Dear A Long Swim Supporters,
A Long Swim Team has decided to postpone the Nantucket to Martha’s Vineyard Open Water Marathon Swim to Wednesday, August 28 from Monday, August 26.
The team didn’t make this decision lightly. It was primarily based on the safety of the crew and the swimmer, which always must be kept as the top priority.
Following a review of the water conditions on Saturday, August 24 by our boat captains Eammon Solway and Spa Tharpe, the waters were deemed too rugged. The wind was coming from the northeast at 15 knots with noticeable whitecaps on many waves. Between Eamonn and Spa we feel fortunate to have more than 50 years of experience in the waters around Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. Both boats that will be used for this swim – one owned by Eammon Solway and the second graciously donated by our sponsor the Harbor View Hotel – are tricked out with the latest electronics and technology.
As with all marathon swims, you always have one eye on the weather. Weather is the biggest uncontrollable in this sport. As our marathon swimming mentor, Marcia Cleveland, once said, “Control everything you can – your training, your nutrition, your crew, your timing – and be comfortable you have done all that is in your power. Then, realize that for everything you can control, there are a hundred things you can’t.” It is a frustrating reality (to some, it is the appeal) of this sport, and one that has had an impact on many of the marathon swims we have done.
The weather conditions on Saturday afternoon were rugged. The wind was coming from the northeast at 15 knots, so there were noticeable whitecaps on many of the waves. The tide is always moving, and when the tide and the wind are not aligned with one another, the seas can be “confused.” These were the conditions we had during our English Channel swim, which made for very challenging conditions for several hours. The seas are lumpy and waves even at three or four feet are without rhythm or consistency. As we slowed the boat to swimmer speed, it was hard to control and some waves even washed over the bow. Crewing on the escort boat for a marathon swim is always an unpleasant job, and these conditions would have been extra difficult. As for the kayakers, it would have been everything they could do to maintain control and even stay upright.
For as difficult as it would have been to conduct the swim safely in the conditions we experienced on Saturday, the National Weather Service forecast for Sunday through Tuesday are for them to worsen. The same northeast wind is forecast to build to 25 knots and gust above 30. As Dana Carvey said in his dead-on impersonation of President George Bush, conducting the swim in those conditions “Just wouldn’t be prudent at this time.”
Wednesday the 28th looks completely different. The wind is forecast to dissipate a bit, to 10 – 12; more importantly, it is expected to shift a bit more to the east. In what seems like a slight change could have a dramatic impact on the conditions of the sea and the safety of all members of the A Long Swim team.
Everyone is also welcome to attend the A Long Swim After Party and Press Conference at the beautiful Harbor View Hotel on Wednesday, August 28, beginning at 5:00pm. We expect to land the swim between 5:00pm and 6:00pm at the Edgartown Lighthouse.
Keep the faith. When this swim happens, it is going to be a beauty. Mother Nature is always in charge.