Charlotte Brynn - Lake Willoughby

  • July 6: Lake Willoughby Two-Way. 15.3 km (9.5 miles) in 5 hours, 41 minutes. Observed by Phil White.

  • August 25: Lake Willoughby Three-Way. 23 km (14.3 miles) in 7 hours, 14 minutes. Observed by Cynthia Needham.

First three-way Lake Willoughby swim.

Co-ratified with Northeast Kingdom Open Water Swimming Association

Contents

Two-Way (July 6)

Three-Way (August 25)


Swimmer

  • Name: Charlotte Brynn
  • Gender: female
  • Age on swim date: 52
  • Nationality: New Zealand
  • Resides: Stowe, Vermont, USA

Two-Way (July 6)

Support Personnel

  • Cynthia Needham - crew / feeding
  • Phil White - pilot / observer

Escort Vessel: Django (Newport, VT)


Swim Parameters

  • Category: Solo, multi-segment, unassisted.
  • Rules: MSF Rules of Marathon Swimming, without exception or modification.
  • Equipment used: Single textile swimsuit with standard coverage, one silicone cap, goggles, earplugs, vaseline.

Route Definition

Lake Willoughby two-way crossing (north to south to north).


Swim Data

  • Start: 6 July 2018, 09:29 (UTC-5, America/New_York).
  • Finish: 6 July 2018, 15:13
  • Elapsed: 5 hours, 41 minutes, 20 seconds.

Summary of Conditions

Feature Min Max
Water Temp (F) 67 71
Air Temp (F) 70 77
Wind (mph) 7.5 20

GPS Track

Trackpoint frequency: 15 minutes. Download raw data (CSV).

Speed Plot

Nutrition: UCAN + Gatorade, every 30 minutes


Observer Log

Download PDF (transcribed from original)


Narrative

Lake Willoughby- The windy 2 x Crossing July 2018

CHARLOTTE BRYNN FEBRUARY 03, 2019

July 6th, 2018. The forecast looks warm, unseasonably warm for Vermont! The perfect time for a multi crossing of Lake Willoughby. We clear our schedules, pack up our gear and head over to Westmore, Vermont.

Three musketeers off for an adventure, myself, Phil White, Cynthia Needham and Django our sturdy vessel. Turns out we are going to need sturdy! We arrive at Lake Willoughby to discover winds, high winds blowing from the north. Not to be deterred we launch the boat, load our gear and head to the north beach for a North to south tail wind swim down the lake, followed by a south to north head wind swim back up the lake.

Well off we go! We blaze down the lake with sustained winds of 15- 20 MPH. What a ride on the way down the lake especially between the cliffs where the winds is compressed. I was grateful for the warm 70F water and piloting skills of Phil White, how he maintained a steady course amongst the waves and swells I don’t know!

We made it to the secluded South Beach and gained a little shelter from the howling wind. Our time down the lake was 2 Hours, 1 minute and 30 seconds. One of my fastest crossing ever!

Now it was time to turn around and pay the piper.I wade back in the water, the wind was making it hard to wade out! Off we go I swim and swim, diving in and out of the troughs working hard to time my breath to avoid hydrating on lake water. I swim for 30 minutes and see my feed cup. Time for a feed, I looked up and am shocked at how little I have progressed. while I fed me and Djanjo are being pushed backwards. I drop my cup and begin the process of working my way back up the lake again…. and again.

The wind intensifies as we approach the cliffs. Gusting at 22 MPH we press on. The progress is slow as we inch our way back up the lake. Finally the north beach is in sight. It took a month of Sunday’s but we finally make it PHEW! I haul myself up onto the beach and a double crossing is complete. The south to north crossing took 3 hours 42 minutes and 30 seconds.

The total swim time 5 hours 41 minutes 20 seconds. This becomes my longest every single crossing of Lake Willoughby and my longest double crossing! A record breaking swim for me and a hole lot of fun!


Photos

Click to enlarge.


Three-way crossing (August 25)

Support Personnel

  • Margaret Haskins - kayak / feeding
  • Emily Haskins - photography
  • John Haskins - shore crew
  • Cynthia Needham - observer

Escort Vessel: Hobie kayak


Swim Parameters

  • Category: Solo, multi-segment, unassisted.
  • Rules: MSF Rules of Marathon Swimming, without exception or modification.
  • Equipment used: Single textile swimsuit with standard coverage, one silicone cap, goggles, earplugs, vaseline.

Route Definition

Lake Willoughby three-way crossing (south to north to south to north).


Swim Data

  • Start: 25 August 2018, 07:52:19 (UTC-5, America/New_York).
  • Finish: 25 August 2018, 15:07:10
  • Elapsed: 7 hours, 14 minutes, 6 seconds.

Summary of Conditions

Feature Min Max
Water Temp (F) 65 70
Air Temp (F) 60 77
Wind (mph) 6 14

GPS Track

Trackpoint frequency: 15 minutes. Download raw data (CSV).

Speed Plot

Nutrition: UCAN + Gatorade, every 30 minutes


Observer Log

Download PDF (transcribed from original)


Narrative

Triple crossing Lake Willoughby

CHARLOTTE BRYNN FEBRUARY 04, 2019

The day was forecast to be a pearler with high cloud and light winds. Saturday August 25th, 2018. I stamped my foot and staked my claim ” this is our Triple Willy Day” I said to my Lake Willoughby Triple Crew.

we gaze up the checking wind direction and speed before the start of the swim We made our way to the lake to see for ourselves. Willoughby is an unpredictable lake and she often shows off showcasing a more feisty wind than the forecast predicts. Today is no exception. We were expecting no wind and were greeted by a festive little 6 mph wind jostling the water in a merry way, yip this lake is definitely excited that we are swimming today!

