july, 2019

6jul11:00 amBLDSA Torbay8 miles Senior, 4 Miles Veterans. Freestyle/Breaststroke.

Event Details

If supplying your own canoeist they must be experienced in sea conditions.

The BLDSA Torbay Championship takes place across a large, semi-circular bay on the south coast of Devon, famous for its beautiful long sandy beaches, stunning views, red sandstone cliffs and crystal clear waters. The 8 mile starts from Meadfoot beach in Torquay across to the turnaround point at Fishcombe Cove near Brixham. It’s recognised as one of the toughest swims on the BLDSA calendar and a history dating back to the 1950s and still has records that stand from the 1980s, where Karen Toole set a record time of 2 hours 42 minutes (1983) and Lyndon Dunsbee in 2 hours 40 minutes (1986). The event remains only one of two sea swims that the association runs annually.

Swim Secretary: Steve Price – torbayswim@bldsa.org.uk

This event is NON-WETSUIT only.




*Swimmers must be members of the BLDSA before entering and must be experienced swimmers (Torbay – Ideal experience for swimmers).

Kayak Support

Swimmers must have a kayak with escorting them for this event, this can either be provided by us for a fee or you can bring your own. If you decide to bring your own, they must be experienced in rough sea conditions and ideally should have a BCU 2 star award.

The Route

The swim starts from Meadfoot Beach in Torquay across to Fishcombe Bay and then heads back to Meadfoot. Having a good kayaker for this swim is essential since the swimmer can’t navigate and the kayaker can see how the currents are pulling the swimmer.


For those looking for relatively cheap accommodation, there are two Premier Inns in the area;

  1. Torquay Sea Front – Seafront, Belgrave Road, Torquay, TQ2 5HE, United Kingdom 
  2. Goodrington Sea Front – Tanners Rd, Paignton TQ4 6LP, United Kingdom

Other recommendations for hotels and bed&breakfasts can be found on the local tourist site – https://www.englishriviera.co.uk/accommodation 

Weather and Conditions

In general, the bay is quite well protected from strong winds – but the race is still very weather dependent. In lead up to the event, the swim secretary, safety officer and race controller will keep a vigilant eye on the forecasts. Usually we use a combination of the following to judge what the conditions may be like; (1) Advice from the coastguard and harbour master in Torbay (2) the met office Inshore Forecast, (3) BBC Weather, (4) Wind Guru and (5) The main shipping forecast. We also have a wealth of experience of the conditions in Torbay from Paignton Sailing Club who help with our safety boat support and have really indepth knowledge of the bay. Our kayakers that we supply are locals too, highly skilled in dealing with tricky sea conditions. With this combination, we’re able to make a well informed decision on whether the race is safe to go ahead, what sort of conditions you as swimmers are likely to face and give you tips on dealing with those too before the start.

if you’re unsure on anything – please just ask us, we’re here to help!


Weather notes

Guide to the Torbay swim

Blogs on BLDSA Torbay

Each year we have swimmers that write about their experience of Torbay, we’ve listed a few below so you see what it’s really like to swim in one of the most stunning events on the BLDSA calendar;

Helen Beveridge – https://outdoorswimmer.com/blogs/the-bldsa-8-mile-torbay-swim-2014

Mark Sheridan  – http://reminiscencesofalongdistanceswimmer.blogspot.de/2012/07/bldsa-torbay-2012.html

Rebecca Hollingsworth – https://intotheocean.wordpress.com/2017/07/02/swimming-the-english-riviera/

Swimmer videos

Chris Astill-Smith – BLDSA Torbay 2017;


(Saturday) 11:00 am

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