Swimmers set to take on stretch of water from the wind farm to beach

A group of swimmers will be the first to swim from the Rampion Wind Farm to the West Pier next week.

Friday, 24th August 2018, 12:00 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd September 2018, 12:15 pm
The five set to swim from Rampion Wind Farm to Hove SUS-180820-160338001

They are taking on the 16k challenge to highlight plastic in the ocean, as well as fishing lines, nets and pots which are dumped into the sea, harming marine wildlife.

The swim takes place on Friday, August 31, starting at 10am. It’s set to take five to six hours, and the group will celebrate with a party at Hove Lawns at 4pm.

Swim coach Jo Maynard, brought together The Rampers team set to take on the challenge, which includes herself, alongside Tony Browne, Shani Goacher, Rudi Thackeray, and Flemmich Webb.

Jo said: “It began when I went out on the Rampion Wind Farm boat tour last year. As an open water swimmer when you see a lovely big stretch of water you think ‘can I swim that?’ It’s 16km. I said that’s doable. I got a team together of people I knew would be interested – Brighton sea swimmers who go for early morning swims. They were all up for it.”

She said the swim had been approved by Rampion Wind Farm and the coastguard.

“It’s a dangerous endurance sport, so I have to make everything safe.”

The swimmers will also have a boat alongside them throughout the challenge.

Jo said: “Paul Jackman, from The Defiance Boat, is our boat pilot who is donating his time, expertise and guidance. Without him, this wouldn’t be possible.”

Jo explained that The Rampers will swim together for at the start and the end of the race, with pairs then taking on the challenge in a relay on an hourly rotation.

Speaking about why she wanted to use the challenge to support a campaign, Jo said: “As we spend so much time enjoying the ocean and coastal waters we have decided to give something back.”

Jo picked World Animal Protection’s (WAP) ‘Ghost Gear’ campaign to support.

It raises awareness of lost or abandoned fishing equipment, including nets, lines and pots left in the ocean, and WAP said 640,000 tonnes of ghost gear is left in the ocean each year.

The majority of ghost gear is made from plastic and can take up to 600 years to break down, the charity said, and each year more than 100,000 whales, dolphins, seals and turtles are killed in ghost gear.

“I feel quite passionate about it,” Jo said.