George Thornton English Channel Swim : Round 2; Day 5

Not much to report today. We stuck around Dover, ran some errands, walked along the beach, got some work done, ate a nice dinner, Skyped; read books …

Dad and Mom spent time reviewing all of his swim equipment, such as lights, glow sticks, body grease, mouth wash, goggles, ropes, water bottles, etc. and his fueling plan. Preparing to support a swimmer who will be in cold water for approximately 18 hours is no joke. Lots of logistical preparations, reassessments, plan revisions, and more iterations. Fortunately, Dad and Mom have been through this drill many times with Dad’s Iron-distance triathlons — not to mention their 46 year marriage — and so are comfortable working and communicating together.

At least six Channel boats took swimmers out today, and at least five of them made it across — including the Anastasia. More successful swims this tide = more good karma for Dad. There remains one swimmer ahead of Dad on the Anastasia, so we’re getting close. Some boat pilots have told their swimmers that tomorrow (Saturday) is not a good swim day due to wind/weather. While we haven’t heard whether or not the Anastasia will go out, we’re assuming for now that the next swim will be on Sunday. That means Dad will most likely go on Monday or Tuesday.

As you might imagine, forecasting the weather for the English Channel is a challenge. You’ve got two large bodies of water — the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea — converging all of their turbulence and energy, compounded by the effects of the British Islands and European mainland. Here you can see predictions of the High and Low pressure systems animated over the next few days: If you’re not familiar with isobars, this may take a while to decipher. Click on the “play” button at the bottom of the graphic to see the computer model’s predicted patterns.

The meteorologists use that data to generate the following marine forecast for mid-English Channel over the next 48 hours: Essentially: storm Friday night; decent weather Saturday; some precipitation Sunday.

Here’s a good depiction of how all of the wind and weather effects the
seas: You can see that wave height picks up throughout the day on Saturday, falls Saturday night and Sunday, and then picks up again on Monday. Actually, wave height on Tuesday looks much better. Maybe that’s Dad’s lucky day??

Of course, all of this is fluid. There is a High pressure system forming to the west of France that might push up and keep the Channel calm. Probably not — the point is that it’s a dynamic system and computer models have a long way to go before they become ‘accurate.’ The great news is that no major storm fronts appear on the charts and so any delays appear to be temporary, one-day events.

Given that Sunday is not a likely swim day for Dad, we are planning to take a day away from Dover tomorrow (Saturday). Most likely we’ll jump on a ferry to Calais and spend a couple of hours in France, just to see the Channel from the water. Sitting around Dover waiting is mentally taxing, so I think it would be a good idea to get away for the day. Dad will swim first thing in the morning, and then we will decide.

The only photo for you today is of our after-dinner mint. Enjoy.



2 Responses

  1. Did you have to split it 4 ways?

  2. Lovely mint, Charles. Now all my new friends on the London trip are cheering for Charles. Grandparents and Grands alike. My new job here is to make a daily report. MTS

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