Tag Archives | Channel relay

English Channel girls relay honouring 50 years of service

Video-English-Channel-Relay-2014

To honour our teacher Sri Chinmoy’s 50 years of peace service to the world, 4 female members of our international Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team chose another English Channel self-transcendence adventure. On Sept. 17th, at 12:42 p.m. they embarked on their 16 hour 34 min. long journey to France.  With lots of inner and outer support again from around the world,  Harita from New Zealand, Abhejali (several Zurich lakes, EC relay 2009, EC solo 2010, MIMS 2012, Gibraltar Straits 2013, ), Jayalata and Ritadyumna (EC relay 2009, breaststroker) from Czech Republic and their two  enthusiastic and experienced helpers (Bahula from New York and Haribala from Zlin) were lucky to have the weather gods on their side again and enjoy a great time – before, after and even at times during the swim.

Team2

Victory! The flags are flying at Varne Ridge Caravan Park!

While a solo swim is of course much more demanding, a relay has its own challenges – like being cold and seasick (in spite of pills and patches) on the boat and maybe unable to eat or drink in between 3-4 sets of 1 hour swims and having to dive back into black and choppy cold water at night etc. But the experience of teamwork is even more special in a relay – and it can be a nice stepping stone for the next sized challenge, the solo. FinishSri Chinmoy Golden Jubilee Team at Varne RidgeThe girls were in good hands with Mike Oram on Gallivant, one of the top EC swim pilots, who has led several of our team members across already, his co-pilot James Willi and crew.

I was very happy they were able to swim during the few days I was visiting Dover, so we could swim a little in the harbour, be excited and celebrate together. It would not be surprising to see another solo develop out of this relay in the near future!

Self-transcendence
Is my
Ever-blossoming goal.

Sri Chinmoy

Here the →  link to the slide show-video on vimeo again.

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Our boys relay team reached the Cap – in 13 h 41!

Boys relay route Sept. 21

Boys relay route Sept. 21

On one of the best Channel swim days since July, an international 5 person Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team relay just finished, also right at Cap Griz Nez, only minutes after Anna-Carin Nordin, my recent helper on the boat, touched the rocks at the Cap (only the boys had left quite early with Chris Osmond). It is the first boys relay from our international team in 25 years – and the second that ever got inspired to do it, after the first one failed in 1985 due to seasickness, strong winds, 13°C water and night combined! Angikar, who just did a solo on August 8th, had come back to join the team – another “eternal friend” of the Channel it seems!

The day was sunny, with little wind but stronger currents and they felt “suuuper”, they texted!

More details by them later on their blog.

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Our plaque is up at the Ridge

Varne Ridge Caravan Park honours their successful swimmers with plaques

our plaque at Varne Ridge Caravan Park - along with a couple of other successful swims

Varne Ridge Caravan Park, up on the cliffs between Dover and Folkestone (the ideal place for Channel swimmers and crew to stay when waiting for their swim) have the nice tradition of honouring their successful swimmer-guests by putting up plaques on the walls of the premises. So this is what we got for just a mere 3 hours (21 min.) in the water each!
Thanks Dave and Evelyn!

See also our story on: www.worldharmonyrun.org

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Photoalbum English Channel Relay 2009 (4 swimmers)

A gallery of our little adventure – some photos are still upside down, will have to be fixed later.

Just click on the photo to open the gallery. Enjoy!

congratulations-torch1

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Mission accomplished!(at least for this year)

Satellite tracker of our pilot boat Anastasia, 4 person relay Sept. 30th

Satellite tracker of our pilot boat Anastasia, 4 person relay Sept. 30th

International 4 person relay

We did it! Finishing time 13 hours 21 min. (1 min. slower than our 6-person relay in 1989) on a sandy beach in silver moonlight just off Wissant. A great team effort with lots of grace and a bit of drama: during her second hour Zuzka looked absolutely miserable like she was going to die, eyes pleading ‘take me out here’, trying to swim hard and not able to breathe properly any more. ‘Marylin Bell’ was one of the mantras that would help her do lots better the third time.

I was so happy to be the last swimmer and touch French ground again (after last years experience) and the last couple of hours took me back again to my solo in 1985 where I landed almost at the exact same place in similar conditions – calm, peaceful night, not cold at all, starry sky, but this time with a flood of silver light from an almost full moon.

Viktoria, who has swum in Iceland in sub 10°C waters, came with Dave on the dinghy and brought the World Harmony Run torch to the beach. Last year I only held it at my start in Dover ! We quickly took some photos with the two of us holding the flaming torch, grabbed some pepples or rather sea shells and hurried back. On the way back to the pilot boat, the dinghy almost went under with our weight and I had to swim back to the boat, this time against the waves. It seemed as if someone up there wanted to tell me the relay was definitely not the end of the story …

Abhejali swimming into the light

Abhejali swimming into the light

On French sands with the World Harmony Run torch (Viktoria took it on the dinghy and brought it to the shore)

On French sands with the World Harmony Run torch (Viktoria took it on the dinghy and brought it to the shore)

Back in Dover Marina - Eddie, our pilot, his crew, observer Irene, swimmers and helpers

Back in Dover Marina - Eddie, our pilot, his crew, observer Irene and the relay team

The flags are flying from the Ridge: Czech Republic (Zuzka and Abhejali), Germany (Vasanti) and Iceland (Viktoria)

The flags are flying from the Ridge: Czech Republic (Zuzka and Abhejali), Germany (Vasanti) and Iceland (Viktoria)

More details and photos to follow on this webalbum.

For fotos of the World Harmony Run visiting schools in Dover in June this year click here.

