I joined the Viking Princess at Dover and we were soon joined by The South End Sea Nymphs a relay team from San Francisco that consists of Lisa Serebin, Bonnie Brown, Miriam Hiser, Suzanne Greva and Sylvia Marino.
The ladies were in excellent spirits as we steamed to Shakespeare Beach, there was plenty of shouting and boisterous behaviour. There was a slight chill in the air and the day was overcast but the forecast was good and the sea was relatively calm.
06:12 and we're off...
Lisa enters the water and powerfully strikes off towards France, there is a strong tide today and we can expect to see quite a lot of the channel as only the first 2 ladies claim to be strong swimmer. Lisa swimming at 70 Strokes Per Minute gives us a good 2 mile start and with Dover behind us Bonnie enters the water, whilst her stroke rate is lower she is nevertheless a powerful swimmer. Miriam follows Bonnie, she is the petite member and slowest, with the wind freshening to 15 knots Miriam keeps switching to breast stroke and seems unable to settle into a steady rhythm. It transpires that her natural stroke is breaststroke but she is swimming the crawl at the behest of her team mates.
We enter the South West Shipping lane just at the change over with Suzanne entering the water, we are now quite far to the east, riding on a heavy flood tide but the ladies keep heading onwards and at 11:30 the sun finally comes out but there is still that cold south westerly wind.
The last swimmer in is Sylvia a very happy soul who could barely wait to get into the water, due to her position on the team I hadn't expected her to be a strong swimmer but it turned out she was a good solid swimmer giving the team a big push southwards.
Lisa's second round saw us pull ahead of neighbouring swim boats, there were quite a few out. The SW lane was very busy and it seemed to be the day for enormous ships. In the SW lane we were constantly being pitched around by the swell off passing behemoths. And at 13:00 Bonnie takes us into the Separation Zone. Miriam still doggedly sticking to the crawl gives us a small boost and takes us through to the North East Shipping Lane. And then it is Sylvia turn, Sylvia decides to forgo the inconvenience of a heavy, uncomfortable swimming costume and clad in hat and goggles enters the water at 15:12. She gives a good showing and makes good progress.
It has been a day for hot water bottles, every swimmer exiting the water has embraced a hot water bottle or two and Sylvia is no exception.
Miriam is persuaded on her 3rd swim that she should swim breaststroke as it is her stronger stroke and she proves it with a sterling performance even following Sylvia's fashion sense for the last 10 minutes. At 19:00 we pass the Abbeyville Buoy at 20:00 we sweep past the Fairway Buoy, brave swims by Suzanne and Sylvia bring Lisa into range and wearing a totally psychedelic San Francisco swimsuit Lisa lands to the East of Sangatte.
The SouthEnd Sea Nymphos swam the English Channel in 15 hours and 24 minutes.
Boat: Viking Princess
Pilots: R Brickell
Crew: R Brickell
Music: "Sleepless Nights" by Dave Dore --
Check him out http://musicianstogether.com/user/Doghousedave
Thanks Dave, sorry about the pub!