Swimmers view

Swimmers view
Sea Leopard - swimmers eye view

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Just Swim It 047R Relay Success 21st July 2011

The Just Swim It team - photo from http://justswim.it/

0209 - The off was given by whistles and boats horn, and illuminated in the spotlight, Angela started the teams relay attempt with much encouragement from all on board!

0220 - Angela swimming strongly and fast.

Three other boats arrive behind us to start their swim attempts, most have relay teams on board.

0230 - Many shouts of encouragement and as still very dark we are all keeping a close eye on our swimmer. We can see the lights of other swimmers in the water and joke if she slows down we could always swap.

0250 - 10 minute warning to Angela and the next swimmer Keith.

0304 - 5 minute warning

0309 - Keith in the water.

0312 - Angela out very cold and says “longest hour of her life” If she does her proposed solo swim later this season this will be nothing!

0350 - Keith swimming strongly sea still very calm.

Nine swim attempts now started.

Yacht looms out of the darkness and passes close across our bow, I think unnoticed by most on board.

0359 - 10 minute warning to Keith and the next swimmer Adam.

0404 - 5 minute warning

0409 - Adam in the water and changeover completed.

Adam has asked for 15 minute time calls via megaphone and sign boards. 

0425 - Just starting to get light.

0440 - Keith disappears into the cabin for a sleep.

0459 - 10 minute warning to Adam and the next swimmer Barnaby.

0504 - 5 minute warning

0509 - Barnaby in the water, changeover completed.

Now full light at last.

0555 - Entered SW shipping lane, only some ferries seem to be about and they are some distance away.

0559 - 10 minute warning to Barnaby and the next swimmer Camilla.


0604 - 5 minute warning

0609 - Camilla in the water, changeover completed.

0612 - A procession of large ships passes down channel well in front of us however the China Shipping Line vessel, which is huge, catches everyone’s attention.

0617 - The Neptun a bulk carrier on her way to Spain crosses our bow.

0620 - We call to Camilla that France is visible in the haze, she panics! As she thought we shouted a Shark was visible!

0625 - The Bro-alma a liquid bulk carrier now passes across our bow

0659 - 10 minute warning to Camilla and the last swimmer Cassie.


0705 - 5 minute warning

0709 - Cassie in the water, changeover completed. Cassie is only swimmer using breast stroke and she is concerned that she is the weakest swimmer. However she swims strongly and makes considerable progress.

0740 - Four large vessels cross behind our stern.

Hoegh Autoliner a car carrier, the Natalie Ehler a container ship bound for Dublin, the Meridiani with general cargo and finally the Emden another car carrier.

0759 - 10 minute warning.


0804 - 5 minute warning

0809 - Angela back in the water for her second swim, changeover completed.

She is given a mission, to catch and overtake the relay team swimming with Pace Arrow which is a few hundred yards in front of us.

For the next 30 minutes Angela has to contend with large rafts of weed drifting past us.

0859 - 10 minute warning.


0904 - 5 minute warning

0909 - Keith back in the water for his second swim, changeover completed.

0915 - We have left the shipping lane and have entered the separation zone.

Keith swimming noticeably faster this time.

0930 - We leave the separation zone to enter NE shipping lane.

0959 - 10 minute warning.

1004 - 5 minute warning

1009 - Adam in the water for his second swim, changeover completed.

1020 - Shipping lane quiet no vessels passing anywhere close to us.

1059 - 10 minute warning.


1104 - 5 minute warning

1109 - Barnaby back in for his second swim, changeover completed.

1110 - Keith cooking hot lasagne for his lunch.

1117 - Shouts and calls to Barnaby to return to the boat as he has decided to take the scenic route and wandered off!

1120 - Pot Noodle time

1128 - NYX Orion passes us heading up channel.

1130 - Tanker Melbach passes close to us causing considerable wash.

1150 - We did not catch Pace Arrow or her swimmer, but now have Suva in our sights as her solo swimmer is tiring.

1150 - Container ship CMACGMTELOBEA on her way to Tilbury passes close by.

1159 - 10 minute warning.


1204 - 5 minute warning

1209 - Camilla back in for her second swim, changeover completed.

Her target is to catch Suva.

1212 - Goggle change for Camilla.

1225 - Camilla doing very well as we draw level with Suva.

1240 - Three swim boats including us close together when two large bulk carriers pass between us making us a sandwich between the Clipper Sunrise and the La Surprise.

1245 - Camilla overtakes Suva’s swimmer.

1259 - 10 minute warning.

1300 - We hear over the radio that Suva’s swimmer has given up and that they are returning to Dover.


1304 - 5 minute warning

1309 - Cassie’s turn for her second swim, changeover completed.

1325 - Several small coasters pass us astern.

1330 - Maersk Line container ship passes astern quite close and causes big wash.

1340 - Cassie held back and forced to tread water as large bulk carrier the Viking Odessa does not alter her course. We have no room to do anything else as we are drifting on the tide and there are many pot or net markers all around us. This causes a good fifteen minute delay.

1359 - 10 minute warning.


1404 - 5 minute warning

1409 - Angela now back in for her third swim, changeover completed.

Tide now beginning to ease we head directly for the coast. Angela told to really push on.

1435 - We leave the shipping lane and enter French coastal waters.

1459 - 10 minute warning.


1504 - 5 minute warning

1509 - Keith in for his third time and again given instructions now is the time to cover ground so push on.

1539 - Keith encouraged to push on as we do not want to miss the Cap.

1559 - 10 minute warning.


1604 - 5 minute warning

1609 - Adam’s turn to get wet for the third time, changeover completed.

Told to push on by the team.

Over the next hour the flood starts and we edge in towards the coast but drift towards the Cap.

1659 - 10 minute warning.


1704 - 5 minute warning

1709 - Barnaby’s turn, the team get excited as land looks so close.

1715 - One mile to the Cap.

1740 - We miss the Cap and drift pass northwards on the flood. This is not too much of a problem as we hear both Pathfinder and Pace Arrow have done the same and landed on the beaches to the north of the Cap.

1759  - 10 minute warning.


1804 - 5 minute warning

1809 - Camilla’s turn to get wet for the third time. We feel that she will make it in her hour. I give her instructions regarding leaving the water and gaining dry land etc.

Camilla enters the water and must really push for the shore as we have started to feel the effects of the ebb tide which is pushing us away from our landing point.

1815 - Stuart readies the dinghy to accompany Camilla ashore.

1830 - Not looking good. Tide has pushed us way from the beach, if we are to land it will have to be on the rocks at the base of the Cap.

1838 - Stuart the crewman gets in dinghy and casts off but due to the rocks Stuart the pilot feels he is unlikely to get right in close.

I explain to team and Barnaby agrees to get in the water and swim the last few yards behind Camilla purely for safety reasons.

1845 - Camilla has made it! She climbs out of the water and stands at the base of the point. Barnaby joins her with many cheers from the boat.

Total swim time 16hours 34 minutes.

1855 - Camilla and Barnaby start to swim back to the boat. Barnaby climbs into the dinghy but Camilla prefers to swim out to Sea Leopard.

Handshakes, hugs and congratulations all round.

1910 - Drogue and dinghy secured we are on our way home.

A long journey home seas getting rougher the closer we get to the UK. Team crack over bottles of champagne, and although drinks are offered to us all we feel too tired even to drink!

2155 - We make it into Dover Marina where the swimmers unload their gear and with handshakes and photographs leave to make their way back to their hotel.

2225 - I stay on board as we have to move the boat to its mooring and I have to grab a lift back to Folkestone.

Report by Cliff Sharp

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