2 January 2012

Introducing my Boat, Skipper and Paddler!

Now we're in 2012, I can almost smell the Rottnest Channel!  It's no longer 'next year'...it's now only 54 days away.  

With any swim of this distance, there's always a fair bit to organise.  I've pulled some useful tips from the Rottnest Channel website, but there's nothing like speaking to people who have actually done this swim to get the insider info!

In the last few months I've been able to lock down the following which are big elements to this swim.  As well as the training, which I'll share more about in the next few weeks, these are the hardest elements to organise.

This is an absolute must for all swimmers - teams and solos.  For solo swimmers, the boat must be at least 5m long.  It's important to have a skipper who is knowledgeable of the area and ideally has experience in guiding a swimmer across the channel.  I started looking into finding my boat back in March just by asking around.  

I then happened to meet a gorgeous couple on an Inspired Adventures trek to Peru that I accompanied as Tour Leader.  Peter and Alison live in Perth and offered to put the word out that I needed a boat for this swim.  Within a month or so, they put me in touch with Dave Rowland who offered his boat and to be my skipper!  Dave and I have kept in regular contact and I'm very excited to meet him in February.  I can't fail to add here that the boat is called "Gone"!  Just hoping this is a positive sign and not something else! 

Having a paddler beside you is a great support.  Firstly, they're more on your level as a swimmer so you don't feel so lonely.  Secondly, they can get closer to you for the feeds and to offer encouragement. Thirdly, they help create a protected area if they paddle on one side of you and the boat is on the other and finally, they are able to get closer to the shore so escort you at the start and finish of the swim.  They are not compulsory but to me they are an essential!

Joining me as the paddler is Grant Siedle from Melbourne.  I met Grant through the Brighton Icebergers.  He's an extraordinary swimmer..not only fast but throughout the entire winter season, is never seen wearing a hat!  Now that is hardcore!

Grant is training for the English Channel swim later this year and is also the Director of the Giants of the Bay race - which is a 42km race with 6 teams, across two days.  Grant also runs Spirited Away a kayaking and swimming company based in Melbourne. I am truly privileged to have Grant as my paddler and couldn't think of anyone more perfect to take on the role!

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