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Baz JJ

The Normandy Challenge

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My mate and four of his team mates are ex British Army and are planning to undergo a challenge in June.

 

They will set off from England in 3 x 2 man canoes and will navigate their canoes out from Portland England, across the English Channel to France. They will briefly make land-fall just to the east of Cherbourg and then after covering a total distance of around 200km and 40 hours at sea, they plan to arrive at a beach in Normandy on the 6th of June.

 

The canoes to be used by the team are all Klepper Aerius II; these are collapsible canoes made from a canvas and rubber hull and deck, which is stretched over an assembled wooden frame. They are just over 5 meters long and have 2 seats in tandem and can be rigged with a small sail see www.klepper.com

 

The guys have no boat experience, so paddling Kleppers across one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world is going to be tough. Ive already suggested vaseline in all the delicate little folds to stop the flesh getting rubbed raw by the salt as my top tip and contribution to their venture. They are doing it to raise money for various military charities and surprisingly are all training independently due to their overseas work commitments, so they are coming together on the day really.

 

Im posting this because you might want to put a few quid up for your favourite charity.

 

Full details here:

 

http://www.normandyklepperchallenge.co.uk/

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The guys have no boat experience, so paddling Kleppers across one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world is going to be tough.

tough? sounds borderline suicidal to me, that end of the channel can get pretty nasty even in summer.

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I presume they will have a support boat?

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tough? sounds borderline suicidal to me, that end of the channel can get pretty nasty even in summer.

 

I agree with James, It is plain suicidal. I've done it as a solo crossing in a 30ft Ketch and I was positively shitting bricks through the entire experience. And I knew what I was doing.

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All the more reason to donate and follow their progress on the day.

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I think the navy arrest ppl for doing things like this. I used to know some ppl who got into real deep shit with the navy for running a yacht aground in the channel. IIRC they set off from Lymmington and only one of them had a clue, but a pretty slim one. They ended up near the Isle of Wight somewhere that knobbing around, nevermind running aground, is a major pain in the hole. Upshot was the yacht was confiscated.

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Have been looking at kayaking/canoeing the canals in france and england, and found a thread on UK rivers guidebook saying the french have decided that you arent allowed to kayak between the two sides. They allow swimmers if propperly supported but not kayaks. Go figure. Baz you might want to send your friends there for advice, the guy that runs the forums writes the definitive modern guides for kayaking round the british isles. The guys on the sea forums really do know their stuff.

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some rough surf on Normandy coast line, yanks lost 4/6 Sherman D/D tanks launched off shore, just hope they do ok for there sake good luck to them

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Look at the cockleshell heroes. They lost as many to the sea as to enemy action in precisely that sort of kayak and they were dropped off close to the french coast. You would need to be properly supported with a support crew on a boat and get advice from the coastguard etc.

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Oh I wouldn't discount them. I suspect it will still go ahead one way or another.

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I hope so. I just hope that in evading hassle they don't end washed up dead in the Bay of Biscay.

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A better idea given that it would mark the anniversary this Sept, might be to kayak from the Belgium border near Lommel, via Eindhoven, Nijmegen and end up at Arnhem. Dutch Canal systems will be safer and it would be no less of a challenge.

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