Yesterday, en route to a week of training and expedition preparation in Cornwall, I stopped by at Haydn Welch’s place to chat to a man with a history and a future in the world of long distance swimming, and pick up a raft he has kindly loaned to me for this summer’s Swim1000 Missouri River Expedition.
Nicola, named after Haydn’s wife, is exactly what I had in mind when sketching up plans for a swim raft, but Haydn was designing her before adventure was even a twinkle in my eye and his generosity provides yet another piece in the puzzle.
Made from carbon fibre by Global Boat Works (who are famous for their fine ocean rowing boats), Nicola has four watertight compartments where I can store my gear and when on land can be worn like a rucksack. A big one!
My motive for this Summer’s journey is to spend 50 days in the water and without a record to break or strict guidelines to adhere to I can move down the Missouri however I please, either towing Nicola (via elastic bungee from a fixing point to her bow) or pushing her from behind, with hands and even my chest up on the raft.
Either way, this Summer promises to be an epic adventure. We’re aiming to raise £100,000 for CoppaFeel!’s work towards breast cancer awareness, that’s £100 for every mile I swim, and my team paddle.
With the only raft of its kind on our side, the journey has just been giving a great boost. Many thanks Haydn, we don’t even mind that you’re still wearing your pyjamas!