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British swimmer abandons Atlantic crossing attempt
[DAKAR, Senegal] British amateur swimmer Ben Hooper has abandoned his attempt to cross the Atlantic, he said in a Facebook post Friday, after his support boat was damaged in a storm.
Mr Hooper had hoped to cross the ocean after leaving from Senegal on November 13, but lasted just 33 days at sea during which he was stung by a highly poisonous Portuguese man o' war jellyfish.
"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 wrote on Facebook.
"We were subjected to our fifth day of Atlantic storms as a result of which the expedition support vessel the sailing catamaran Big Blue suffered damage to her steering and standing rigging," he added.
Mr Hooper managed to swim 140 of his planned 3,000 kilometres, and lost half his time at sea to weather issues, technical problems and recovering from his jellyfish sting.
The 38-year-old said his crossing would resume at a later date.
"I reiterate that my attempt to become the first person to swim across the Atlantic Ocean, every single mile (that) remains, but that it has been postponed for the time being," Mr Hooper wrote.
The former policeman had prepared for over three years for the immense journey and had trained himself to swim up to 10 hours a day.
Only one man has achieved a comparable feat to Mr Hooper's dream: Frenchman Benoit Lecomte swam across the Atlantic in the other direction in 1998, from Cape Cod in Massachusetts to Quiberon in northwestern France.
Mr Lecomte did not make the Guinness World Book of Records because fatigue forced him to rest up in the Azores islands for nearly a week.