Sea Swimming Pilot
In January 2016 the construction of the Rampion offshore windfarm started, which took three years to construct. The windfarm is situated about 7 miles off Brighton. Brighton also has a strong tradition of sea swimming. So it was inevitable that an endurance swim point-to-point swim from the windfarm to Brighton was to be attempted.
After lots of planning and with the cooperation of Rampion Offshore a swim was planned from the Rampion North 3 construction buoy to Brighton West Pier. The swim took place on August 31st 2018 with a team of 5 swimmers Tony Browne, Shani Goacher, Jo Maynard, Rudi Thackeray and Flemmich Webb completed a relay swim precisely back to West Pier in just under 4.5hours, a distance of 13.5km. With Defiance as the pilot boat.
Later in the year a team from Swim-Trek led by Simon Murie attempted a swim with a larger group with two pilot boats. Simon and the team with Defiance as pilot succesfully made it back to West Pier completing not just the first solo swim, but also the first attempt in skin. Unfortunately the other boat failed to deliver their team to shore and their attempt was abandoned.
The Official Rampion Windfarm Swim
Construction of the windfarm was complete in January 2019. The restrictions of the construction work and the removal of the construction mark means the swims of 2018 cannot be replicated.
The official point-to-point swim from the windfarm is now:
A line 100m either side of the Rampion North Marker at 50’49.049N 0’09.152W with the same latitude.
The beach to the East of the Brighton West Pier and no further East than Brighton Palace Pier.
This swim is over 16km in tidal UK waters. The sea conditions can be challenging with sea temperatures between 8C and 20C. Currents can run up to 1.6Kts (2.9kmh). Dangers from shipping into Shoreham Harbour and coastal traffic. Nearer to Brighton other sea users are an additional hazard. This new route was first completed on July 12th 2019 by a relay team in just over 6 hours. Once again Defiance was the pilot boat.
The Rampion windfarm swim is not just a very challenging point-to-point swim in its own right. It is probably the best warm up for those wanting to swim the channel. This swim is equivalent to 40% of the distance of the channel swim, in water conditions that exactly match that of the channel at Dover just 65miles to the East. This is why a competent pilot is essential.