Chalkwell Redcaps

Chalkwell Redcaps

Monday, 6 August 2012

Redcaps 15K Challenge 2012

Code Name : CPCPCPC

Date : 21 July 2012

Time : 12noon

Challenge : 3 laps, Crowstone to Pier and back. (15kilometers)
Time available : 6 hours max

Contenders : Ben Jaques, Lorraine Rate, Derrick Griffiths, Stuart Watson, Kirsty Fehily,
Support Crew : Iain Keenan, Jane Bell, Paul Docker, Michael Tongie
Support swimmers, Helen Wildin, Michael Tong, Iain Keenan, Julie Dempsey, Mike Grout, Ollie Southgate, and several more.
Beach Support : Far far too many to mention, (Lesley, Julie, Clare, Tracy etc etc.) and what a great team they were.


The first ever Chalkwell Redcap Charity Challenge AND whats more, we are all alive to tell the tale.   And what a journey we had too.  There were highs and lows, and ups and downs along the way especially, when code name SKS had to become code name CPCPCPC, due to the lack of support from the PLA. :(    But not to be deterred, we still did it.  5 swimmers in the end attempted the whole challenge and all 5 succeeded, The sixth swimmer, Alex Edge unfortunately, could not attempt the challenge.   Happily it was because she had just been chosen to swim for Essex in an open water meet the very next day so she needed to conserve energy.  Congratulations to Alex.

Mother Nature only gave us about 5 1/2 hrs of decent swimming before she took our water away, but we forgive her because she gave us fantastic weather and perfect swimming conditions.  The challenge started with Ben Jacques briefing all the swimmers on the best way to head out to find some decent depth of water.   Follow me as I know where the deep water is he said.  Lorraine and Kirsty then went the other way and spent at least 15 minutes in ankle deep water, doing some strange kind of walk along the sharp stones, going the wrong way !!!!  Lesson to oneself - listen to the master!

Dozens and dozens of supporters made it a very memorable event. Here is support swimmer Mike Grout and bucket shaker, Tracy Bliss.   Lots of the support swimmers achieved first time bests for distance covered by swimming some of it with us so well done to them too.

Ben, Stuart and Derrick - Time to go.  Barely enough water to hold a stroke together but time was against us so we set off at the first opportunity.

Die hard Jane Bell who kayaked the whole 6 hours and spent the last two of it with her bottom half submerged in water due to having to keep removing her cover to reach for the drink bottles!  

Various instructions were left for the beach crew so they knew exactly how to look after the swimmers at the end of each leg.

Whilsts some opted for life support, Mr Jacques went for a good old banana

Perhaps Ben should have opted for the life support and Jelly Beans.  Here he is at the  very end looking a little worse for wear and having finally run out of water.  Chris Rate, support swimmer looks on to make sure he can walk!

Kirsty Fehily and Lorraine Rate - Glad its all over
Helen Wildin - Support Swimmer
And finally, here is Jane Bells summary of the days events.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Queens Jubilee Charity Swim Challenge - June 5 2012 - By Lorraine Rate

We doing Skins or suit today?

5 June 2012, in order to boost funds for our Chalkwell Redcap 2012 Charity Challenge, I organised a Queens Jubilee Charity Swim in the River Crouch at South Woodham Ferrers.

27 swimmers took to the water, all agreeing to donate £5 towards our chosen charities.

I think we are swimming that way !

Brrrrr ! defo suit for this one

Hurry Up Lorraine - We are freezing - Can't we just Swim

I see Mrs Tyrant is'nt swimming, but she makes damn sure we have to.

Im going half suit, half skin !

Weather looking gloomy, but it was actually OK
Distances of 1/2, 1 or 2 miles were set for the challengers and flags were set along the coastline to mark the various distances.

Swimmers were invited from The Chalkwell Redcaps Open Water Swimming Club, Blackwater Triathlon Club, Chelmsford
Swimming Club, and a few of my other long term swimming mates from days past.


Must pay attention to Mrs Tyrant's Rules !

The Charities are RNLI and Essex Search & Rescue.

The majority of the swimmers took to the water in a wetsuit with a few die-hards going without.
Boats all ready, and they're off

On the day, we collected nearly £400, and added to the on-line donations, the event raised approximately £500 for charity.

Bye Mrs Tyrant - Nice knowin ya

 I was relieved that the day  went without a hitch. 

And they came out smiling.

