In channel swimming, there are tides on which swimmers will go for a swim and Stuart will fit up to 4 swimmers on a tide lasting 5-8 days.
Types of tide
The National Ocean Service defines a neap tide as…
where high tides are a little lower and low tides are a little higher than average. Neap tides occur during the first and third quarter moon, when the moon appears “half full.”https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/springtide.html
A spring tide has nothing to do with season and derives from the term “springing forth”. And occur twice each lunar irregardless of season.
A spring tide is where there is the biggest difference between low and high tide, therefore a larger amount of water flows through the channel and the tidal pull is much bigger than a neap tide.
Booking a tide
Stuart will normally book solo swims onto a neap and only very strong & fast swimmers or relays onto a spring tide. Each tide has a priority of swimmers, starting from No. 1 (those who have booked the tide first) down to No. 4 (those who have booked the tide last).
There pro’s and con’s to booking spring or neaps and No. 1 or No. 4 swim slots, which are best discussed with Stuart and the team.
Channel swimming weather is fickle. It can be fine for days at a time, un-swim-able for days at a time and a forecast can change in the blink of an eye. This is what makes the swim so difficult to plan for.
Stuart will use a range of forecasts to get the right day for you. These range from shipping forecasts produced by the met office or predictions by XCWeather or the BBC. It is vital that you as the swimmer doesn’t try to second guess these and that you trust the years of experience Stuart and his team has. Stuart will not hide forecasts from you and will give you a clear picture of what your swim could be like on a particular day and whether it is swim-able or not. You cannot pick your day in channel swimming.
Arriving in Dover
As soon as your in Dover and available, just give Stuart a shout once you arrive and we know we can call you up straight away for your swim then. It’s also important to let the CSA know you are in Dover too, since there is a liaison officer who is based down in Dover and is another point of contact before your big swim.
Keith is the swim liaison officer for the CSA and works on pathfinder as an observer and occasionally on Sea Leopard. He can be found at weekends on the beach in Dover or around the marina when swims are going.
It’s recommended that you book your accommodation early, so you can get the best price!