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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Stage Swimming Across The Atlantic Ocean

60-year-old Jennifer Figge is getting ready to set sail on her fourth continuous stage swim across the Atlantic Ocean.

She will soon take off from Brava in the Cape Verde Islands off of Dakar. Brava is about 400 miles (640 km) off the coast of Senegal in western Africa. She will head to Antigua in the Caribbean Sea, although her final destination is weather dependent.

where she will start her adventure towards the Caribbean Sea. Figge will be escorted by Captain Tamas Hamor and First Mate Sara Hajdu, a pair of experienced cross-Atlantic sailors from Hungary.

In her previous three stage swims across the Atlantic, she has departed from Cape Verde and landed on shores of Trinidad. "We follow the North Equatorial Current between 10-15 degrees N. of the equator," explains Figge. "This is what I love about the sport. You cannot control an ocean; you simply embrace it for all that it holds. We take a six-hour plus block of time, each day and get the most we can out of it. The hours are really determined by the action of the day, and since my diagnosis of Atrial Fibrillation, the EKG."

Swimming across an ocean where anything can happen and a quick escape to land or safety is out of the question is arguably the most potentially risky type of open water swimming. Under those conditions, safety protocols and precautions take precedence at all times. "I swim every day that Captain Tamas allows. His decision is based on visibility, wind limits that we have established with experience, and any mechanical issues with the Catamaran.

Dangers and safety definitely comes first. As once you are out [from land] 150 miles, you are on your own. A helicopter only has fuel capacity for 300 miles, round trip. [Previously], we have gone 3 weeks without seeing another boat."

And they are reminded of very real dangers constantly. "When I dove into 30-foot seas in 2009, it took 21 minutes with 2 engines in full thrust reverse to get back to me. The possibility of being lost in heavy seas is real, but it is at the same time, such a thrill to be in those huge rollers coming off the African coast."

There are occasionally a loss of steering and transmission problems that prevent Figge from getting in the water. She also has had to be moved when she runs across longlines filled with bait in the middle of the Atlantic left by fishermen.

And sharks are always a very real possibility. "I am not migrating alone. It is their home, the oceanic white tip sharks. There was also an 8-meter baby humpback whale swimming directly behind me. When I saw its shadow, it looked like a small airplane. But there are more moments of joy than terror. I have swum along with 30 pilot whales for hours as well as countless dolphins and many leatherback turtles.

But the same jellyfish proliferation that is showing evidence along the coastlines is even greater in the middle of the oceans. "I spent four days swimming through a jellyfish and Portuguese man o war breeding ground. It was pure pain as they hung on my face. Fortunately, I didn't have any allergic reaction to them."

But when conditions are right and judged safe to swim, Figge usually dives in the Atlantic before 9:30 am, 2 hours after a huge plate of potatoes with olive oil and Parmesan cheese.

Folklore states that it takes 60 days for a message in a bottle to cross the Atlantic. "So with arms and legs, it should take less time," predicts Figge. "It would be interesting to compare travels with [crossings of] previous centuries, but we don't use any sails on our boat. We just drift naturally in the wind and currents. Our rule is no sails or engines forward."

Figge is supported by a crew of four Hungarians and a doctor from Spain. They take great care of her and can stay in connect with the outside world via two satellite phones that have 500 prepaid minutes each.

And the experiences she has gained are thoroughly interesting to hear. "I have been in a shipwreck where my boat was sunk off the shores of Tobago following the first Atlantic crossing in 2009. The Coast Guard came and asked, 'Are there any children on board? Are there any women?' The Captain answered, 'Yes, there is a woman, but she can swim.'"

There is an inner fire in her belly that becomes evident when she discusses her stage swims across the ocean. "Seriously, for me, the middle of the Atlantic Ocean IS my destination as it is the most romantic place on earth."

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source

2 comments:

  1. Great! your article info is good for us regarding the stage system in the every fields.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It was great to meet Jennifer here on Sal Island, Cape Verde...hope she can pop in and see us again this time. Previous Blogs about her Sal visit: http://expatscapeverde.com/_blog/Atlantic_Swim_-_by_Jennifer_Figge

    ReplyDelete

Thank you very much for your interest in the world of open water swimming.

The Staff of the World Open Water Swimming Association

2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference

Learn more...
Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE

The Global Open Water Swimming Conference is a conference on the sport of open water swimming, marathon swimming and swimming during triathlons and multi-sport endurance events.

The conference which has been attended by enthusiasts and luminaries from 6 continents, is devoted to providing information about the latest trends, race tactics, training techniques, equipment, psychological preparation, race organization and safety practices used in the sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons.

