Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Will we be wearing wetsuits? No.
2. What will the water temperature be? 58-64 degrees
3. How many people have ever swum the English Channel?
As of July 3, 2006, here are the statistics:
- There have been 1171 crossings
- 545 men have successfully crossed
- 263 women have successfully crossed
- There have been 916 crossings from England to France
- There have been 255 crossings from France to England
- To date there have been 220 swims UNDER 10 hours 29 mins
- The success rate is 35-40% for solo swims
- The fastest swimmer was Christof Wandratsch from Germany who swam on the 1st August 2005 in 7 hours 3 mins 52 seconds.
- The King of the Channel Title is held jointly at 33 successful crossings by Kevin Murphy & Mike Read
- The Queen of the Channel and greatest number of successful crossings is Alison Streeter MBE at 43 crossings. Alison is also the only woman to have swum the Channel 3-ways.
- The oldest person and male to successfully swim is George Burnstad at 70 years & 4 days of age.
- The oldest woman is Carol Sing at 57 years & 361 days
Statistics for 2006 Season:
62 solo swims
45 successful --- 17 unsuccessful
4. Tell me more about neap tides
Tides not currents in the Channel.
Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the sun and the moon as the earth rotates. The tides vary in height and strength depending on the position of the moon relative to the sun.
When the sun and the moon are on the same axis you get neap tides. Maximum effect with a new moon (and high Spring tides) - This is when the moon is in line with the sun and they are both on the same side of the earth. An event that moves in 28 (and a bit) day cycles.
Low Spring tides are when you have a full moon and the moon is on the opposite side of the earth to the sun.
Neap tides are when the moon is at 90° to the axis of the earth and the sun (every 14 days).
Hence the lunar cycle is:
New Moon -- High Springs
7 days later -- Neap tides
another 7 days to Full moon -- Low Springs
7 days to -- Neap tides
28 day cycle is back to New Moon.
The cycles are regular therefore the time of High and Low water is the same for the lunar month -- for example the High tides at Dover on the Spring tide is about 0100 hours and 1300 hours
High tides at Dover on the Neap Tide is about 0700 hours and 1900 hours
The higher the tide the larger the amount of water that is moved by the gravitational pull. Thus the stronger the tidal flow as a greater amount of water has to be moved from one place to another during the same time period (6 hours - give or take a bit between high and low water)
As the days progress the time of High water gets later - hence we have a different start time for our swims depending on the position of the moon and the tidal height.