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Update: As Ben Lecomte Nears Gateway to Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Boat's Mainsail Suffers Irreparable Damages

Ben and Crew Confront the End of Historic World Record Attempt but Remain Determined to Capture Valuable Scientific Data in Uncharted Ocean Corridor

The Boat is over 2000 Miles from Nearest Shore; the Team has Been Repeatedly Hindered by Unprecedented Typhoons, Encountered Dangerous Sharks and Unexpected Levels of Garbage Pollution
Company Release
November 26, 2018

San Francisco, CA (November 26, 2018) – Seeker, the leading science publisher on social, today announced that as Ben Lecomte is nearing the Great Pacific Garbage Patch - but, after facing unprecedented storms in the Pacific, the boat’s mainsail suffered irreparable damages. The broken sail is a devastating blow to Ben’s record effort, yet he and the crew are determined to gather unique ocean data from the garbage patch and entry corridor.

Ben started his journey in Choshi, Japan on June 5, 2018 en route to San Francisco, CA in an effort to be the first person to swim across the Pacific Ocean and to help raise awareness about the health of our oceans. The broken sail has forced the crew to reevaluate the viability of the journey. To date, Ben has swam an average of eight hours a day for the last five months and covered a total of 1,500 nautical miles to reach a tributary of what’s commonly referred to as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch -- the world’s largest accumulation zone of ocean plastic. This has been a challenging endeavor as Ben has encountered an unexpected amount of garbage and plastic pollution, unprecedented typhoons and severe storms and technical challenges.

The Swim has been challenging for us as we’ve continued to face treacherous winds and ocean swells. Unfortunately our sail suffered irreparable damages, forcing us to alter our course and timing,” said Ben Lecomte. “Safety is our number one priority, and at this point, the team is exploring all options in an effort to continue into the gateway of the Garbage Patch.”

“Ben and the team have risked their lives to deepen our understanding of the Pacific Ocean and demonstrate the consequences of pollution,” said Seeker’s Chief Content Officer, Caroline Smith. “Reaching this unique area of the Pacific is a significant milestone that will allow us to better understand the impact that humans have had on the health of the oceans. Seeker is incredibly proud to partner with Ben to share his extraordinary experiences and scientific findings with our audiences around the world."

Negotiating unprecedented weather conditions during the Western Pacific’s typhoon season, the crew departed from Choshi, Japan on June 5, 2018 for Ben’s 5000-mile world record breaking attempt to swim across the Pacific. After swimming more than 500 nautical miles, the team was forced to pause The Swim and retreat back to the Japanese coast due to the life-threatening storms and typhoons, which were on a direct path to collide with the team. Digital-first science publisher Seeker and Nomadica Films have been with him from the beginning allowing viewers from around the world to watch and follow Ben and his crew as they make history and explore the world’s largest ocean and the impacts of man-made pollution on its waters.

More than just a swim, “The Swim” is the first citizen science expedition of its kind. In collaboration with 27 science institutions including NASA and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Ben and his crew have already collected nearly 1100 samples along the way in an effort to learn more about plastic pollution, mammal migrations, extreme endurance and even long term spaceflight. Ben and his crew will highlight the actions of their NGO partners, including Ocean Voyages Institute and Algalita Marine Research Foundation, and raise awareness of plastic pollution and climate change.

For more information on The Swim and to see the other trials and tribulations the Seeker vessel has experienced along the way, head to seeker.com/the-swim.

Video footage of the broken sail can be viewed here. 

Seeker’s The Swim is produced in partnership with Discovery and Nomadica Films.

About Seeker:
Seeker is the #1 most engaging science brand on social media in the world [Source: Tubular]. Our stories explain the world through the lens of science. Seeker aims to satisfy curiosity, make science relatable and inspire young audiences. We encourage our viewers to question, dream and create. In December 2016, Seeker joined forces with Thrillist, The Dodo and NowThis to form Group Nine Media, one of the world's largest digital-first media companies. 

About Discovery Channel:
Discovery Channel is dedicated to creating the highest quality non-fiction content that informs and entertains its consumers about the world in all its wonder, diversity and amazement. The network, which is distributed to 100.8 million U.S. homes, can be seen in 224 countries and territories, offering a signature mix of compelling, high-end production values and vivid cinematography across genres including, science and technology, exploration, adventure, history and in-depth, behind-the-scenes glimpses at the people, places and organizations that shape and share our world. For more information please visit www.discovery.com.

About Nomadica Films:
Nomadica Films is a full-service entertainment production company run by partners Jared McGilliard, David Clawson and John Collin JR. Before starting Nomadica in 2016, the team was the creative force behind several highly rated and critical acclaimed hits on Animal Planet, Discovery Channel and National Geographic, among others. Nomadica specializes in projects that take place at the ends of the earth, in some of the planet's most remote and dangerous environments. They create intensely intimate human stories with a rich, cinematic and original visual style.

CONTACT:

April Mellody

Group Nine Media

(646) 218-9312

Pierce White

Group Nine Media

(646) 218-9312

(646) 218-9312

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