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STALWART SWIM to the Isle of White


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Hi all

We are going to the Overloard show in May. We are taking a Stalwart on the back of the Foden drops. While we are there we are going to Swim it over to the Isle of White. Do we need to tell anyone ie RNLI as a just in case is there any legal problems. We have lots of safty equipment to take and a boy if it sinks to mark the spot. Well anything you could mention would be great. We know its been done before so its possible. Its going to be a trial for the W&P event across the channel. But lets leave that untill we sort the Isle of White.






We have 5 stollies some u/s but diesel engines.

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Think you may need a UK Certificate of Seaworthiness & Insurance...


Might be worth contacting the Maritime & Coastguard Agency for advice.. remember to get any advice in writing..



I'd strongly agree with that, and make sure you've got some competent people to navigate. Think it through VERY carefully and arrange a support vessel such as a RIB to accompany you.



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Personally I would not try, but good luck if you do . Don't forget it's not a case of point and go, you need to plot the course with the wind and tide taken into consideration. But I guess if your attempting this you know these things already.

Good luck anyway !

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I cross the Solent by ferry regularly to see parents on the island. It is hard to stress how relatively busy that stretch of water is, and having a brother who works for one of the ferry companies i've been on the bridge for a number of crossings- the sonar map showed just how many hidden sandbanks there are, and they can be deep enough for ships to cross one minute but at the change of the tide they are suddenly just below the surface waiting to catch the unwary.This makes knowing the sea lanes especially important as there is not a lot of room for all the vessels trying to traverse the waters.

Also have you thought of your start and end point yet? I'd definitely go with the above advice and get in touch with M&CA to organise things, especially as there are quite a few areas on the north side of the island used by sailing schools who wont be happy to have a big green thing chugging through their students.

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Good luck with the crossing, I remember Mario and others doing it many years ago. I think they broke down and beached at Beaulieu estate, which caused a few issues!

No certificates are required by law to take any vessel like this to sea, but you may need to check what your insurance requires.

I've navigated many time in boats ranging from 4 knots to 40 knots speed, it can be very busy and especially if at the slower speed you need to keep an eye open for bigger vessels coming in and out as they dont alter direction too quick, if at all for a small vessel.

You need to have good weather and arrange a suitable launching and landing spot.

Apart from that its plain sailing!

Let me know if you need any more help

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Massive idea and easily achievable, cannot believe the ssand banks will bother you.


I will come along with my two jetskis as back up. Ideally though you need someone with a bigger boat just in case you need a tow, my two jet skis are 300 bhp total so will easily pull you along.


my thoughts.


Launch at lee on solent, perfect place, water shallow enough at low tide to drive in and high enough to swim onto the ramp. No cost to launch.


Go for it, there are a number of things I would do..


1. Fit floatation bags everywhere...I would certainly fit additional floats under the hull to assist bouyancy. I would fill the back with IBC containers fixed in place that would keep the truck above water if the bilge pumps failed, or the engine failed. these need to be very very secure. I would think with 6 ibc containers in the back she would not sink. If you were to go, fit a second bilge pump in the front, this allows for the water washing forwards and backwards.

2. Carry an auxiliary 100 hp engine with plenty of fuel. Fit it to the rear so you can fire it up if your engine fails. maybe even two. Mount them on the back of the rear cargo door...

3. Fit a cover over the air intake and the cargo hold that keeps splash water out. this is the most important issue in my eyes. Yoiu do not want water going into hull over the top, and the area just behind the cab is extremeley vulnerable to waves...so protect it...

4. Fit a second bilge pump. Already said that but I think it needs to be said again. Fit extra set of batteries to run the bilge pumps if the engine fails...

5. Drive in wet or dry suits with demand valves and air tanks in the cab just in case, if she goes under there is no way you would survive a trip to the bottom without this. Unless you bail well before she goes under...

6. Ensure you can open the hatches easily...

7. Grease up the seals around the sides with water proof grease.

8. Fit tow ropes to the front and rear for emergency, say if the old girls needs a tug...they need to be strong lines...

9. I would have a go at sealing up the winch cable and box, this would add additional buoyancy to the front. If not sealing it I would remove the plates under neath and fill it will strong bags of floatation material, or if you have a mind to, fill it with bags and then fill with expanding foam....this will fill the whole area without contaminating it, will stop water ingress and make sure you have extra buoyancy. at 4 knots practial it will take you about an hour and a half to cross from lee on solent...I would think. its only about three miles, but with tides and waves and the drag of the water I would think best to allow a couple of hours...

