RE: swim faster than paddle

From: Jon Morse (
Date: Sat May 09 1998 - 20:41:40 PDT

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From: "Jon Morse" <>
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Subject: RE: swim faster than paddle 
Date: Sat, 9 May 1998 20:41:40 -0700
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What about my honorary paddle in from 8 miles out a few years ago at

Can't we put that up against the swimmer, after all, he hadn't been sailing
for a couple of hours overpowered on a 5.2 in 4.0 wind!!

As a reply to the paddle thread and all of the safety threads(and as my
friend jmilum knows) I went out the gate in heavy fog during a 5 knot ebb a
few years ago and went 8 miles out to sea (coast guard estimate). I waited
until the tide changed and I was far enough out to gauge my paddle direction
based on the fog horns. I took me about 4 miles to reach Pt. Bonita -land's
end on the north side of the bay and probably about 3 miles from bridge so I
figure I did about a 4 mile paddle in what I thought was slack to flood
tide. The coast guard later informed me that I was paddling against the ebb
(slack tide is an hour or two later between the bay and the farallones) for
a while.

I was once a competitive swimmer and I have done 5 mile swims in lakes in
under an hour. If you do the math on the above, I averaged +/- 1 knot/hr
paddling and have personally swam +/- 5 mile/hr avg. So I have to disagree
with the thinking that paddling a surf or sailboard is faster than swimming,
although I think that the dyanmic of a surfer on theface of the wave is a
little different.

FYI, I was alone, had no safefy gear and ditched my rig.

The safety lesson I learned for those of you interested- I was in zero
visibility fog (a rare condition at 3rd but not necessarily at chrissy) and
would have best benefited from aerial flares a compass or a whistle. the
whiste and flares would have probably gotten me rescued by one of the 2
boats that almost ran me over or by the coast guard boats that couldn't
locate me in the dark. The compass would have allowed me to paddle for the
north side of the outer bay by heading as I could not see the sun/shore. Of
course a marine radio would have been the best bet.

After the ordeal I started a small business to supply a safety kit to local
sailors with all of the above items plus a glowstick that fit via webbing
onto most harness' so as not to be noticed while sailing. Those of you who
sail at chrissy have probably seen them. I have abandoned the business due
to the small market and for liability reasons, time v. profit, etc.

The bottom line as far as I'm concerned- Sail with a friend, know the
conditions and area, and always, sail only in areas/conditions in which you
are able to self rescue.

I took little consolation in knowing the coast guard had several boats
searching for me when I was sitting on my board going to to sea in a 5 knot
ebb with zero visibility fog in the dark.

Jon Morse

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []On
> Sent: Thursday, May 07, 1998 4:40 PM
> To: Multiple recipients of list
> Subject: Re: swim faster than paddle
> Are we talking about with a rig or without a rig? If you haven't ditched
> your
> rig then it's hard to consider it a life or death situation.
> Paddling a shortboard (without a rig) is much faster than
> swimming. An 8'6"
> shortboard with 85liters is as big as many big wave guns (surfing), and
> those
> are the boards guys paddle at Waimea bay to drop into 40 foot faces (i.e.
> they
> are built for speed). Paddling even the shortest surfboards are
> faster than
> swimming and your average shortboard sailboard has as much volume as a
> fairly
> large surfboard.
> For what it's worth I paddled my 8'6" Seatrend about half way out to the
> channel marker last year to help my wife who was swimming in - it
> took about
> 15-20 minutes in calm conditions and slack tide. Don't know how
> far that is
> and I definitely couldn't have kept that pace for 2 hours though.
> Question: If a swimmer can cross the icy english channel three times back
> to
> back swimming 38 hours with no wetsuit why would it be impossible
> (as in the
> general consensus here) to swim for even 4-5 hours with a full wetsuit in
> the
> summer at Third avenue? There are obviously some serious conditioning
> differences between English Channel Swimmers and Third Avenue
> Regulars but
> it
> would seem that one might be able to extrapolate something from this.
> By the way did you know that the Farralons to San Francisco swim has only
> been
> done once by one guy in the 1960's in a time just under 15 hours? No
> wetsuit
> of course.
> Thanks.
> Jeff Milum
> Sales Force Automation Sales Team
> Western Region
> 650-506-0575

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