Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation "Nothing great is easy", Captain Matthew Webb

26 Jul 2013G.O.S.H Relay

G.O.S.H Relay

Team of four lads swim the Channel to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital

The G.O.S.H. it’s cold! Swimming the channel Relay Team -4 person relay swim.  Friday 26th July 2013 11hrs 54 minutes and 30seconds.

Write up of the impressions of their swim from a team’s first relay swim.

We suddenly got a call Thursday afternoon asking if we would like to bring our swim forward a few days and to go Friday morning (26th July)  before the weather changed.  So it was all actions go and sorting ourselves out for a next day start.

We got to Dover at 8.15am for a 9am meet up with our Pilot Lance Oram on Sea Satin.  We set off just before 10am to leave the marina and go on the boat to the setting off beach.  Marcus had to swim to the beach from the boat and wait on the beach for the hooter to sound to then run in and start swimming.  We were lucky to have nearly perfect conditions with a civilized morning start of 10am (not in the middle of the night), the sun was out all day and the sea fairly calm and at about 16 degrees.

The first stage for each of us was really exciting as we all wanted to get in and get on with it after all our training.  Having trained in Dover Harbour helped with sea conditions but nothing can really prepare you for the actual swim and the conditions dealing with the waves etc and wondering what is below you in the sea!  We all did our first legs well and did not feel cold which was great. The hours of cold open water training was paying off!  The takeovers were very well controlled by the crew and the observer and a hooter marks the beginning/end of everyone’s hours slot.  The swimmer going in goes from the back of the boat and then swims past the swimmer finishing before that swimmer then swims to the back of the boat to the get on. The second leg for all of us was the hardest, being further out the sea did get rougher in parts and we all experience certain stages in our second swim when the waves did get larger.  You have done the first leg and at this stage both England and France did seem far away but the spirits of the team were great and we were lucky that none of us felt sea sick (we had all taken sea sick tablets) and we did manage to drink, snack and relax between our turns.  Jasper was unlucky as he seemed to get the jelly fish section about half way through our swim, and it was a real surprise how many there were and how big.  There seemed to be a variety of them on the surface and below various shapes and sizes.  He did just keep going and swam through them and luckily did not get stung, it would be a good idea to have anthisan cream and antihistamines with you just in case.  The week before at Dover Jasper had been stung and it was only like nettle rash so nothing to worry about and the cream soon sorted it.  A lovely memory for Marcus will be that while he was on the boat he had a phone call from a company that he had had an interview with that week offering him the job!

The third stage for all of us really got the adrenaline going as we could work out that it would be probably be our last leg each and we really wanted to push ahead and so swam really intently.  France was getting closer and towards the end the sun was going down the tide was working with us and so France was getting closer all the time although with the tide it does take you along the coast before actually getting to the shore.  For the last two hours Jasper and Jake used the lights on their head and trunks and again it was good that we had tried them out the week before in Dover so we knew exactly how they worked and how they felt on you and so that was not a worry.  Jake did the final leg and we all put light on to swim in with him to the shore.  He had to touch land and stand on it first and then we all climbed up on the rocks and stood together. It was pitch black by then and a sand beach landing would have been a lot easier but we climbed over rocks cut our legs and got to land!  It was useful that Alastair could speak French as there were French fishermen on the beach wondering who these people were who had just climbed out of the sea.  Once we explained we had just swum the channel they said ‘Welcome to France’

The swim took 11hours 54minutes and 30seconds.  We got back on the boat and drank champagne listened to music and then slept on the way back to Dover.  It was a 22hr day by the time we got back to bed!  The crew on the boat were great and the observer.  They have all done it many times before and really know what they are doing and are there to help you.  We would just advise anyone to train as much as possible before hand because it is harder than you think but by training in the sea you do get used to the cold and the cold really was not a major problem for us.  You just need as much experience as possible swimming with waves and swimming with the current with you and against you.  Nothing can prepare you for the Jelly fish!

We are delighted that so far we have raised about £8500 for Great Ormond street Hospital and any more donations would be greatly appreciated.         

Many thanks from The team and good luck to everyone who swims.  It was a great experience and one we will never forget.  Team spirit, helpful advice and as much Dover training as you can do really was the best thing for it all to work for us on the day.  We would love to thank Freda and her crew on the beach, Mike Oram and Kevin who answered many questions before the swim, Lance Oram and his crew, Shaun and Gary and our Observer Paul and not least Nick Adams who has been fantastic at mentoring us for the last 2 years and made it all possible.


Sandettie Lightship Observations

8am, 28th March 2024

Water: 49.3 °F (9.6 °C)

Air: 47.5 °F (8.6 °C)

Wind Speed: 26.0 kn (48.2 km/h)

Wind Direction: SW (220°)

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