Lecomte Forced to Give Up Pacific Swim Attempt
Lecomte's quest to become the first man to swim across the Pacific has come to an end. The team has been plagued by mechanical issues, bad weather and rough seas for much of the last two weeks.
Low-pressure systems created strong winds with rough conditions, halting Lecomte's progress till day 156 of the expedition. When Lecomte was eventually able to return to the water, a plethora of other issues seemed to immediately crop up. With the sea too rough for anyone to pace Lecomte in the kayak, they instead attached it to a long line strung out behind Seeker. However, it quickly capsized. To make matters worse the drift of the boat meant that the long line became entangled in Seeker's propeller. A dangerous retrieval operation involved a member of the team having to swim beneath the boat to cut the line and retrieve the kayak.
The team was also struggling to repair their mainsail. Despite multiple attempts to fix the stitching, the crew were increasingly forced to rely on a secondary tri sail instead. On day 160 the entire expedition team were forced to discuss whether the swim should continue. Lecomte was keen to battle on, but the crew felt that they had “reached a point where going further would compromise our safety.” With only 15 days of fuel and down to one sail, Seeker would not be able to make it back to the nearest mainland should the secondary sail fail. Lecomte reluctantly agreed that he would have to end his world record attempt.
The crew are now headed for Hawaii and will continue to collect plastic samples and test for radiation as they go. Lecomte is still keen to swim whenever he is able, but his aim to swim right across the Pacific is no longer possible.