Tag Archives | Jackie Cobell

Off to Dover – acclimating and meeting Channel heroes

Vasanti and Jackie Cobell, record for longest Channel swim - Redkord für den längsten Ärmelkanalschwimm

with Jackie Cobell, one of the Channel heroes for the longest English Channel swim: it took her 28 hours 44 min. to reach France in 2010 – but she would not give up!

Arrived in Dover via Euroline bus and ferry from Dunkerque (instead of Calais, passing the fenced off refugee/migrant camps, very sad situation and constantly wondering how can we help) for a few days of acclimatizing before my tide Sept. 5 – 11. Just in time for a nice Sat. morning training swim of 4 hours and again 3,5 hours on Sunday (due to Dover Regatta we were not allowed to stay in the water longer.)

Met Channel swimmers, aspirants and all kinds of heroes on the beach as usual, including legendary Jackie Cobell, who holds the record for the longest / slowest Channel swim ever, testimony to incredible stamina, determination and endurance!

Sananda, my helper from Vienna, is only arriving on the 5th, hopefully there will be a more stable weather period for a change, the last neap tides (Aug 21-27) were basically wiped out again. My second helper just dropped out for family reasons – but then I got a phone call from Canada, an old Channel swimming admirer will use her air  miles to come over and help short notice, arriving Friday! Thanks, Sarita for your enthusiasm!

Freda Streeter - Dover Harbour Traininging (Ärmelkanalschwimm-Training)

with another Channel legend, Channel “General” and coach Freda Streeter (mother of Allison Streeter, Queen of the English Channel), who told me this may be her last year “full time” at the beach

My boat is Anastasia English Channel boat again with great pilot Eddie Spelling and his crew.

You can follow the tracker (once you know we are swimming) here: http://cspf.co.uk/tracking. Just click the box behind “Anastasia” – the orange boat symbol. Eddie usually updates his twitter account (it is open, you do not need to sign in): https://twitter.com/anastasiaswim

And here are some links to the weather forcasts and tides:

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Update Aug. 31
Metoffice pressure chart shows a high pressure Zone slowly moving towards the Dover Strait. If it continues to move east there is a chance for some more stable calm weather (that is the zone between too bars/lines staying over the Channel for some time). Right now the forecast for 5th to 9th is too windy. This is what Sept. 3rd looks like today:


Pressure chart sept 3

Jackie Cobell: slow but steady – an epic swim. New world record for the longest solo across the English Channel

Jackie Cobell world record swim

Jackie Cobell world record swim EC Solo in 28 hours 44 min., here with Freda Streeter (mother of Alison, Queen of the Channel, and legendary EC swimmers’ coach) – map courtesy of ZimHippo

Saturday morning, July 24th, around 7:30 continental time, a swim started on Shakespeare beach that was to hold swimmers all over the world in its grip for over a day: 56 year old Jackie Cobell from London set off with Lance Oram (Sea Satin) and crew for France. It was the end of the neap tides (6 m and 6.2 m), with SW and SSW winds up to 14 knots according to Sandette Light ship. Like so often with slower swimmers, the swim started 1-2 hours before high tide, so the route looks unusual right from the beginning.  13 hours or so later Jackie reached the middle of the separation zone – half way geographically, while the average time for this year’s Channel swims (including relays) so far has been 13 hours 54 min. (last year: 13 hours 15 min)! Even at the next change of tides (after 6+ hours) she was still far from France – many would have given up by now.

Through the night

There was hope she would be able to make it on the next tide – and many of us woke up in the middle of the night around 3 or 4 a.m. to check the AIS-tracking to see if she was still hanging in there – and she was! They were nearing the sandbanks east of Calais, but then the tide carried her back west towards Cap Griz Nez and Calais again.

When I got up Sunday morning and checked the internet first thing she was still swimming! When I finally left at 9:30 a.m.  for my “long swim” in the Silbersee (only 6 hours, I was so late!) she was still swimming! While I was at the lake I had a good feeling about her. Still, when I came home in the evening and checked the net, I was anxious: did she finish? SHE DID! She finished around Sunday noon  – after 28 hours 44 min. (inofficial) in 15-16 degree water and similar air temperatures through the night and morning! Apparently without ever complaining or thinking of giving up! At the end, when she could almost touch the ferries going out of Calais harbour, it still took her 2 more hours to touch the sandy beach west of Calais harbour at 12:13.

See the > BBC video and interview

> Daily Telegraph article > Daily Mail

Kevin Murphy, King of the Channel (34 crossings) wrote to her on our Channel Chat group:

“Jackie

Your courage and determination are an inspiration to us all, during the swim itself and during the years you have spent training in Dover.

When the going gets tough; when the demons threaten our will to keep putting one arm in front of the other; we just have to remember – Jackie did it and achieved the dream.

I confess that when I first met you I had my doubts. I should have known better.

More than most, I have a fair idea what you went through and I add my voice to those from around the world who salute you.

Your swim will be remembered in the annals of Channel swimming as a true epic.

Kevin Murphy”

Only a few days before Australian marathon champion Chloe McCardel (25) had done her successful double crossing in only 21 hours 48 min. (after not being able to finish the second leg last year) – the beauty of  determination and speed and the beauty of determination and persistance!

The last few days were a perfect illustration for one of my favourite aphorisms by my late teacher Sri Chinmoy, which explains in a few simple words the value of such “otherworldly” achievements:

“Individual self-transcendence collectively inspires humanity at large.” – Sri Chinmoy

Also very true but not at all easy:

“It does not matter how slow you go so long as you do not stop.” Confucius


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