed by a 10ft shark and bitten by fish.
Mr Hooper said this was not the end of his challenge and he planned to have another attempt in the future and raise the planned £1 million for charity.
The decision to abandon the record attempt came after five days of Atlantic storms, which saw the catamaran support vessel suffer damage to the steering and standing rigging.
It was repaired but further damage could prevent the support crew going to the aid of Mr Hooper in an emergency.
"In the interest of the safety of all souls on-board Big Blue we have decided to postpone the expedition and sail directly to Natal in Brazil by the shortest route," Mr Hooper said.
"We are all safe and that Big Blue remains seaworthy and capable of completing crossing of the Atlantic ocean during the months of December and January.
"I reiterate that my attempt to become the first person to swim across the Atlantic Ocean, every single mile, remains but that it has been postponed for the time being.
"My crew have worked tirelessly to make this possible and this decision has not been taken lightly. Indeed, the easy option would have been to carry on at all costs. That would have been foolhardy and unnecessary.
"To quote Theodore Roosevelt, 'It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed'.
"We have not failed. We have achieved and gained the knowledge to succeed in the future. This setback will not prevent us completing this record in the future."