DNOWS Header

Image Map

Sunday, May 18, 2014

How Great And Influential Was Commander Forsberg

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The open water swimming world knows the late Commander Charles Gerald Forsberg OBE, RN as a marathon swimmer, President of the Channel Swimming Association, author of 3 books and a columnist of 40 years promoting the Royal and Merchant Navy's swimming, lifesaving interests and long distance swimming.

But ultimately his influence and global reach was far greater than his swimming accomplishments and promotion.

Charlie Gravett from the Jersey Long Distance Swimming Club, a swimmer, escort pilot and licensed aircraft engineer, knows well of the Commander's talents.

He shares this historic perspective of the Commander. "In 1954 a revolutionary aircraft, the first jet airliner in history, the British De Havilland Comet, had suffered three or four unexplained disasters. Losses in India and Europe with considerable loss of life threatened the aircrafts future, allowing the Boeing version, the 707, to eclipse and move ahead in aviation market circles.

Commander Forsberg, a maritime salvage expert in Britain's Royal Navy, was tasked in retrieving a Comet from the floor of the Mediterranean off the Island of Elba. After nearly a years searching some 70 - 80% of the aircraft was bought to the surface. Wreckage was transferred to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough in Hampshire west of London England. Painstakingly, the fuselage was pieced together on a skeleton frame and together with a complete Comet immersed in a water tank.

The investigation began in an attempt to search for the cause of the previous disasters. Pressure checks on the complete structure in the tank highlighted a fault in the fuselage design borne out by the salvaged structure. The design of fuselages square sectioned window apertures was seen to be a weak spot from which defects caused cracks to emanate from the windows corners, thereby opening up and causing explosive depressurisation and the structure breaking apart in flight at altitude.

Subsequent aircraft were designed with 'rounded changes of section at these vital points. For his painstaking search and recovery, Gerry was made an Officer of The British Empire (OBE).

Whenever I travel by aircraft, I offer up a prayer of thanks to Gerry and the Royal Airforce scientists who from his extreme efforts made flying a far safer mode of transport today. Therefore, flying to a swimming event and benefitting by his 'tuition' has made our sport safer and more enjoyable.

The fledgling British Long Distance Swimming Association of the 1960's benefitted by Gerry making the maiden solo swim on all those great courses at sea and in lakes around Great Britain. We swimmers have much to be thankful to Gerry for not only our safety in the water, but also on every jet aircraft trip that we take.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

A Thank You Gift from WOWSA

WOWSA is celebrating the
1-Year Anniversary of the monthly Open Water Swimming Magazine
by giving you a free copy of the anniversary issue.

Open Water Swimming Magazine Anniversary Issue
File Size: 13MB


Download the file to your computer, and then right-click to extract the magazine which is inside the zip folder. The magazine is in PDF format.

CLICK HERE to download your free copy now.

Open Water Swimming Magazine

Open Water Swimming Magazine

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.

WOWSA Member Benefits include 12 issues of the Open Water Swimming Magazine, the annual 276-page Open Water Swimming Almanac, a free listing in Sponsor My Swim, outstanding product discounts from FINIS, an entry in Openwaterpedia and more...

The Other Shore

The Other Shore follows world record holder and legendary swimmer Diana Nyad as she comes out of a thirty-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage. Her past and present collide in her obsession with a feat that nobody has ever accomplished. At the edge of The Devil’s Triangle, tropical storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish, and one of the strongest ocean currents in the world, all prove to be life-threatening realities. Timothy Wheeler’s documentary brings Diana Nyad’s extraordinary adventure to life as Diana sets out to prove that will and determination are all you need to make the unimaginable possible.

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.

This, for example, was the purpose of the traditional farmers almanacs. It enabled farmers to determine as accurately as possible which crops to plant for the greatest harvests in a given year.

But the farmers almanac was just one example among many.
There are, of course, many different kinds of almanacs.

In fact, there is even one for open water swimming...

Preview the Open Water Swimming Almanac:

The trends are very clear.
The tide is rising for open water swimming.


Open Water Swimming Event Sanctioning

World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation

Open Water Race Calendar

Coaches Education Program