Well almost.  Un-be-known to everyone, I got there very early with the intention of lining the coast with Red, White and Blue balloons.  On opening my boot, they all flew out in the wind and all popped on the bramble bushes! - great start !. 

Lovely picture
Fighting back the tears, coz clearly my whole day was now ruined because of my lost balloons - on my own, I then had to chase a rolling black sack full of balloons up the road to try to prevent loosing the remaining few.  Hilarious! and so glad no one witnessed it!  Do I laugh or do I cry?

More smiles
Thank God Derrick arrived early to assist in putting up the flags as Chris had had a last minute calling to the golf club!!!!! say no more !!!!! so I had no 'set-up' assistance.

And even more, so glad you enjoyed it
I guess the flags went un-noticed on the day as the wind prevented me from hanging them across the poles that I had bought down, so we had to make do with twisting them round a fence post.   They were there honest!

Special thankyou has to go to all the volunteers that offered their time and valueable experience to making the event run smoothly. 
Yep, head still there !

Kayak and boat support from Chalkwell Redcaps Open Water Swimming Club, Blackwater Triathlon Club, SWF Yacht Club, and close friend and past Channel Swimmer 'Water Slave' Karen Eyles, along with husband Roger, provided additional kayak and first aid support.

All the trouble I went to getting a celebrity, and no-one even
noticed Noel Edmunds swimming

Volunteers collecting money, selling raffle tickets, checking swimmers in and out of the water, feeding them home made cakes, all gave their time free of charge.

Must get the crabs off me toes before I come out

The generosity of all those involved meant that every single penny raised was able to go direct to the charities.  So thankyou everyone.

A special thank you goes to Lee at The Whalebone Pub who catered superbly with 50 hungry mouths all decending in the pub at the same time for a social.

Lee donated additional money and a fabulous raffle prize of a 'meal for two' at The Scrimshaws restaurant (which I am delighted to say, was won by a Redcap, Julie Dempsey).  He fed all the hungry swimmers free of charge.

Look at all those lovely prizes.
I am absolutely delighted that all swimmers enjoyed the day and the swim. Without the full support of everyone involved, I could not have done this so a very special personal thankyou from me.

Special thanks to our No. 1 kayaker, Andy.
I was wondering how to thank Lee for his generosity and Derrick Griffiths came up with the idea of a group of us doing a training swim in the Crouch, you can all pop back to mine afterwards to use the hair-dryer and put your lippy on (men as well if nec.!) and then I could book a table in Scrimshaws restaurant and we could all go for a nice meal.  All interested, email me your names and I will organise a nice little dip for us soon.

Phew, all counted in and out safely.

And so to the raffle.  Only possible because
many people donated prizes.  I would suspect
at least another £50 was taken in raffle money.

Happy Days.

And Mrs Tyrant didn't even charge for the cakes or drink - thats a first!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

2012 - A New Challenge - by Lorraine Rate

Following the disappointing cancellation of SKS, not to deter the swimmers from attempting a challenging 6 hour swim this summer, the 6 swimmers have decided on a 'safer' but equally as exhausting challenge of swimming from The Crowstone in Chalkwell to Southend Pier and back again, 3 times over. 

This equates to approximately 15 kilometers and with only one tide to complete the 3 laps, it will be made even more difficult by the fact that they will be swimming against a fast incoming and fast outgoing tide for two of the lengths.

  • The first length, as the tide comes in, will be tough but the swimmers will be fresh and strong.
  • Length two should be relatively quick as the tide will still be incoming as the swimmers return to the Crowstone to complete lap 1.
  • Lap 2 hopefully should not cause too much of a problem, as long as the weather is kind.
  • Length 5 will be swum with an out-going tide, so although the swimmers will be extremely tired, provided they are on target, they will have the force of nature on their side.
  • Length 6 will be THE KILLER.  6 tired, exhausted swimmers will only be able to reach their goal and get back home, by swimming against a strong outgoing tide.
As soon as we have the exact date that all swimmers are available, I will advertise it.  I do hope lots of you will come down to the beach to support the challenge.  It would be nice to have some company too.  If you want to swim alongside one of the swimmers for a section of the challenge, I am sure they would be grateful for the company.

The swimmers will need as much support between laps as they can get so any volunteers willing to wade out and pass some jelly-beans, bananas or go-faster drink would be welcomed.

As the swimmers are doing this challenge to raise money for the RNLI and Essex Search & Rescue, any volunteers willing to walk the beaches with the charity buckets to grab a few donations, would also be gratefully received.  Please email Lorraine Rate on or catch her at one of the Crowstone Crawls if you are able to offer your support on the day.

