The Plots And Plans Of Karen Rogers In The Farallones

The Plots And Plans Of Karen Rogers In The Farallones

Karen Rogers aiming to be the first person since 1967 to swim from the Farallones, a group of islands 43K (27 miles) west of the Golden Gate Bridge to California mainland, has prepared diligently and planned operationally with Chris Blakeslee for her upcoming swim whose window of opportunity is between July 2nd and 7th.

We asked her about her window and the timing of her epic swim where she plans to be the first to swim from the Farallons to Aquatic Park in San Francisco:

Daily News: Why do you have a window?
Karen: Two reasons, the possibility of wind and fog. We will be watching the conditions just like the pilots in the English Channel.

Daily News: What would make you delay your swim on July 2nd to any subsequent day?
Karen: Wind will be our greatest challenge. When the winds are calm in San Francisco or under the Golden Gate Bridge that doesn’t mean they are calm at the Farallones. Yesterday [for example], the winds were only 3 knots under the bridge, but they were 35 knots out at the Farallones. We will go for it when it is foggy as long as it isn’t soupy.

Daily News: From the time you consider all the different parameters to the time you begin your swim, how many hours do you expect? In other words, if you and your team decide to go 6 pm, when do you plan to jump in a boat and motor out to the islands?
Karen: Each day, my team will be on stand by. We will know the prior day if tomorrow will be the go day. Following Sharko‘s charted plan, we will be motoring out based on the jump time that is already pre-determined. So, if we were to go on July 2nd, then we will be meeting at the club on the evening of July 1st around 9 pm, motoring out around 10 pm, leaving time to situate ourselves at the island with a jump time of 2 am.

Daily News: Are there specific starting times that you are shooting for (e.g., 6 am or 6 pm)?
Karen: Yes. Everyday during my window, Sharko has already charted out the starting time based on the tides and the tides timing. If we go on July 2nd, my start time will be 2 am. Each day that passes in the window, I will start a little later in the morning.

Daily News: What data points do you look at to make your jump decision?
Karen: This buoy here is 18 nautical miles from San Francisco. It has wind and water temp information so I check this one regularly.

This station has the most recent Southeast Farallon water temperatures, but it doesn’t work as well because they have the temperature fluctuating a lot.

But this Farallones web cam is my favorite. I find myself staring at it many times each day.

The Farallon Islands were once described by English Channel swimmer Leonore Melnick as ‘the coldest, windiest, bleakest, nastiest spot in the American Pacific.’

There are many who agree wholeheartedly – a truly spectacular location for an open water swim of epic proportions.

From this isolated rocky point in the Pacific Ocean, Karen will follow in the footsteps of two pioneer swimmers from 1967: 41-year-old Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Evans and Ted Erikson.

In both attempts – and in many other unsuccessful attempts – both Stuart and Ted faced and overcame sharks, cold water, engine failures, adverse tides, confusion and hypothermia contributed to failure.

Like the six-person Night Train Swimmers relay this coming weekend, Karen plans is to finish in the heart of the San Francisco Bay swimming community at Aquatic Park, where throngs of like-minded folks and the media are expected to greet them at the footsteps of the famed Dolphin Club and South End Rowing Club.

Note: The Night Train Swimmers and Karen will be swimming through an extraordinary treacherous stretch of water. Note: images below may be too graphic for young children and some open water swimming enthusiasts. Click with care.

Copyright © 2010 by Open Water Source
Steven Munatones