The conference's mission is to provide opportunities to listen and meet many of the world's most foremost experts in open water swimming, and to meet and discuss the sport among swimmers, coaches, administrators, event organizers, sponsors, vendors, officials, escort pilots, and volunteers from kayakers to safety personnel.

Dozens of presentations at the 2014 Conference at the Mount Stuart House cover numerous aspects of the vast and growing world of open water swimming where attendees can learn and share the latest trends, race tactics, training modalities, swimming techniques, equipment, race organization, logistics, operations, and safety practices for open water swimming as a solo swimmer, competitive athlete, fitness swimmer, masters swimmer, triathlete, multi-sport athlete, administrator, race promoter, sponsor or referee.

The conference was first held in Long Beach, California as part of the 2010 USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Championships. It has since been held on the Queen Mary in California, at Columbia University and the United Nations in New York City, and in Cork, Ireland. This year in September, it comes to another iconic location, the Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute in Scotland.

"The Global Open Water Swimming Conference was started due to the desire and need for athletes, coaches, referees, administrators, race directors, promoters and sponsors from around the world to share, collect and learn information about the growing sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons," said founder Steven Munatones. "Other swimming conferences usually offering nothing on open water swimming or perhaps a speech or two, but we thought open water swimming deserves its own global conference. It is great that the community shares its information via the online social network, but there is nothing like meeting other open water swimming enthusiasts face-to-face and talking about the sport from morning to night."

Speakers at the conference include English Channel swimmers, ice swimmers, record holders, renowned coaches, world champions, professional marathon swimmers, renowned race directors, officials and administrators from the Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

"Because the audience is passionate and educated about the sport and its finest practitioners, the Global Open Water Swimming Conference is also the location of the induction ceremonies for the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and the annual WOWSA Awards that recognize the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year, and the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year. Special Lifetime Achievement Awards are also occasionally presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the sport over their career."

The 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference Programme

Wednesday, September 17th
Leave Glasgow to commence 2-day tour of Scotland [closest international airport is Glasgow]

Thursday, September 18th
Stay Mainland, North of Scotland

Friday, September 19th
14:00 - Swim Loch Lomond
17:00 - Head to Isle of Bute
19:30 - Scottish Banquet
21:30 - Dinner Dance

Saturday, September 20th
09:00 - Registration & Coffee
10:00 - Speeches
12:20 - Lunch and WOWSA Awards
13:40 – Speeches
15:40 - Round Table
19:00 - International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Dinner & Induction Ceremony

Sunday, September 21st
09:00 - Registration & Coffee
10:00 - Speeches
14:30 - Swim in St Ninian's Bay on the Isle of Bute

The luminaries of the open water swimming world who will be honored in Scotland will include:

* Sandra Bucha (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* Jon Erikson (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Claudio Plit (Argentina), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Judith van Berkel-de Njis (Netherlands), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* David Yudovin (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Mercedes Gleitze (Great Britain), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* George Young (Canada), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Dale Petranech (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Contributor
* Melissa Cunningham (Australia), 2013 Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award winner
* Vojislav Mijić (Serbia), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* James Anderson (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator
* Dr. Jane Katz (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator
* Indonesian Swimming Federation, , International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Organisation
* Elizabeth Fry (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* Pádraig Mallon (Ireland), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year
* Olga Kozydub (Russia), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year
* Bering Strait Swim (international team), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year
* International Ice Swimming Association (Ram Barkai, founder, South Africa), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year

For additional articles on the 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference, visit:

* Olga Kozydub To Be Honored In Scotland
* Pádraig Mallon To Be Honored In Mount Stuart Castle
* Mount Stuart House, Splendid Setting For Swimming
* Colleen Blair To Kick-off Global Open Water Swimming Conference
* The Man Who Swims Better Than He Walks
* Joining In The Sea Goddess At The Hall Of Fame
* Mercedes Gleitze To Be Honored In Scotland
* The Incredible Career Of Merceded Gleitze
* Jon Erikson To Be Honoured In Florida
* The Incredible Career Of Mercedes Gleitze
* St Ninian's Bay To Host International Swim Conference

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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The Open Water Swimming Magazine is the monthly magazine entirely focused on open water swimming heroes and heroines of every age, ability, and background. Published by the World Open Water Swimming Association, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a free benefit to WOWSA members.

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2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac



An Almanac for Open Water Swimming

An almanac is essentially a body of knowledge which is so complete that it enables people in different fields to make predictions about the future of their respective industries.

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