In January 2016 the construction of the Rampion offshore windfarm started. It took three years to construct and became fully operational at the beginning of 2019. The Rampion windfarm is the first on the South Coast and is situated about 7 miles off Brighton.
Brighton has a strong tradition of sea swimming. So it was inevitable that the idea of a Rampion-Brighton swim would be thought of. The swim is an endurance point-to-point swim from the Rampion windfarm to Brighton. This stretch of water is very exposed and has some strong currents to contend with. There is also marine traffic from Shoreham and Brighton to contend with. A competent pilot like Defiance is essential.
The first actual swim came about when a Jo Maynard, a swimming coach, approached us to see if it were possible. In 2018 the Rampion windfarm was well under construction. Defiance had been running trips through the windfarm for 2 years by this time. The Rampion marine coordination centre, knew the boat operated safely within the windfarm. We had good communications and made our intentions clear to them, whenever we were near the area.
The First Rampion-Brighton Swim
In cooperation with Rampion Offshore and a great deal of planning, a swim was planned from the Rampion North 3 construction buoy to Brighton West Pier. This first ever swim took place on August 31st 2018 with a team of 5 swimmers – Tony Browne, Shani Goacher, Jo Maynard, Rudi Thackeray and Flemmich Webb. The swimmers completed the relay swim precisely back to West Pier in just under 4.5hours, a distance of 13.5km, with Defiance as the pilot boat.
Rampion had not experienced anything like this before. So for extra safety they deployed Rix Tiger, one of their CTV’s to assist us if needed. As a much larger vessel was used to help spot other boat traffic that may have endangered the swimmers.