10. Wrap the steps up onto the cab with rope to make them anti slip.

11. Fill the tyres with 40 psi, or more to aid buoyancy.

12 I assume you know about the bearings in the dowtys and making sure they are well oiled and not leaking...

13. Have a large pole on the front and rear with flashing lights, and with a large metal plate to ensure you make a big signal on any radar screens.

14. VHF radio of course..

15 Flares may help but cant help but think you wont go un-notoiced...and if you have the support boats then you will have help.


I use the place all the time in the jetski and those big ships dont half get a move on once they are in the shipway. The waves on the water can be variable but it can be dead flat sometimes too, so if you pick your moment it could be great fun.


ANyway if I can be of help let me know..PM me. Where are you based, i am about 30 miles fromlee on solent, which I think is your best bet for launching, its the old hovercraft route....a few places you could launch...wish I was brave enough to take mine in the water but salt water would destroy my old girl I am sure...

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Nice to see some contructive words on this:cheesy: I saw it posted and thought here we go this will be fun Good post Paul! I will be up for out if needed just PM me have a word with Butch I'm sure he will have a good bit of imput!

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Yep, don't bother with a flashing light, an alllround white if you're planning a night crossing :-D Aproper radar reflector might help in the day but ships probably wont see it.

Solent chop can be quite lumpy, not so much from the wind but the amount of vessels moving about, the ferries and ships can make quite a wake which will travel the width of it, weekends are worse.

I would advise insurance because if you sink in the shipping channel you will be responsible for clearing the hazard to shipping. The harbour master will not be pleased;)

Careful when crossing the shipping channels, you may think you're big on the road but ships have right of way, they have no room to manouvre in the channels, and no brakes. THEY WILL NOT GET OUT OF YOUR WAY.

If you pick the right day you could have a picnic and game of cricket on the Bramble bank http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bramble_Bank

you might not want to play with the spring tides though



Above all though, have fun


p.s why would sand banks be a problem, you can just drive over them

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understand about maritime lights port and starboard will be useful to have on board but wont be seen during the day so yellow flashing light was my idea...


the choppy waters can be a pain but as long as your safe from wash over on the body you should be fine

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Pedant mode on- Under 7m and under 7 knots only requires an allround white light.


BTW Contact the Harbour master beore the attempt, they are quite helpful.


Just looked at the Tide Tables for the weekend of the 24th, it's a spring tide, you might want to rethink your plans.

Tidal streams around 4knots in Cowes, and they can be worse around the Island.

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ooh spring tides a bit tough...will make the journey across a bit more difficult but cant see why she would not make it, they are pretty sea worthy with the covers on...the ones on the phots are the ones from john up north, they were used in the sea for tours before age and legislation did them in....most are totally screwed up rust buckets, i would doubt that any are sea worthy at this time, they would need a ton of work to get them there, but the engine conversions were good and if you put the perkins diesel into a stolly it works well..i have one of those conversions but have not yet given up on the b81 which i love so much...

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Yes my only one,, we have bedford 500turbo engine. Bought the stolly from up Maplethorpe that used to do rides call Funderbirds Blue one in my first vid



What diesels do you have fitted in your fleet? There were some Cummins 6B engined ones around - one was for sale in Southampton(?) area couple of years back, looked tidy.
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Harbour master is a good man to speak too. and i hope to have the Royal marines with us. In a support role if we sink. I hopw we do not but as people have said be safe and ready. We have two diesel water pumps we can hire in. Extra flotation is a good idea but it not a std stolly then. We have saved alot of weight out of the stolly so should float ok. See pic of my old one with the cummins in. Just look how far it is out of the water you can see the indicators when swimming.





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A chap called (Richard Notton) - took a stolly for a swin around the pier in Bognor a few years ago to publisize o local MV show we were running - all went well although the attempt to swim under the pier was abandoned due to wind/swell which was making it too dangerous to attempt - the look on peoples faces as it emerged from the sea aka james bonds lotus in that famouse film sequence was priceless - Richard had the hindsite to arrange with the local fire brigade a damn good hosing down of his stolly afterwards to rid all the salt water......living on the south coast and attending Lepe many years ago i also remeber a similar attempt to cross to the island being made by a seep - that was abandoned when it became stuck on a sandbank and only just missed being taken out by a large ferry boat......Good Luck.....safe crossing !

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