Thank you.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

SKS 2012 - Cancelled. By Lorraine Rate

Sadly SKS has been postponed for the swimmers 2012 Charity Challenge.  Attached is the letter received from The PLA to the swimmers, which after careful consideration by all  involved, it was agreed that Olympic year was not the year to attempt this.

Not to despair, and so as not to let our charities down, all challengers will shortly decide on an alternative so be sure to keep an eye on the blog for the announcement.

A big thankyou to the huge list of volunteers which were all lined up to support this challenge.  Your enthusiasm to help the swimmers to succeed was and will remain, very much appreciated.

My Queens Jubilee Charity fund raising swim will STILL GO AHEAD, as we will continue to support our charities.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012


April 21 2012 saw our AGM and pre-season open water party under way.  After the formalities of the AGM, it was time to mingle amongst all the new faces that have signed up for another season of open water swimming and to get to know all the newbies.

I personally would like to say a huge thankyou for the many raffle tickets and cakes that were purchased on the night, enabling a mahoosive donation to go to the RNLI and Essex Search and Rescue.  Total money raised on the night was £337.57.

This of course, was only possible because of the fabulous prizes that were up for grabs.  Gifts donated by Gill and Dawn of Tri'n'Swim well, Havens Hospice, Stubbers and H20 magazine meant that ticket sales soared.  Thankyou to everyone else that also kindly donated bottles of plonk, chocolates and bottles of perfume as it is this kind generosity that helps us raise funds for our chosen charities.

So lets tell  you a little about our chosen charities.

Our first being the RNLI.
Completely non-government funded, the RNLI need £17,000 by August 2012 and £75,000 by the end of 2012 to help with the build of a new boathouse and slipway adjacent to Southend Pier and which will speed up their response time for swimmers in difficulty.  So right on our home ground, this charity holds a soft spot in all our hearts.

Next one up is Essex Search & Rescue.
Another non-government funded charity that relies totally on its donations to ensure that all the volunteers are equipped and trained professionally in the tough job they are frequently faced with.  If your child did not return home from school one day, you would want to know that the team out there searching for your loved one is equipped with the best resources for the task ahead.  So again, a very worthwhile charity.

So, a big thank you from me for enabling us to send both some money.

But, lets not forget what the evening was really about.  A chance to meet your fellow Redcaps with their clothes on for a change!  My goodness, didn't we look different.  Gone were the shivering, blue, goose bumped bodies that we are all used to seeing and hey presto, we don't arf scrub up well dont we?

Here's Ben, our Club Captain filling everyone in on the challenge that six of our members will be attempting this summer.  I hope he sobers up before the day tho.  So, over and out for now, and looking forward to the first Crowstone Crawl next Sunday.  Bring on the Sunshine.  See you all next week.

From Left to right, (in the shadows) Helen Wildin, our Social Secretary, Derrick Griffiths, Lorraine Rate, our Ladies Captain, Mike Grout, our challenge T'shirt designer and Ben Jacques, our Club Captain.

Friday, 13 April 2012


Last week saw the letter of approval finally go off to the PLA for our forthcoming charity challenge.  No news yet, but here is a copy of the letter that I am waiting a reply to.

                                    5 April 2012

Mrs L Rate
5 Raymonds Close
South Woodham Ferrers
CM3 5NZ.

07773 952323
Captain Roy Stanbrook
PLA Harbour Master
Port of London Authority
London River House
Royal Pier Road
DA12 2BG

Dear Mr Stanbrook

I am writing to you on the recommendation of Mr Den Freeman (Southend RNLI) to seek your advice and support with regards to our proposed forthcoming Charity Swim Challenge from Southend-on-Sea, Essex (approximate location 51.5347 N, 0.6938 E) to Allhallows, Kent (approximate location 51.479 N, 0.6437 E) and back again on 15th July 2012, (weather permitting or nearest possible date thereafter). The high tide on the 15th July 2012 is predicted to be at 0935 GMT with a height of 4.8m (at Southend) with a swimmable depth of water available approximately 3 hour before high tide to 3 hours after it. This tide was chosen as it is close to a neap tide therefore with less flow of water compared to a larger tide.

We understand that the PLA did give approval for this challenge in 2003 to Mr Peter Rae, a member of the Essex Yacht club. He was granted permission by Captain Gordon Dickens and had a successful crossing, both ways.