We make our way down to south beach at 7:00am with the plan of starting before 8:00am. Our course:

Our kayaks are prepped, feeds are mixed, hot tea is ready,shore crew is in place for turnarounds, the tracker is on, photographer set and all the gadgets are in place to measure wind speed, temperature and distance.

It’s time to start. I wade out past the south beach and gaze up at the rugged cliffs of Mount Pisgah on my right and Mount Hor on my left they are absolutely breathtaking. I slither under the water and begin my swim. Within 30 minutes I am directly beneath the cliffs, how they tower above me. This is my favorite part of the lake. Deep green Vermont foliage surrounds the rugged, jagged rock cliffs. Cliffs that were gouged out by glacial ice thousands of years ago. And the deep dark lake, 300 foot deep, I wonder just what the V shaped valley below looks like under these deep waters and just how big the fish and eels are down there!

The waves have kicked up and my mind snaps away from the majestic mountains and mesmerizing lake. ” Well this is going to make things interesting ” I giggle to myself. This lake is something else…..and that’s what I love about it!

An hour passes and I take my first feed, then 1 hour 30 and 2 hours. The North beach is in sight it is nearly time to complete my first crossing. I am surprised at how many Vermonters are out enjoying on the beach. I make my way onto the beach, haul myself up to my feet and clear the water. I turn and lock my eyes onto the lake “it’s time for crossing number 2” I declare to myself and in I go. This time swimming into the south wind that’s been building over the last few hours.

Ready to start my second crossing. Into the head wind I go! It seems like I’m swimming in slow motion as I make my way towards the cliffs and the south beach. It’s a 5 mile stretch give or take and it’s feeling much longer! The culprit is an excitable South West wind. The lake is playing with me. She is strong tossing me about and in return I am tenacious, never giving up..

As I approach the middle of the lake the temperature drops. I am swimming into the deepest part of the lake. The lake narrows. The wind is compressed between the 2 mountains and the winds blows much stronger. It feels like I am in a wind tunnel. It is slow going.

I long to see the sharp, rugged cliffs of the south part of the lake. A sign that I am within range of the south beach and the end of my second crossing. Eventually they appear and tower above me.

One mile until South Beach. One mile until my final turnaround. This is the one that has stumped me in the past. The long wade out of the water, clearing the water and the long wade back in. It stays shallow for so long. In the past I have felt my body chill and my energy drop at that very point. Today I am determined that I won’t allow that to stop me diving back in for a third crossing.

I swim in as far as I can. My finger tips start to scrape the bottom and I force myself to my feet. Now I am wading. I wade, wade and wade some more. Finally I step out of the water. This is it two crosssings complete just one to go!

I clear the water and turn to face back down the lake for one more time… ” Let’s do this” I shout to my crew!

Into the water I go for a third time. My body feels cool after standing on shore in the cooling wind. ” I’m going to have to swim hard to warm back up” it’s more of a command than a declaration. Off I go one more swim between these awe inspiring cliffs. Every time I swim by them they seem to hypnotize me.

I swim and swim, it seems to take much longer to get through the cliffs on the 3rd crossing. Despite this feeling I am making good time. I pass through the cliffs and the lake widens. I start to see the cabins and camps appear along the shoreline as I turn to breathe. I’ve been by them many times before and now I look for the familiar roof lines, the house with the flag pole and then there are the little cabins all lined up with little red roof tops.

All sorts of camps and boat sheds to keep me occupied while I swim! I keep myself occupied looking at these sleepy little camps nestled along the shore. While all this is happening I can feel the wind pick up and the north beach my final landing get closer.

The beach is in view head down and swim! Time for a feed the menu today is cran- raspberry UCAN and Gatorade endurance lemon lime flavor. I’ver been alternating between the two. For treats dried apricots and peppermint tea.

“Last Feed” Margaret shouts out from her kayak. I tip back my last feed, the feed doesn’t taste too appealing but knowing it’s the last one makes me grin ear to ear. “There’s the beach” shouts Cynthia “your close less than 500 meters ” she adds. This is music to my ears and I put my head down and swim towards the beach and my wonderful shore crew Emily and John Haskins waiting to welcome me to dry land.

The water is getting shallow I can tell because the water is getting warmer. The North beach has a very gradual landing. Meaning it stays hip deep for a long time, then knee deep for a long time and finally you bottom out. It has a lovely sandy bottom and today the bright sun has warmed the shallow waters.

I can now see the bottom. It stays shallow for some time so I know there is still a ways to go. I pull hard and work on curbing my excitement…crossing number 3 is coming to a finish…a successful finish!

And then it happens I feel the sandy bottom with my fingers as I pull. I haul myself up to my feet and I begin to run.

I run and I run, my Triple Crossing is not done until I clear the water

And then it happens…my last step exiting my third crossing of lake Willoughby. 7 hours, 14 minutes and 6 seconds. After 3 attempts I land the swim and it feels amazing. I feel accomplishment, relief and mostly I am grateful for my pilot and navigator Cynthia Needham, crew Margaret Haskins, Emily Haskins and John Haskins and Phil White and Django who has piloted me on so many Willoughby Crossings, he made it happen today.

Next up time to hug my crew, pack up and say farewell for now to this great lake. Should you get the chance to swim it my advice ” Do It ” and if possible more than once.


Photos

Click to enlarge.


Video

Charlotte Brynn - Lake Willoughby from MSF on Vimeo.