Porthcawl to Glenthorne 19-9-2022
Swim time: 9hours 10minutes
Start: Sandy Bay Porthcawl (Coney Beach)
Finish: Glenthorne Bay, Devon.
Observer: Erica Jones
Pilot: Ceri Davies
Ratified by the BCSA
What inspired you to do this swim?
Inspired by the older generation of swimmers to do some of the swims that have disappeared until recent years – like Bristol Channel, Morecombe Bay and the Wash and had the incentive on this one to go for the Original Triple Crown. Looked at this 3 years ago -pre Bristol Channel Swimming and had a spot with another pilot. Then COVID happened. And in between others swims I had planned piled up and Bristol Channel Swimming set up. So reduced the risk of going with an unknown pilot.
Describe how you planned for the swim?
Long season for me. I was trying to replicate my 2018 with lots of swims building to a big swim – this time with a planned Lake Geneva swim in August. Unfortunately for a number of work/life reasons that didn’t happen. So this year I started with my usual SwimTrek swim camp in Mallorca, then SCAR, then Ibiza to Formentera, 2 Lake Zurich Swims, Worthersee and finally BC. I always like to end the season with a good swim and BC was my planned end of season swim
How did the swim go, generally? Did you face any unanticipated challenges?
It couldn’t have gone much better. 2 days to acclimatize and then swim. It is always a shock to come from swimming in Switzerland where I live and train at 23 deg C to 15/16 degs in the preceeding days to the swim. It takes a couple of days to adjust. But once in the water for the swim – the water was a little warmer and no problem
As channel swims go this was pretty perfect. Perfect temperature in the water. Air temp not as cold as the forecast and pretty much no wind apart from the last 90 mins. Channel swimmers dream
My crew were great. Erica Jones has crewed for me so many times. And although we were one person down due to various holidays and commitments, she was fantastic and fulfilled the role of observer and feed support.
Ceri and Dave and the new boat were fabulous for Erica. Luxiary. Apart from Catalina dive boats I have never been on such a luxurious boat. Even though I was only on it at the start and the end! Bloody luxury!. I had boat envy!
The swim itself was difficult in one respect - hitting the Devon coast at Glenthorne house. The tide and my swimming took me way into the channel and if I had been just looking to touch England I would have been done in under 8 hours. But I wanted the OTC. The wind picked up and it was pretty hard going the last 90 mins swimming back along the Somerset coast to Devon. But in the end I made it.
Super pleased with this swim all-round. Everything p
Bristol Channel Swim
Swim Date: 19th September 2022
Swimmer: Martyn Webster
Observer: Erica Jones
Met the rib at the Mumbles slipway to load up along with Pat Gallant-Charette and her crew. After transferring to the Shee Ann, Martyn prepared for his swim while Pat started off on hers. Martyn jumped in the water and headed to shore and at Porthcawl Sandy Bay, he started his swim at 0551 AM.
The start of the swim was strong and as agreed, the first feed was prepared for 1 hour and every half hour thereafter. Martyn was concerned about the cold after a summer swimming in Switzerland in the mid 20’s and only a couple of acclimatisation swims in the bay at the Mumbles. However, both water and air temps early morning were a few of degrees higher than we’d expected so this wasn’t an issue.
It did take a couple of hours for Martyn to realise there was a boat for him to follow and after several attempts to head towards Cardiff instead of Devon, he agreed the skipper knew best and stuck with the boat. The sea flattened out completely after a couple of hours and we spotted porpoises off the stern.
The half hourly feeds were working well as the sun came up, Martyn was keeping a very consistent pace and stroke rate. Both the water and the air were warming up.
Martyn confirmed he was feeling good throughout the swim, his pace remained consistent throughout. The more challenging part of the swim was nearing the end, where around eight hours in, he could have made the short distance to shore. However, he had been clear he wanted the original triple crown, which meant he needed to land in Devon, not in Somerset. Devon was some way to the west of where we were. Basically, he’d swum the crossing too fast for the tide.
I explained the situation that he would have to take a right turn and swim down the shoreline some way before he could get out. Martyn understood, but it meant now swimming into the wind which had picked up a little and was causing choppy waters into his face. The pilot took him as close to the shoreline as possible to protect from the wind and just over 90 mins later, we confirmed he had passed the river separating Devon from Somerset so he could take a left and head into the beach. Swim completed in 9 hours 10 minutes landing at Glenthorne beach.
A pleasure as always to crew for you Martyn, congratulations on your Original Triple Crown.