Swimmers view

Swimmers view
Sea Leopard - swimmers eye view

Monday, 16 July 2012

Indian Air Force Channel relay team Successful - 5th July 2012

Report by Stuart Gleeson, Pilot of Sea Leopard.
The Indian Airforce Relay Team joined Sea Leopard again for a second swim in the week, good keen men to do two attempts in close proximity to each other.
On this trip I was accompanied by Garry Clark – like Stu Adams,  a crewman from the Dungeness lifeboat.
Meeting at 1am, the swimmers boarded the boat. At 01:18, I steered Sea Leopard out of Dover Harbour & turned and headed for Samphire Hoe. Visiblity was good at sea level, but some mist/low cloud above. At 01:56, I stopped the boat about 20 metres off the beach.
Ankan climbed down the ladder into the sea at 01:58 and Garry shone a lantern onto the beach. Steve Franks, CSA Official Observer blew his whistle as soon as Ankan was clear of the sea and he re-entered the water at 02:00 to start the swim to France.
Yeshwant took over from Ankan at 03:00 The sky was cloudy and visibility was still poor. Sea was very calm, not much of a current on this spring tide.
At 04:00 Srihari jumped into the sea off the starboard side. He swam us into the SW Shipping lane at 04:35, 25 minutes quicker than the team did last week.
Ankan started his second swim at 06:00 and we entered the separation zone 35 minutes later. Yeshwant took over again at 07:00.
The selection process for the swim had started a year previously, with 35 applicants from Indian Air Force bases all over India. The 4 swimming today come from bases in the South, South-East, West and North of the country.
Yeshwant swam out of the separation zone into the NE shipping lane at 07:12. There was a seal, about 50 yards from the boat which followed us for a long time.
Srihari complained about the cold before his second swim, which started at 08:00.
Ankan took over from Paramvir at 10:00 taking us out of the NE lane into French Inshore Waters at 10:54.
Yeshwant began to slow down at 11:49. Srihari was about 1½ nm from the nearest point on the French coast at 12:15, the tide was taking us down the channel towards Cap Gris Nez. It appeared to me that we would miss Cap Gris Nez and be carried up the Channel towards Calais so I asked Ankan and Yeshwant to tell Hari to swim faster.
Srihari’s stroke speeded up after the team tried to encourage him to swim faster.
It looked like Paramvir would miss Cap Gris Nez as he was trying to swim to the rocks rather than following the boat. The team tried unsuccessfully to attract his attention and persuade him to follow us, but their efforts had no effect. Luckily he swam well enough to get through the current cleared the water at 1:25pm.


Paramvir in France, having completed the swim

Final time recorded as 11 hours 25 minutes, 150 m NE of the Cap Gris Nez lighthouse.

The two GPS Tracks of the Indian Air Force Channel Relay Team - Green track shows this swim.

Excellent effort again, twice in the space of a week! Hope to see you all again.
(Photos & GPS track courtesy of Steve Franks)

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