Porthcawl to Glenthorne 19-9-2022
Swim time: 12hrs 55minutes 49 seconds
Start: Sandy Bay Porthcawl (Coney Beach)
Finish: Approx 1mile west of Glenthorne Bay, Devon.
Observer: Tom Chapman
Swim Crew: Jean Murdoch-Gallant
Pilot: Aston Grindrod/Elliot Briskham
Ratified by the BCSA.
I came to Wales with one thing on my mind; to complete the Original Triple Crown!
We met up on the slipway at Mumbles at 4.30AM, transferred all the kit to the boat COBRA, a 9m rib as well as a second swimmer Martyn Webster and crew. We tracked to Porthcawl at high speed and Martyn transferred to the Shee Ann for his swim on the same route. Pat jumped out the boat, swan to shore and cleared the water at Sandy Bay Porthcawl to begin her swim at 5.38 AM.
Pat swam strongly out and away, at this time it was pitch black but the sea was calm and flat. The first two hours were very uneventful! The dawn began to break and it got lighter and lighter until we eventually saw the sun over the cliffs of Monk Nash. First feed was at the two hour mark, maple syrup and water (all subsequent feeds were the same but on the hour). Weather was overcast but light wind and great sea conditions. Air cool but water warm.
Very little to report in the next few hours, the sea stayed calm, the wind light and Pat swam consistently between feeds. She did have a couple of bouts of heaving ten minutes after the first few feeds and had leg cramps but only stopped briefly before swimming on.
By hour three we were south of Nash Point and could see Aberthaw power station, a couple of charter fishing boats came past at speed giving a little bit of wake but Pat didn’t break stroke. We continued making great progress in perfect conditions for the next few hours, seeing only light traffic in the channel.
At around midday, the crew blew a whistle for Pat to mark the start of the national two minute silence (today was the Queens funeral); Pat acknowledged the signal but swam on.
By 1300, the tide was starting to turn and the wind building ever so slightly. The surface of the water began to chop slightly with wind over tide but Pat swam on. The chop built with the wind for the next hour or two as we started to accelerate to the west with the tide. A pod of dolphins passed away to the front of the boat!
By the 8th feed Pat was asking how far to the finish. It was only 4Nmiles at this point but we had a lot of tide to break! The house was hidden from Pat by the boat. Every stroke was taking us closer to England but for Pat in the water it must have seemed an eternity, she kept asking us how far every feed!
The second boat the Shee Ann joined us when Martyn finished his swim and shadowed us in. The tide shot us out to the West but Pat swam with dogged determination, picking up her stroke and eventually breaking the worst of it and getting out of the chop in the shadow of Foreland point. Inshore waters saw a few seaweed rafts and some moon jelly fish. Pat managed to land on rock at 18.33, clearing the water as far as safe to do so with an elapsed time of 12 hours, 55 minutes and 49 seconds. We were approx. 1 mile West of Glenthorne so the swim landed in Devon, satisfying the requirements for the Original Triple Crown. Congratulations Pat! She swam back to the boat and we made off back to Swansea at high speed.