PACTRACer in Chanel Swim this week.

Tue, 9th Aug 2016 - 5:50 p.m.

PACTRAC's Jonathan Ratcliffe is attempting to swim the Chanel this week. He is swimmer number 4 on the Pilot Boat, Viking Princess, so hopes to get away towards the end of the week.

"Sometime between the 10th and the 14th of August I will be making a dash from British shores for a better life in the EU. Sadly with Sterling so weak, Easyjet and Ryanair fares are looking unaffordable, and I have never been the world's biggest fan of, to that end, I shall be embracing the world of goose fat and vaseline, donning my speedo's and ‎with any luck avoiding whatever perils await as I swim for France.

Those who know me well appreciate that I never normally ask for sponsorship, as most little challenges I try are largely for personal enjoyment. This one might be a little different however. So, I am going to use the opportunity to try and raise the profile a charitable cause I am passionate about.

As a trustee of "CROPS" I am looking to help launch an exciting and much needed mentoring scheme in a series of schools close to where I live. We have been running our mentoring pilot scheme for two years and would love to raise enough money to finance our medium term goal of mentoring up to 450 kids who need 1:1 time during their secondary education.

So only if you feel like it, please visit the link below and support us in your giving, it would be great to see what a financial boost this little excursion of mine can generate. Options start from sponsoring as little as just 1 hr of mentoring

I will email again when I get the nod that the tide and sea state looks open for an attempt ‎during the August window I have been given. Those that fancy having a laugh at my folly can keep track on the GPS markers as I doggy paddle my way to Pas-de-Calais ( success not guaranteed!).

Bon courage to all‎.... "

Tue, 9th Aug 2016 - 6:38 p.m.

First swimmer across. Two to go, then Jon.

Tue, 9th Aug 2016 - 10:30 p.m.

Good luck.

Sat, 13th Aug 2016 - 9:18 a.m.

Good luck Jon!

Tue, 16th Aug 2016 - 3:18 p.m.

Looks like Reg Brickell and Viking Princess have got two of the four across: Max Beer on 9th August and Susanne Simpson on 14th August. Jon was/is number four.

Fri, 19th Aug 2016 - 10:01 p.m.

Message from Jonathan dated 18th August:

"Well, I think the time has come. The phone call I had been waiting for came late yesterday evening to say we have our “weather window” and the plan is to get into the water at Dover around midnight tonight ( nice! ) unless the weather alters dramatically, and swim through the night for France, hopefully arriving in time for croissants and jam around lunchtime ( before Hurricane Charlie hits this weekend!). I am slightly outside the tidal window and so expect to be pushed around a little on the spring tide, but I will give it my very best effort to get across.

A huge thank you to everyone who has been so generous in supporting the CROPS mentoring programme I am swimming for. It’s been incredible to see funds and good wishes roll in…

Finally, I had promised to follow up with the tracking details for the swim, for those interested my Pilot Boat is called Viking Princess, my best guess is we will start from Shakespeare’s Beach about 1130pm… "

Wed, 24th Aug 2016 - 5:52 p.m.

Message from Jonathan:

Who needs a Ferry?

"A few people have asked how it all went, so I will just send one final message to say thanks for all of the support now that I am home.

We managed to break our £20k charitable fundraising target for our Kids mentoring scheme, thanks to all of your generosity.

11hrs and 59 mins of pain (apart from one moment of majesty as dawn broke) was all that stood between the jetsam, flotsam & Chalk cliffs of Dover and the golden sandy beaches of Wissant. Best wishes. J"

Tue, 11th Jul 2017 - 12:06 p.m.

Subject: Quick dip in the Irish Sea

A lot of people gave so generously last year to the Crops mentoring scheme and their work in a number of secondary schools - So please feel no pressure to give once again….

…. Saying that though, this year we are still trying to raise funds to continue the incredible work both staff and volunteers did all throughout the last academic year spending quality 1:1 time with kids at their point of need.

I am passionate about this cause and so am trying to do my bit once more, this time Ireland – Scotland in my faithful speedo’s.

Tracker goes live at point of entry am circa 9:30 am Fri ( weather dependent )

Best Jonathan.