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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

2 comments:

  1. Thanks so much to Charlie for these details of Gerry's other life on the water.
    Gerry was certainly one of the pioneers of our sport and I treasure the times when I chatted with him and also the fun of competing against him when I was so young. And now I find that my aerospace background (1959-1967) had links to his contributions !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Steve for sharing that moment of history with us. Lost in translation, or my haste to send Gerry's tale I see a couple of glaring mistakes which I'm sure Jim Boucher will pounce upon. Firstly, as modest as I am, not, I certainly am no salvage expert, just a regular spanner wielding engineer Secondly as all our Military followers will know the Comet was not the worlds first jet engine aircraft, although the Germans built their Komet, towards the end of WWII a single seat fighter. The Comet of which I speak was the worlds first jet airliner. Thank you for allowing me to halt a travesty of aviation history.
      'Charlie' Gravett

      Delete

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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