Following on from our 2011 Christmas Charity Challenge, The Echo newspaper spoke to Martin Garside, spokesman from the Port of London Authority, and I quote, said “Clearly, such an activity does raise potential issues, not least because it would involve the need to cross very busy shipping lanes. “As with any such activity, our primary interest is the safety of anyone taking part in an event and the safety of the many other users of the Thames Estuary.” “Given those safety issues, very careful and detailed discussion with the organisers would be needed to work out an appropriate way forward.”

This response was welcomed by us. As the safety of all our swimmers and the other users of the Thames Estuary is our utmost priority, I am hopeful that discussions can be forthcoming. Primarily, I request your formal approval as we will not undertake this challenge without it.

Whilst we already have on hand kayak support, motorised vessels, life jackets, radio control etc. in place, we clearly also need to undertake expert advice on safety requisites. The RNLI have advised we should have one motorised craft per two swimmer ratio in addition to the one on one kayak support.

We fully intend to keep the Southend RNLI, the Southend Foreshore Office and Chalkwell Lifeguards informed at all times with our proposed plans.

The reason for our challenge is to raise money for Southend RNLI to assist in the new boathouse project PF2069. The project is to replace the existing old boathouse and the temporary hovercraft hanger, located on the eastern side of the pier on the seawall, with a new modern facility. The new boathouse will house the D-Class inshore lifeboat, the Search and Rescue Hovercraft and a launching tractor, also giving better facilities for the volunteer crews that give up their time so freely to provide this search and rescue service.

We also have another charity, Essex Search and Rescue whom we aim to also raise a large sum of money as being totally non government funded, rely entirely on donations.

We currently have 14 swimmers who have been training extremely hard throughout the winter for this challenge. From those 14, we intend to choose a maximum of 6 swimmers. Hence our charity title, “6 Swimmers, 6 Hours, only 1 tide”. All our swimmers are experienced open water swimmers and have demonstrated that they are more than capable of swimming the minimum 15km distance required.

I would welcome the opportunity to discuss the above with you and trust you will get back to me at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely

L Rate
Ladies Captain
Chalkwell Redcaps Open Water Swimming Club

Monday, 19 March 2012

Whoo Hoo, I'm on Track for Eton - By Helen Wildin

Who would ever have thought of doing a mile in sets of 25m x 64 in under 25s off 40s ? Yup, Mrs Tyrant. I actually enjoyed it and I came in under time for all of them though I was gasping somewhat at the end of each length.

Mr ‘Splashy’ came in just as I’d finished “You look like you’ve had a hard session” That may be the red knackered looking face then.

I then attempted another speed set the next day. BIG mistake as my times were rubbish. So I had a couple of rest days ready for the big up and down and up and down and up and down at Basildon at 6am for 3 hours. After a 10min delay on my part looking for my goggles and hat ( and at some of the eye candy) off I went.  At 7am we were moved to the other pool (honestly does anyone have a brain at that Centre) and I thought I’ve only done 50mins. I had a pit stop at 7.30am when Mrs Tyrant cheerily said ‘oh look half way’. At my next pit stop (timed by waiting for Shaun to lap me twice, thanks Shaun) it was 8.18am…whoohoo and I counted the last 2k until 9am.

I managed 8.25k in 2hr 49min and as the last handful of jelly beans had kicked in, I felt I could have gone on a bit more.

So I’m on track for Eton 10k in 3hr 30min. I was also hugely relieved that I didn’t break Mrs Tyrant’s nose (so was she).  (Mrs Tyrant typing here - She kicked me in the face, knocked me googles off and I have the black eyes to prove it! - Chris asked me if I had been in a fight - "No darling - just mis-judged overtaking Helen, my fault entirely).

I also realise that constantly pushing myself is counter productive and that I need more time to recover between speed sets and to perhaps look at the core exercise sheet Mrs Tyrant gave us ages ago.   Oops!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

