Channel Swim 2013

Because of a major flaw in my decision making process, I have just booked a piloted slot on a neap tide in August 2013, to swim the Channel.

Apart from activities undertaken on alcohol fuelled evenings, I am struggling to think of anything more stupid that I’ve agreed to in my life and what’s more concerning .. it turns out I’m going to have to ditch the armbands in the Worlds busiest shipping lane.

The conditions, which seem to make swim leg of Norseman sound appealing, are out of my control but the next eighteen months of wetsuit free swimming is something I need to plan and recommendations for long distance open water swims would be appreciated (UK or European).

Words of encouragement are welcome to manifest themselves as flak highlighting the sheer stupidity…




  • you need to take advice from Dr Nic who has swum the Channel solo twice + a 2 way relay swim, and/or Zuppy - a mad Irish guy who's also swum it. they rarely post these days but I'll PM them to take a look here and offer any advice they can.

    good luck - it's a great challenge
  • Nutter  image

    Seriously you will find a lot of experience and help in here, we have had a few successes and attempts at the crossing

    Good lick !   (as they say on the continent)

  • Funkin was a crew member on the swim of the girl (Jo Kenney?) who did the Arch to Arc. He may have some insight? Dark Vader also had a crack as well at A2A but the swim got him iirc.

    Didn't Egoman do it?

    Sounds a just horrific challenge if you ask me but hats off, it's a big one! Do it. In a Pirate Swim cap.
  • Must admit after reading this I have just spent 15 minutes looking at it and thinking what a challenge it would be! Then I saw the cost!!!image

     All the best for it though mate... A really tough challenge in my opinion though... one worth of respect!

  • should I or shouldnt I............................image
  • Yes you should, id crew for you Plum and I hate (I MEAN HATE) boats
  • It is an amazing thing....there are a few people doing openwater swimming at the moment without wetsuits....mainly on the sea......if you are near bournemouth they are swimming every week through the winter some with some without wetsuits........
  • Barlos you could crew from your pedalo !!
  • Unlike Ironman where it’s training that causes the most apprehension, the information I’ve had about swimming the Channel suggests that only 10% of the people who actually step into the water at Dover actually make it to Cap Gris Nez with a majority being taken down by the tide, weather or temperature.

    Whilst landing on the beach, unbeknown to our cheesing eating surrender monkey neighbours, fills me with excitement, preparing for failure and another two year wait to try again does not.

    My preparations start tomorrow when, in an effort to cope with the cold (before I am challenged on this…) I will be turning up to work in cotton shorts and a vest-top.

    Plum, it would be awesome to have a training buddy, get involved….!

  • wow - good luck.
    i have looked at it, until I realsied it was officially a non-wet-suit affair.
    I would be fished out with hypothermia after about a mile!
    Someone I have met at work did it and had to gain a good 10kg in weight just to lard up for the occasion!
  • It's an expensive outing - 2400 squids for the pilot and boat, plus association membership, plus your qualifying swim, doctor's certificate, hotel costs for a week plus, 'cos the pilot gives you a week's "window" and you have to be there at Dover waiting for him to call and tell you what day/time to be ready for the off. And it's possible the weather will prevent your swim. Sure I've forgotten something..........


  • You forgot travel insurance that covers open water swimming IW.

    I'm happy with the idea of a relay but the idea of doing it all myself is just a pipe dream, I know my limits but go for it, why not.

    No idea where you are but there's some of us will be swimming the south coastline for training next year come and join us if you're close enough.

    In some respects it is like ironman as you need the PMA to believe you can do it.

     Seren, do you have any more info about people swimming in Bournemouth?  I need to carry on my cold water acclimatising but I obviously can't do that in the sea alone.

  • m.eface - great recommendations on both, thanks.  Wont make Eton this year (to date Ironman swim is upper limit of my water-born endurance).  Definitely keen on Dart in 2012 and Eton will be going into 2013 calendar!

  • The Dart was a sell out last year.

     We booked a holiday down there and was searching for a 10k run to do and that popped out - looked great and would have entered if it wasn't full.