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Start of the Tide tonight – and waiting

Wednesday morning, Sept. 23rd:

Abhejali and Zuzka - getting Maxim from Freda

Abhejali and Zuzka – getting Maxim from Freda

Our tide starts tonight, but not only has Eddie 4 swims booked on this tide, and we are in 4th position, but we discovered that one swim is a two-way! So that would be 5 swims on this tide – which to me seems absolutely irresponsible towards the swimmers since as a rule it is hard to even get 3 or 4 swims done on one tide. But he told Suzka he was confident it would work out. Luckily the weather forecast is absolutely great for the next few days until the 27th, and some swimmers or relays are even going out today at noon. Plus it is a long tide.

However, we could not reach Eddie so far this morning and have no idea if he is still taking left over swimmers from the last tide or starting with the new tide swimmers today.Two helpers are coming in the afternoon, then we are ready to go, but the weather is so calm, I am sure the other swimmers before us would want to keep their positions and swim first.

Successful swims on the spring tide

Meeting Chloe after her swim on the beach

Meeting Chloe after her swim on the beach

Swim Map of Lisa Cummins' amazing double crossing

Swim Map of Lisa Cummins’ amazing double crossing Sept. 19/20 2009

Over the weekend, on a the highest spring tide of the year, a huge number of successful swims have taken place after the last neap tide was totally blown out by the weather. On Saturday 19th at least 9 boats went out – all the swimmers made it, and more on Sunday and Monday, including a Jersey relay with Sally Minty-Gravett. Lisa Cummins from Ireland did her absolutely fantastic and awesome double crossing on Sept. 19th/20th in 35 hours something, without having ever done a solo! We could watch her boat from Varne Ridge through the binoculars around 30 hours, pushed westward by the tides and heading towards Dungeness. Chloe McCardel, the top marathon swimmer from Australia, who also wanted to do a two-way without having done a solo before, had to be taken out after 25 hours that ended up in very difficult conditions. Still a brilliant effort – and she will be back next year, I heard! Her problem also was that all her helpers had already gone back to Australia!

Visit to Canterbury

So yesterday after swimming 30 min. to 1:45 h individually, we spent the afternoon in Canterbury – my first visit to this amazing gothic cathedral – including some cappuchino, milkshake etc. at a nice little coffee place.

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Fat – but I might need it soon …

I am fat!

I am fat!

Now I have the weight that would have made all the difference last year – 10 kg more.  It feels uncomfortable for running, and I have run very little since Basel in May, but swimming gives strength to the whole body and my legs are still strong. Soon, when it gets cooler, I will start again. I remember, in 1985 I did my fastest 2 miles ever when I was heaviest – right after the Channel! (O.k., my fastest marathon, the only sub 4,  came when I had lost 20 kg again and had been biking 1 hour a day for 3 months .)

The funny thing is, I have been appreciating the “blubber” around my waist and over my kidneys – knowing how precious it will be to protect me during my probably 15 hour plus swim next year. But then, to carry it around for all those months, now that the indoor pool season will soon start again … Should I try to loose some? But then it may be hard to get it back in time when the training is getting more intense! Or would it be enough to train more in cold water over the winter? No, as a slower swimmer I need some more fat.

Surprise-SMS: Invitation to Dover – for a relay on the tide starting Sept. 24

For now the answer is clear:  I may need the “blubber”  soon.  My intuition for September was right.  Friends from the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team in the Czech Republic who were planning a 3 person relay lost a swimmer. So 2 days ago, late at night, I got an SMS asking if I wanted to step in. Probably we will be four now, with a girl from Iceland also joining, an experienced cold water swimmer – maybe a future solo aspirant!

Our pilot will be Eddie Spelling, and we are only 4th place. But relays can go when solo swimmers might turn an offer down because the conditions don`t look too good. The main challenge for a relay is – telling from our 1989 experience – to avoid getting seasick on the boat. Or, if you do get seasick, to still continue to be able to jump back in into the cold and maybe the dark.

In 1989 we were a 6 person-relay and the best time was when we were allowed to swim.  One hour is barely enough to get into the “zone”, and on the boat it was only suffering. Lying down on our backs was the only position to survive. I don`t remember eating much (potatoes?), but luckily it was sunny and pretty calm. At that time I was convinced to never ever do a relay again. Too little swimming. But this is different now – touch base again for next year!

Friends had blown a relay in 1985 when they got seasick already on their way to the start in France.  Nowadays starts from France are no longer possible, but in “ancient” times, swim direction would depend on the wind. They started swimming from France into the night in pretty nasty conditions. At one point one swimmer got hit by the boat when it was lifted out of the water by a big wave and fell back on his shoulder. On a sick stomach, feeling cold and terrible if not terrified, one team member just couldn`t deal with it anymore and refused to get back into the black cold waves – and that was it for the relay.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Gale force at Wissant bay, France, Sept. 3rd, 2009

Gale force at Wissant bay, France, Sept. 3rd, 2009

The weather right now in Dover is horrible – no attempts at all during this tide, with winds up to gale force. I think we will be very lucky to get a chance at all!

Tomorrow morning 2 hour lake swim* – luckily the air temperature here has dropped to 12-16 °C in the mornings, but the water will still be much too warm. Ice baths at home will be needed now. Then Dover harbour starting on the 20th, hopefully. Our tide is from Sept. 24th to Oct. 1st. We will be staying at Varne Ridge, like last year. I am really excited to get back to Dover!

(*was 2.5 h, wrist is holding, tendonitis seems over, but just strong enough for a relay)

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