8.5 Miles - 13.7k - 412 lengths - By Stuart Athol

8.5 miles or 13.7k or 412 lengths. If you say it quick enough then it does n’t sound too far. However the actual doing it does take its toll. For me the worst period of any long pool swim is on the 2nd mile between the 3rd and 30th lengths of a 33.3m long pool. I could easily quit at any point in between even though I swim a mile each weekday before work.
Nothing to do with strength or technique; it is purely mental and the daunting fact that I’ve still got over 10 times that distance yet to go. When I did 7 mile back in November, for the first time in my life I took a 2.5min drink break after 4 miles even though I did n’t particularly want to. My body thought that it was finished swimming for the day and wanted to get out. This resulted in the last 3 miles being an absolute torture. I learnt from that experience and to do the 8.5 miler I realised that I must still take on fluid and protein (I mean you would n’t go without a drink when lying on the sofa watching TV for 5 hours). So I stopped for a 30 second break at the 3 and 6 mile points to quickly neck down as much 4:1 Carbo/Protein drink as possible. Nothing to eat as I found from my trainee navy diver days that does n’t work for me. I just get tummy cramps and/or throw up which would probably result in me being asked to vacate the pool and not return.
I finished the swim in 5 hours 6 mins. This was 17 mins over what I estimated but when comparing my poolmate pro stats with the 7 miler I was pleased to see that my swim speed and stroke rate were identical which signifies to me a steady speed which I can maintain.
Obviously the pool is not the sea but roll on the warmer weather so as to put my poolwork into lake and sea work.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

100 x 100's - Ouch, by Lorraine Rate

Training is going really well for me at the moment and I felt the urge to attempt H20's 100x100's for the second time.  All swimmers training for SKS are really working hard and the commitment is really coming through now.  The 100, 100's is session is a killer, as it makes you do the distance with a structure behind it, rather than just swimming along singing and taking in the scenery!

I break mine up into batches of 1k.  The first time I attempted them a month or so back at Garons, Southend, I paused for 30 seconds after each 1k to take on nutrition.  I focused on taking enough rest after each 100 too so that my actual time for the 100 was consistent.  I am trying not to allow myself to become a progressingly slower plodder.  Stay focused, keep looking at the clock, and keep swimming at the same pace.

However, for me, taking too much rest between each 100 leaves me bored and just wanting to get on with the next one.  Although I made the 10k relatively comfortably, I realised that I should be training hard during the 10k in order to get my stamina/endurance levels up.

So this time, it was intended to do it all at speed.  My programme was as follows:-

10 x 100 off 95
5 x 100 off 90
5 x 100 off 1.40
10 x 100 off 95
5 x 100 off 90
5 x 100 off 1.40
2k done.  Take 1 minutes rest for nutrition and repeat the above 5 x.

For me, going off 90 is a killer as it only ever allows me about 7 secs rest maximum.  But, after doing 5 or so, this 7 seconds rest drops to about 2secs rest.  This is why I was realistic and only put 5 of them in.  Do 5, then go into recovery mode for a while, then back into comfortable mode for a while until those 90's come round again.

It worked brilliantly until nature called at the 7k point?   Damn, I purposly did not drink too much before I left home and also visited the loo before I entered the water, but unfortunately, when you are taking on the fluids during the long swims, the inevitable happens.  When you've gotta go, you've gotta go.  All was going well till this point, but I stupidly did a quick leap onto the pool side and both calves cramped up in a terrible way.  I fell back into the water as I was looking rather ridiculous half in, half out with pain etched on my face.  I wasted about 3/4 minutes rolling about in agony then eventually hobbled to the loo.  Damn, damn, damn.  I knew it was going to be tough getting back on track.

The next 1k saw me swimming with flat feet, toes pointing to the bottom of the pool trying to send the cramp away, so needless to say, the 90's didn't happen.  It was now all down to mind games.  Don't let that little man in the back of your head that keeps saying "You've messed up, so go home" get the better of you.  I wanted to listen to him, but being a woman - I didnt !!!!   I had to settle for 1.40's for the rest of the 10k as not only had I lost my mo-jo, but I had also lost my pace-maker, Mr Ben Jacques - whom I am convinced that without him, I would not even have got to 7k.  It's so much easier drafting.

See you in 3 hours time !
Ben, also bailed out at 7k due to neck and shoulder problems.  It happens.  Doesn't matter how focused and determined you are, what happens on the day - happens on the day.

Overall, my pace was a lot faster than the first time I attempted it and there were factors that prevented me from completing my target schedule.  I will attempt it again in a months time.

My New Best Friend - Mrs Tyrant - By Helen Wildin

So here we are in February with 5 months of training to the Big SKS Day but only 3 and a bit months to the Eton 10k. Gulp. When I first started these training programs I thought I would die and was really chuffed when I did a 4.5k “Lorraine killer session” in 2.5 hrs. Little did I know that 2 months later I’d be up to 5.5k and then a 7k and still being pushed and pushed by Mrs Tyrant.

