Friday, February 23, 2018

Weather / water predictions for the Rottnest Channel Swim 2018 - good luck!

Dear Swimmers

I hope you are all doing well and if you're racing tomorrow at the 2018 Rottnest Channel Swim are excited and confident in your abilities to get the job done.

This is the first year since 2007 I have been absent from the race (I'm currently over in Europe coaching until I return to the pool deck this coming Wednesday), so it's a bit strange to be missing out on some of the hype of the weather forecasts in the week leading up to the race. This is why I have tried my best to remain a little quiet and patient on these predictions until we got a little closer to the event. Given that in under 24 hours most of you will have left Cottesloe Beach heading for Thomson's Bay, I feel "safer" in passing on these predictions at this, the 11th hour, so here goes:

This suggests that the wind will be mostly behind you, pushing you across to Rottnest with what I would suspect will be relatively calm waters, with little chance of a sou'wester kicking in around mid to late morning. For most, this is good news!!

The WindGuru confirms what BOM is telling us about a strong easterly blowing in the morning. It also shows that the wave direction is running in opposition (thereabouts) to the wind, which might make for mildly turbulent waters beyond the 3-4km mark…definitely make sure you've had your Qwells just to be on the safe side!

The data above is realtime (8am Friday 23rd February) as opposed to predictive (tomorrow morning), but you can certainly visit this page for an up-to-date analysis as the race closes in. The arrows indicate a very mild south to north current flowing right now.

This information is also in realtime and probably a good website to keep an eye on. It also shows a south to north current is currently running in the channel.


I'd highly recommend downloading and following the instructions to add in your race number (please be so kind as to forward me that on so I can track you from over here in Londontown!). Within this app you can actually set various waypoints depending on where you'd like to trend. 

My best advice would be to select the Rottnest South option based on all the information above (subject to change of course). If you'd like to play it safe, Rottnest Direct would be the way to go, but if it were me, I'd be hedging on south tomorrow. This would also mean that your support boat and paddler would be wanting to line up on the south side of the course and for you to also line up on the south side of the race start. Of course, if everyone follows this advice, then that's going to make for a fair degree of congestion, but based on all the information that we currently have to hand, this would be my best recommendation.

Final tips:

These sage words from 6 years ago will serve you well if you're concerned about your shoulders on race day: 

I do wish you the very best of luck everyone. So sorry I can't be with you over these this year, but rest assured I will be watching until the early hours of the Saturday morning (UK time) to see how you get on, despite having to be up early to entertain and lecture in front of up to 51,000 people attending the world's largest triathlon expo where I've been invited to be the proud guest speaker for swimming for the 7th year in a row. Here's a couple of pics - see you next week to relive your war stories of the great day with you!

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