The 2018 Maggie Fischer Memorial Cross Bay Swim
The 2018 Swim will be held on July 13. The start time will be 0700 or earlier. This is due to a very early tide that day. We expect that at the start there will be a strong incoming tide flowing from west to east, at right angles to the course. Tidal flow could be in the range of 2 knots or more.
This tidal flow will be a strong disadvantage to some swimmers. Safety is always our primary concern. The first mile, from the Fire Island Lighthouse to Sexton Island and through SteamBoat Channel, will require navigational skills beyond those needed in the past. Our experience is that a swimmer drawn substantially off course at the beginning of The Swim will be unable to complete the 5.6 miles course within the maximum time of four hours. Some swimmers may wish to consider the advisability of attempting this year's Swim under these condition.
Further explanation: We attempt to start The Swim at or near slack water after low tide, the time at which the tide is low and water has ceased flowing. Those two things do not occur at the same time! When we start with no water flow (slack water), swimmers can navigate the crucial first half mile across the boat channel and Farm Shoals by swimming a straight line. By the time the majority of swimmers reach SteamBoat Channel the tide has begun to flood, and from that time the tide is generally in the direction of the swimmer. Even under these fairly ideal conditions we have seen swimmers veer off course in the first quarter mile. This is why we always stress the importance of training in open water with wind and wave action, and with your kayak at your side to provide course correction. A miscalculation at the beginning of the race can be disastrous to the success of your event!
For the first time in many years the Cross Bay Swim will knowingly start with a substantial tide in progress. Even swimmers experienced with our course will need to train for the conditions of that day. Extra time will be needed in the first section of the course because you will not swim straight towards the first mark, an offset will be needed to correct for the tide. Swimmers new to our event will no doubt encounter difficulty unless they have trained adequately and are capable of overcoming a strong cross current.
We encourage everyone considering this coming year's event to assess their abilities. Ask your open water coach about this. If you are a first time swimmer for this event be sure to speak with an swimmer experienced with the Cross Bay Swim. We want you to have a safe and rewarding experience. Thanks.