Inspired by a 100 x 100s article in an H2Open Magazine newsletter, a few of us ventured to Garons on January 20 and hurrah we did it !!!! An amazing achievement but I was a bit disappointed with my time as I didn’t really know how to pace it. So Mrs Tyrant, Lorraine has very kindly taken myself and Chatty Jane under her expert wing and drawn up personal training programs specifically to work on speed. It’s been good to see the progress I’m making and being able to tick things off as I go along. I have a much better idea and  understanding of training and of the importance of how to pace things. Plus I’ve had a few Fly and 2-beat lessons from the amazing Tri’N’Swim girls. So, in swim talk, I am now up to 17 x 100s at race pace 1.45 off 2.10 plus 3 x 100s with 5s rest.

Lorraine always makes the sessions interesting and is soothingly encouraging when we are training even though we are forever getting in her way as she laps us for the 100th time. However with the latest kick drill I might not be so enthusiastic….. Nah, bring it on and pass me the jelly beans!

"only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go" by T.S Elliot

Helen aka ‘Sparkles’

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Why swim in the sea - By Ben Jaques

One reason I am doing the Southend to Kent to Southend swim is that I love swimming in the sea. Hopefully the challenge will encourage others to give sea swimming a try, maybe not quite so far but at least get in and have a splash about and take advantage of the great resource that defines Southend’s south and east boundary.
People often seem a little wary of sea swimming preferring to restrict themselves to the local pool. There is nothing wrong with pool swimming (I do it most mornings) but if that is the only place you swim you are missing out on some fantastic experiences.
The sea can provide an entire range of different conditions and opportunities. On a calm day it maybe mill pond flat tempting you to float lazily and simply take in the sights, sounds and smells. Another day it may show you its angry side, foaming white water from the crashing waves, great fun to be thrown about by and makes you appreciate its power (you vs the sea - I wonder who will win). And there is everything in between. One thing I particularly enjoy is being in the water whilst it is raining (maybe not hailing as happened one day last summer, that hurt). It feels somewhat illicit, playing in the rain enjoying the pitter patter of the drops on your swim cap and the little splashes on the surface rather than trying to rush through it to find the dry.
The sea does not have lane ropes so you are free to swim where you feel like going and do as you please (keeping an eye out for other water users naturally). One day you may indulge in that lazy float whilst chatting with friends where as on another have a hard, long swim against the tide with the wave and wind fighting you too challenging yourself to go a little faster/further. The choice is yours.
You may have noticed that it is currently winter but that does not have to stop you going in the sea. The water will be cold (measured at below 2°C at a recent visit) but that brings its own joy (honest). Plunging yourself in the icy water is immensely invigorating as your body adjusts to cope. You will not be in long and you may never do it again but do give it a try at least once.

Some people think the sea off of Southend-on-Sea is dirty (north side of the Thames Estuary for those who do not know where Southend is). In the past this would have been true but in recent years the Thames has become far, far cleaner. From what was considered a “dead” river not so long ago, the Thames now supports fish populations that had been missing for over a century and oysters sit on the mud flats (happy to cut the bare feet of the unwary as they walk and play on the mud). And there be seals, but more on them in another post. The water will never be crystal clear as being an estuary there will always be sediment. On a personal level I have never been ill after I have swum in the sea here (and I swim in it a fair amount) which is, sadly, not something I can say about the sea in other parts of the UK.
The estuary is tidal (with the water buggering off about every 12 hours leaving the mud flats) which means that there are currents to be aware of. If you swim close to high tide (you can find the tide times on the BBC or in the local paper) the current is not too strong and generally takes you along the shore rather than out to sea. If you stay close to shore although you will quickly be out your depth you will easily be able to get back to shore. Always do swim within your ability.

Give sea swimming a try, you may find you rather enjoy it.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Good News - Are PLA warming to the idea of our challenge - By Lorraine Rate

Following the success of our Xmas Eve charity dip, the Echo are keen to learn more about The Chalkwell Redcaps Open Water Swimming Club.  Today was a huge lift for us as we have met with some opposition from the PLA as regards the safety of our swim.

We of course, are taking this on board and currently seeking the assistance of local yacht clubs and the RNLI before we attempt further negotions with The PLA.

However, today, the following article printed in the Echo has come as a huge welcome.  As you will see from the  PLA spokesman, they do now seem to realise that this team of swimmers are definately going ahead with this and hopefully, will welcome our forthcoming negotions.

Echo article - Safety fears could stop swim to Kent