"We really set out to do a first here, unsure whether we would be capable of bettering the tides and rips in this stretch of water," said Paul Irwin.
"Our support crew were dubious we could do it even in flat conditions. Happy to say we not only finished safely, and in a time we didn't expect ... the training paid off."
Four swimmers - Paul (42 from Braunton, Devon), Dr. Bruce Hughes (39 from Fremington, Devon), Simon Mathers (36 from Bideord, Devon), Jon Parker (40 from Clevedon, Somerset) and reserve swimmer and tactician, John Jameson (28 from Exeter, Devon), sailed into Force 4-5 winds and a 2-meter swell in start their 21-mile Bristol Channel relay from Lundy Island to the North Devon Coast in southwest England in a charity relay for the Children's Hospice South West.
Two boats, Better Days and Frolica, escorted the team through rolling seas and gusty winds as they completed the swim in 7 hours and 3 minutes in 16˚C (62˚F) water. Friends, families and tourists met the team to resounding applause as they have raised £7,000 of their target of £10,000 - see video below.
Donations can be made here.
Note: The Bristol Channel was previously swum in the reverse direction along a shorter route in 1952 by Abdel Hassan Rehim, a captain of the Egyptian army who once won a race across the English Channel.
Copyright © 2009 by World Open Water Swimming Association