Jackson Carroll has been a regular on the Coldwater Culture swim training weekends over the winter so we were already familiar with how each other works which is always helpful. I met Jackson & his team just after 0120, his support crew are Phil, Damien, Tory & Eleanor Woodward (who has also travelled with me before). I introduce my crewman Stu Adams to those who haven't already met him & also CSA Observer Keith Oiller who is accompanying this trip. Shortly after I give a safety briefing & hand over to Keith who reminds Jackson of the rules of the swim whilst Stuart & I make preparations to leave.
|Jackson Carroll before his swim|
Around 0200 we are underway heading for the open sea past the calm that is Dover Harbour bound for Samphire Ho.
Jackson swims to shore at 0238. After he has indicated he is ready on the beach at 0240 I sound the klaxon & the swim begins. Inshore waters are not busy, Sea Satin is in front of us whilst Suva, Masterpiece & Optimist start shortly after us.
At 0332 I contact Dover Coastguard & make my mandatory report. Five minutes later Jackson has his first feed. A few minutes later Keith makes his first recordings of the data required by the CSA which continues at hourly intervals throughout the swim.
The first few hours pass without event, Jackson settles into his stroke whilst his support team adjust to their surroundings & share responsibility for feeds & encouragement. Some sleep is taken, but there is always someone watching.
|Sunrise over the Channel|
At 0500 the sun starts to make it's presence known & as we enter the South West shipping lane at 0600 we are greeted by a convoy of ships in glorious sunshine. Stu & I don't get that much chance to admire the scenery: our attention is focussed upon navigating Jackson whilst avoiding the ships. At 0620 a tall sailing ship passes, a ghost ship out of the haze. It is a welcome change from the square ugly things that usually plough up & down this stretch.
|The Ghost ship|
Jackson in not one for excessive communication, taking his feeds & informing his crew of what he wants next before continuing. Swift feeds make a lot of difference - the time of all the stops is drifting time & too much of that will add hours on a swim & sometimes make for a much harder swim.
At 0855 we enter the separation zone. At 0942 I inform Gris Nez Traffic that we are entering the NE lane. At 1009 & 1110 Jackson takes longer to feed & the latter is followed by some vomitting. Better out than in! Half hour later he seems okay & is jokes briefly with his team that they haven't given him the same thing that made him sick last time.
At 1305 I inform Gris Nez traffic of our arrival into French Inshore waters. At 1439 Jackson is given some information by the team to up his pace if he can to make it across the current. He responds accordingly. At the next feed (1511) a message from his family is relayed. The team gives plenty of encouragement to spur him on. This is effective. At 1540 we are about half a mile from Cap Gris Nez. Conditions are getting worse now, but it won't make much difference now - he's close enough to make it in.
|Cap Gris Nez|
|The swim is finished...|
|...Jackson is clear of the water.|
Around 1600 I get Stuart Adams to prepare the punt but the depth of the water under the keel means I can manouevre Sea Leopard to within 40 metres of the landing point which Jackson reaches, climbing clear of the water at 1613. We wonder if he is going to climb all the way to the light house, but he decides to return to the boat for well deserved congratulations.
Total time: 13hours, 33 minutes.
Well done Jackson. It has been a good experience with you throughout the year & all the hard work that you put in paid off.
|Jackson Carroll on his way home after his swim.|
|Tory Thorpe, Eleanor Woodward, Jackson Carroll, Phil Kearney & Damian Wachowicz|
|Jackson Carrolls Swim route.|
|Legend in the White Horse pub, Dover.|