  • Had the captain of my escort ‘pilot boat’ not had to withdraw his services earlier this year, one day this week I would have been attempting to swim the English Channel.  Had the weather offered howling wind and driving rain, it would have missing out that little bit more palatable.

    I was massively impressed with Super Caz’s recent efforts and am gutted that I won’t be getting my opportunity anytime soon - with the summers of 2013 and 2014 packed with friend’s weddings I’ve decided to shelve the idea for a while instead focusing on some quicker HIM & IM finishes at The Vit, Challenge Laugna Phuket and Ironman Austria.

    If that final screw is loosened enough between now and registration in Easter 2014, Marathon de Sables is on the radar for 2015.

    I know boasting is frowned upon but I wanted the boost of putting into an arena of folk with similar aspirations, a few of mine.  Thanks.

  • that's shite news Robbie 

    why did the pilot have to withdraw?  must be unusual for that to happen

    do you get any compensation for that???

  • I didn't ask the question.

    I had been pursuing the guy for a few weeks without response and eventually received call (much earlier in year) from his daughter.  She said from end of 2012 her father would not run any more crossings.  It's a relatively profitable exercise for them and given her tone, I suspect this was a decision based on personal / medical grounds.

    Despite a frantic search to find alternative pilot, the best I offers I had were for third or fourth slots on spring tides or some pilots travelling only on specific dates and given the high attrition rate, I wanted more flexibility so had to let the idea go.

    I have a real affinity with water and love swimming so, unless the French authorities get their way in the meantime, I will be back to take on this challenge but perhaps when I'm a little older and legitimately wider around the midriff!

  • were you organising this swim and pilot privately??  and had you paid any fees?

    I thought that if you organised the swim with one of the 2 recognised bodies that oversee Channel swims, then they organise the pilot etc and you get a slot irrespective.  I guess from what you said though is that wouldn't give you the flexibility - you get a set slot and that's it

  • I was going with Channel Swimming Association who have accredited pilots but you make your agreement with boat owner / pilot individually, under their terms.

    In turn, you pay a separate, smaller fee to the CSA who provide an official observer. Thankfully I'd not exposed myself to much cost, only boat deposit, which was refunded.

  • ah - thanks.  seems odd that the CSA weren't aware that the pilot was no longer offering his services.

    at least you got the deposit back but you must be pretty deflated after all the training

    anyway - better luck for next time....

  • SuperCazSuperCaz ✭✭✭

    Robbie, if you are still interested then I might be able to put you in contact with a CSPF pilot who has free slots.  There have been quite a few cancellations this year due to swimmers not realising how much was involved and pulling out when they realise that they haven't done enough training.  Its called the David Walliams Effect.

    Did you get your medical and qualifier done as they would be the two main things preventing you from going this year.

  • Thanks SuperC and bravo on your recent accomplishment. My pilot pulled out at beggining of year and after failing to secure another suitable slot, the dream was dropped. So sadly I do not have suitable qualifying swim under my belt but thank you anyway. The Channel wont stay on my bucket list for too many more years!

  • swimming is my best tri discipline and if I won the lottery tomorrow I have said I that I would love to swim the channel, that's not the same as doing it , RESPECT. Ps I don't play the lottery anymore just in case image.

  • I too would love to swim it, beats sitting on a pilot boat and puking every couple of minutes. I have endurance, and cold doesn't bother me, but I'm too slow, and about to retire from work soon so likely won't be able to afford such expensive dreams!

  • .
  • Proven Robbie W wrote (see)

    Short.. and to the point.. image

  • DaylightRDaylightR ✭✭✭

    Having read the update in the friendly comp thread, I was hoping for a report. I've dreamed of swimming the channel since I was at school, and I'm sure I'll get round to it one day, threads like this give me the inspiration.

  • Sorry folks, I had to 'bump' this thread in an attempt to add some credence to my leg pull on the "Familiar Friendly Comp 2015" thread.

    Similar to 2013, this didn't happen but on this occasion it was never intended.  Some bought the April Fool, others didn't!

    One day I will be writing a report on my (genuine) attempt at a cross channel swim...

  • DaylightRDaylightR ✭✭✭

    bleh, rubbish! Consider me fooled image


    Well, I hope you find time / funds to have another go soon!

Sign In or Register to comment.