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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Big Day Out On The Ocean (Pacific Division)

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Today is a big day on the world's oceans.

In the Pacific Ocean, Craig Lenning together with an all-star support crew including Vito Bialla, Patrick Horn, and David Holscher of the Night Train Swimmers and Jamie Patrick and Evan Morrison started at the Farallon Islands, and if everything goes to schedule, will swim under the Golden Gate Bridge 27 nautical miles away well before 10 pm tonight (California time).

In the Atlantic Ocean, Theodore Yach and Martin Goodman left the beach at Llandudno bound for Robben Island at 7 am local time. The duo are raising money for charity while attempting to complete an unprecedented 27 km swim in the icy Atlantic Ocean.

Holscher said of today's conditions out in the Pacific west of the Golden Gate Bridge, "Things are looking good. It is never perfect [out here], but this should be as close as it gets. The forecasts predict a northwest wind 8 to 12 knots, sunny with a mixed swell west northwest 6 feet at 15 seconds and south southwest 1 feet at 15 seconds. Wind waves around 1 feet. As night approaches, the northwest winds increase around 13 knots, clear with mixed swells."

Bialla has arranged for NBC's television crews to cover Lenning's anticipated crossing under the Golden Gate Bridge estimated to be sometime this evening. Before the crew took off, Bialla made the following prediction, "Jump at 6 am, after 12 hours of swimming Craig will have an additional 4 hours of flood as a buffer. 13 hours seems to be the magic number. I think that schedule works."

And if you want to witness a historical success, follow Lenning's progress here on the Night Train Swimmer's website

Lenning is one of the world's most unheralded but toughest endurance athletes, but the Farallon Islands may be one of his most difficult tasks yet.

The personable Colorado resident is entirely capable of dealing with cold water temperatures, but not since 1967 has a solo crossing from the Farallon Islands to the Golden Gate Bridge at the mouth of San Francisco Bay been accomplished. There have been several attempts, some tantalizingly close, but no successes over the past 47 years.

The Farallon Islands to the California mainland is mano-a-mano at its best. It is Mother Nature versus man. There is arguably no endurance event more difficult on Planet Earth: unclothed against some of the most savage elements mankind is willing to endure. But Lenning is ready to step up to the plate with Vito Bialla at the helm and an experienced crew of the Farallon Islands Swimming Association at the ready.

Lenning has successfully tackled the North Channel between Scotland and Ireland, the Tsugaru Channel in Japan, the English Channel, the Catalina Channel in California, the Cook Strait in New Zealand, the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, the Tampa Bay Marathon Swim in Florida, done a double-crossing of Lake Tahoe, done an Ice Mile, and participated in the unprecedented 6-day Bering Strait Swim, the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year. If there is any human on Planet Earth ready and capable to take on and successfully complete a Farallon Islands crossing, it is most certainly Lenning.

Cold water is not a singular problem. He can handle the rough water and endure adverse currents. Marine life is present and understood. His crew is the most experienced possible. But the combination of cold water (possibly sub-10ºC in spots), the notorious Potato Patch, the Great White Sharks, vicious tidal flows, blinding fog, and a wind-whipped Pacific Ocean can beat even the most prepared.

47 years in the making. 47 years waiting in the wings. 47 years for history to be replicated. Stay tuned.

Follow Lenning's progress here.

The Farallon Islands, or Farallones from the Spanish farallón meaning "pillar" or "sea cliff", are a group of desolate islands in the Gulf of the Farallones off the coast of San Francisco, California. They are only occasionally visible from the mainland on clear days. Solo swims and relays to and from the Farallon Islands are governed by the Farallon Islands Swimming Association.

The result of Theodore Yach and Martin Goodman's swim is here. An update from Lenning's swim nearing the halfway point is here.

Additional articles on Craig Lenning and his Farallon Islands swim are posted below:

* Craig Lenning Has The Right Stuff After 47 Years
* Gotta Good Feeling About The Farallons
* 4.4 nm To Go For Craig Lenning
* So Far, So Good For Craig Lenning
* Craig Lenning's 15 Hours 46 Minutes Ends 47-Year Hiatus
* When Technology Meets Channel Swimming
* Evans, Erikson And Lenning - Three With The Right Stuff

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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