Well, I hit a bit of jet lag flat spot after the weekend's race and was beginning to panic after a terrible swim on Tuesday. Nevertheless, a big fat juicy steak, a pint of Guiness and early to bed and on Wednesday I had an absolute cracker of a 10km swim in Folkestone which really lifted my spirits!! No sooner had I finished the swim than my skipper (Andy King) called me to say that the weather was looking really bad for next week as a big front pushed through on the back of Hurricane Irene. Not deterred though, Andy suggested that whilst the tide won't be quite so favourable and will likely add 1.5-2hrs to our finishing times, Saturday morning at ~3am is looking very good from the weather perspective. Funnily enough, all three skippers confirmed this same news despite not communicating between themselves. This has filled us all with a bit of excitement and equally a sense of relief that whilst we might not get "ideal" conditions, we will at least get a swim start!!
The Channel has periods called Spring and Neap tides. Neap tides last for 4-5 days and are when the tidal range is at it's smallest allowing swimmers to take a reasonably straight line across to France. Spring tides have a much larger tidal range and consequently rather than covering 34-38km, typical swims (as we saw with Ceinwen's swim) are in the region of 50km+. Swimmers don't actually swim that much further, but are pushed by the strength of the tides and so inevitably end up swimming in the region of 6-8km further than on a Neap tide in actual terms.
The other factor is the weather...it's no good having a great Neap tide but terrible weather, and that's what it's looking like next week. As such, with better weather set for the end of the Spring tide on Saturday, it looks like we'll be heading off then, which will be about 10am on Saturday morning Perth time. Stay tuned at www.channeldare.com for live updates, a GPS tracker for each of us and live Twitter feeds from the boat. Don't forget you can send your messages of support through replying to the Twitter feed on the website - very easy to do!
I'll keep you posted if anything changes. Suffice to say we're not looking set for amazingly quick times, but as we're all gradually appreciating over here with the amazing tides, the key is to get across whatever or however long it takes.
Wish us luck! Here we go!!