Museum of Army Flying CEO swims the Solent

CEO Chris Munns shares his experience of swimming in rough sea and wind to raise money for the Museum

The swim was completed on the afternoon of Sunday 3 September. The date was booked a month in advance and so we were quite concerned to see that the forecast weather was worsening as the day approached. We loaded up the canoes onto the Rib at Hornet Sailing Club in Gosport which is in a sheltered part of Portsmouth Harbour. It was raining hard but as we left Portsmouth harbour, the full force of the wind became evident. It was blowing about 20 knots from the south (i.e. head on) and we seriously considered postponing the attempt. We made our way to Fort Gilkicker (the start point where we launched the canoes and swimmers – see attachment) arriving at 1.30 to find a number of Museum staff and other friends waiting to see us off.  There were 4 swimmers; with me were my friend Tim McClement, his son Angus and friend Adam Gold (an experienced triathlete). Accompanying us was a yacht  (who was in overall charge) equipped with AIS (for monitoring shipping movements), VHF radio and good navigation equipment. We were accompanied by a RIB with VHF radio (that was primarily there to rescue anyone who got into difficulty) and four AAC canoeists (Steve Robinson, David Amlot, Jon Lean and Ed Jessop), one for each of the swimmers. The canoeists did a great job in looking after us.

We set off at 1345, aiming to arrive at Ryde at low water. The distance is about 2 miles but we were swimming into quite a rough sea and against that wind.  It should have taken 2 hours but we eventually arrived at nearly 5pm – about 3h and 15 minutes altogether. The picture below, taken about half way across, illustrates the conditions, each canoe is close to a swimmer but only one swimmer is visible - the rest are underwater!


The Gosport lifeboat came out to watch us – we didn’t call them out. They were curious as to why anyone should attempt such a crossing in those conditions!


Please consider sponsoring this attempt as every penny raised will contribute to Project Eagle.

2018 update: The donations page is now closed. Thank you to all those who donated over £3,000 for Project Eagle.