Belfast Telegraph

US grandmother's Irish Sea swim cancelled due to weather

By Rebecca Black

A US grandmother who travelled almost 3,000 miles to swim the Irish Sea has been forced to go home disappointed - because of our bad weather.

Pat Gallant-Charette (64) swam the English Channel to France in 2011, and has swum the Peaks to Portland in her native Maine.

She was inspired by her son Tom who swam the Peaks in tribute to his marathon swimmer uncle Robbie who died at the age of just 34 following a heart attack.

Then aged 46, Pat gradually built up her endurance to complete her first marathon swim.

She has since completed a number of big swims including Maine's Big Sebago Lake (12 miles) and the Strait of Gibraltar swim (9 miles).

Pat then decided to complete the infamous Ocean's Seven challenge - which includes Northern Ireland to Scotland.

In 2013 the nurse attempted the North Channel, but after swimming for almost 17 hours the tide turned and prevented her from completing it - just a mile from shore.

Pat returned to Donaghadee this week determined to conquer the Irish Sea, but had to leave disappointed after none of the days were suitable for her to attempt the 21 nautical miles. "Very heartbreaking that Mother Nature won," she said. "But I'll be back next year with my crew."

Her pilot Quinton Nelson explained the swim can be attempted only during neap tides, which occur every 10 days and only during the summer months.

They had hoped to get Pat away on Monday but conditions were not good enough.

The Donaghadee man said the North Channel swim is reckoned to be the toughest of all the Ocean's Seven due to the unpredictability of conditions, the cold, the jellyfish as well as the currents.

Belfast Telegraph


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