Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Route

We are getting much closer. The swim has been pegged for July 26th, just over two weeks away. We'll leave Grosse Pointe Yacht Club (the light blue star on the bottom left) at 7:00am and head for Harsen's Island ( the red star). We should arrive there before 7:30 and start our swim before 8:00am. The two small yellow stars are our first goals - the South Channel Lights, built in the 1800's and recently updated. Our intended path is the heavy dotted line. The other lighter dotted line is the shipping channel - we need to ensure we do not cross this. Freighters can cruise at close to 30 knots, and they can't slow down or stop in time even if they could see us. The lighter lines represent the water currents in the lake. The solid line is the international border.
Rickie is going with us for the first time. He is nine - he won't be swimming, but he has agreed to be the first mate - and help out during the trip. He will also take his Game boy; 8 hours is a long time to be in a boat traveling at about 2 knots.

If we end up with two boats, we could take as many as 15 swimmers, plus the support personnel we use. We'll take some food, but mostly energy drinks, bars and supplements. Nobody eats big meals on board, except our two lifeguards last year - who were eating everything in sight.
Most of us wear triathalon type suits, but several of us just wear swimming trunks. Water temp runs from 65 to 72, and though this is much cooler than a typical swimming pool (80 degrees) it actually isn't too bad.

One of our swimmers, Jenny Bernelin, is using this as a tuneup to her English Channel swim later in the summer. We refer to Jenny as "La Machine" for her persistence and swimming prowess - she is the standard we all try to emulate. I will highlight the other swimmers in the entries to come. Please check back soon.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Gearing up...

Well - we're gearing up once again. This has been a trying year - a lot has happened. Clearly the economic situation has gotten to huge number of people. But during the week of the 25th of July, we will again attempt to brave the 14 miles of water between Harsen's Island and the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club. Last year we had 13 swimmers, a wonderful boat (Thanks to Captain Mike Stevens) and a 3 man Skidoo that proved to be a life-saver. And we also had 10-15 knot winds on our nose the entire time. The resulting 1-3 foot waves were a nightmare - but we made it, finishing in 8 hours and 40 minutes. And, we learned how far it was for the first time, thanks to Jenny Bermelin ("La Machine") who carried a Garmin GPS . Jenny, by the way is hoping to join us again this year as a tuneup for her English Channel swim attempt later this summer.
We are praying for Northeast winds - or something close - I don't think we can make it through SW winds another year. If you are interested in helping out - or swimming - or donating - please check back here in the coming days/weeks to get an update.