Tag Archives: kayak

Kayakers Needed

If you read this blog much you’ll know that my swims are rarely solo affairs. All of the BLDSA point-to-point events I enter require each swimmer to have a support boat with them. Sometimes it’s a kayaker, other times (especially on Windermere) it’s a rowing boat.

KayakThe reason for the support boats is primarily safety – if the swimmer gets into any difficulties then the support boat can be used for physical support and the kayaker or crew can attract the attention of the safety teams. This level of safety is hugely important and is something the BLDSA prides itself on. The other reasons for the support boat are to help with navigation and also feeding.

But what it means is that without that support, we can’t swim.

And as swimmers we are VERY grateful to the people that provide that support.

But it also means that we’re always on the look out for kayakers. Would you fancy it? Or how about anyone you know?

If you’re already competent in a kayak, or possibly even a member of a kayak club, then what it means for you is a nice day out on the water in beautiful scenery. If you’re not yet an experienced kayaker, but fancy it, then maybe you could start to train up for the season as the swimmers are putting in the swimming training.

If this is something that you could help with, then PLEASE do get in touch. I’d like to start a list of people who would be willing to volunteer and then put you in touch with swimmers that need boat support. I’m running the Coniston event for the BLDSA this year (on Sunday 24th July), so I’m particularly focussed on that event, but I’d like to keep an active list for other events too.

This is something separate to the BLDSA and not ‘authorised’ by them, but I’m hopeful that it will help a lot of potential BLDSA swimmers. My goal is to put volunteer kayakers in touch with swimmers in need and allow them to arrange things. Any arrangement would then be between yourselves and be a completely private thing, but it is often the norm for swimmers to pay something towards the kayaker’s costs, so it would be perfectly reasonable for you to ask / expect that.

Please, please, please get in touch if you would be willing to kayak and please, please, please pass this on to anyone you know you is a kayaker or in a kayak club.

From all the swimmers out there – thank you.

– – –

UPDATE

Thanks for all the comments and offers to support so far, please keep them coming. My plan is to get in touch with you all privately over the next few days so that I can create a list that can be shared with swimmers that need a kayaker. Thanks again.

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Sunday was better

After the disaster that was Saturday, Sunday turned out to be a better day.

The kayak hire place (that hired out the kayak on Saturday with a broken seat, that made my experience quite a lot tougher) offered us an actual kayaker for the Sunday swim, so that we would have someone with more experience and skill if the water got as choppy again. What it actually meant for us was an extra body and Rach no longer had to kayak for me and could actually swim – getting back at least some of her lost swim from Saturday.

Originally Rach’s plan was to set off as a solo swim after the event had set off. She had informed the safety boats and had promised to keep out of the way of championship swimmers. They knew she was competent and would have a tow-float, so had promised to keep an eye on her too.

However, the BLDSA being what it is, as soon as the organisers were aware of this – coupled with the fact that they knew they had a spare kayaker – she was immediately placed as a late entry into the event.

So three of us from Team Bear set off to do the 3-mile one-way swim.

After the previous day, the berating of myself and a poor night’s sleep I wasn’t feeling on top form. But equally I had made the decision not to mope and attack it properly as I felt it would have been disrespectful to Rach to do anything else.

While the weather wasn’t as bad as Saturday, it was still a ‘little’ choppy. The first 500 or so metres across the lake from the start were certainly tough, then we turned to swim down the lake with the wind and chop [mostly] to our back. A breeze pushing us down the lake is predominantly helpful, although it can disrupt rhythm at times and increase the likelihood of taking in mouthfuls of water. So a couple of stops mid lake to spit out water and regain my rhythm aside, I pushed on and swam hard.

Rach beat me (as expected), but I was pleased with a time of 1:34.

And to top it off, Cathy completed the swim – her longest ever and after she had kayaked through the horrible conditions (and kayaked it all) the day before.

There are more thoughts to be had about the Saturday (which may well be blogged), but in the end it turned out to be a successful weekend and a lovely bunch of Bears to spend it with.

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Favourite Posts of 2012

Like many people, I’m going to have a look back at the year that was, however I’m going to do it in blog format and pick my favourite posts of the year.

– By far my favourite has to be this one – I’ve only gone and bloody done it – posted soon after completing my Windermere swim.
– I then followed it up with a full report of the swim – Windermere report.

Finished

Finished

– This post about needing a canoe turned out to be a very important one too as it helped me to find Jon, who canoed for me at Bala, and also helped to persuade my friend Lucy to canoe for me at Coniston (read her summary here).

– Outside of the training though a few other posts made the grade – this one about me falling in love again has a lot of personal resonance as you would expect, while this post about a Caitlin Moran piece in the paper was the first wider post I wrote.

However, it’s not all about me. Part of the process of creating this blog has been getting into the community of bloggers out there writing about similar stuff, so here’s some of my favourites from their posts.

– Firstly Chatter, who has used the training and the blog to make a massive difference to his life and lifestyle. He may well have replaced previous addictions for these new fitness ones, but read this to see the impact it has made – First 5k.

– Another person that has used training and blogging to change their life is triingtosurvive. Read this post about her accepting a blogging award (that I nominated her for) to get a feel for her.

– Another person I enjoy reading is Sligowarriorqueen and her laid-back view on life – this is a great post that sums her up well.

– While if you want to read about a real swimmer visit Ellathemermaid’s blog, this is a great post about the dedication required for her to achieve her goal of swimming the English Channel.

– While another blog I like to read is Tri Fatherhood and this post dedicated to his kids remembering their premature birth is simply amazing.

Finally, a couple of other places I’d love you to visit are the new websites for the companies I run (which I’m very proud of – the companies and the websites) – this one for Joshua PR and this one for BoothChat.

See you in 2013!

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