9 Accomplish The Canal Faial-Pico Crossing

9 Accomplish The Canal Faial-Pico Crossing

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

David Yudovin will be inducted in the International Swimming Hall of Fame on the Isle of Bute in Scotland at the 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference next month.

The reason why Yudovin was voted to be inducted was because he has accomplished so many pioneering swims around the world during his 4-decade career. From the Pacific to the Atlantic, Yudovin has always sought out new channels and new courses between islands and all kinds of picturesque locations off the normal beaten path of open water swimmers.

After completion of his unprecedented swims, he returns to his home in California and then enjoys hearing about other people attempting and completing those same swims. “This is a long term very rewarding feeling to me – the true reward,” he recalls. “I just heard about 14 swimmers who attempted a swim in the Azores in the Faial-Pico Channel (Canal Faial-Pico).”

Canal Faial-Pico is an 8.3 km (5.2-mile) channel that separates the islands of Faial and Pico in the archipelago of the Azores, 9 volcanic islands in the North Atlantic Ocean about 1,360 km (850 miles) west of continental Portugal.

14 swimmers attempted the crossing and 9 eventually completed the crossing escorted by the volunteers of Clube Naval da Horta. The crossing had been done twice before: by the 58-year-old Yudovin in 2008 in 2 hours 20 minutes and by Manuel Azevedo Lima, a local athlete in 1929 in 3 hours 20 minutes.

The group of 14 swimmers ranged from 22 to 59 years and were led by Miguel Arrobas and Miguel Furtado who both took 2 hours 11 minutes across the Canal. Their start was on Bico de Simão in Pico. The pod finished in various times and included local Victor André, Leticia Toste, the first woman to accomplish the feat, 59-year-old Duarte Simões, and Victor Medina who founded the Azores Swimming Group (Grupo Nadar Açores).

Arrobas recalls, “Me and Miguel Furtado arrived in a time of 2 hours and 11 minutes. The trip went great, although it was difficult because the sea was rough. We faced a lot of waves and wind, with the particularity of the current always come from the right side, the side that we breathed. We swallowed a good bit of water which left us with a bit scratchy throat, but we reached Faial which was the main objective. David Yudovin crossed the channel in 2 hours and 20 minutes, but in the opposite direction. This time is the record for crossing Faial-Pico. In the opposite direction, which is what we did, there are apparently great records, but it was the best time ever on this crossing. So I am naturally pleased. I want to thank the support of the Clube Naval da Horta with boats for safety at sea and all who are available for this.”

Furtado said, “The swim was not hard. The sea was not great, but it could have been much worse. I felt prepared to finish, but worse in March would never have gotten this time. One objective, though it was not the main purpose was the record time, which was 2 hours and 20 minutes. I am very satisfied and want to make other crossings. This was my first crossing. I have swum since I was a kid and did other sports that involve swimming in the sea, including triathlon. That’s what I like and what I will continue to do. Swimming in the sea and in the swimming pool is completely different. The sense of direction is completely different at sea and 8 km to find a point of reference, it is even more complicated. The boats were fundamentally essential to support us. Now I want to improve swim, train, and is to repeat the swim, no doubt.”

Toste smiled after finishing. “I dedicate this record to my children, Frederick and Adriana Stinger. I feel a great satisfaction and I am happy.”

Travessia Pico Faial finishers on August 2nd 2014:

1. Miguel Arrobas from Lisbon, Portugal (39 years old) – 2:11:31.38 (bioprene)
2. Miguel Furtado from São Miguel (22) – 2:11:34.03 (neoprene)
3. Rodrigo Ferreira from Terceira (23) – 2:41:24.33 (neoprene)
4. Luís Francisco from San Miguel (42) – 2:43:26.78 (neoprene)
5. Nuno Braga from Terceira (42) – 3:34:07.96 (bioprene)
6. Duarte Simões from Terceira (59) – 3:35:00.00 (bioprene)
7. Vítor André from Faial (50) – 3:37:00.00 (neoprene)
8. Letícia Toste from Terceira (46) – 3:43:00.00 (bioprene)
9. Vítor Medina from Terceira (49) – 3:51:00.00 (neoprene)

Photo by Rolando Marques.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones