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Cape Cod Swimming From the Vineyard to Falmouth

Several men have attempted to swim the five-mile distance of choppy Vineyard Sound between the Vineyard and Falmouth. In the summer of 1950 on June 26th, George Fraser of Dennisport made a valiant try at the crossing.

After two hours and twenty minutes in the cold and rough water, and when only a quarter of a mile from Falmouth, cold and exhaustion forced him to call out. “I’ve had enough!” to his tender.

Other recorded attempts at the swim across the Sound that I was able to find:

  • 1916 — Six members of the L Street Swimmer’s Club. They tried from Falmouth Heights to Oak Bluffs. Five were picked up, exhausted, within 90 minutes. Unhappily, one swimmer, and one rower, were drowned in the southwest gale then blowing.
  • 1919 — Dr. Maurice Richardson of Boston attempted West Chop to Falmouth. Ater getting seven miles off his course, he was picked up from the water near Lackey’s Bay.
  • 1927 — This time, Winthrop Rheno, of Vineyard Haven, landed at Naushon Island in his effort to swim from West Chop to Falmouth.
  • 1930 — Albert Schofield, of East Weymouth swam from Woods Hole to East Chop on an eastward tide.
  • 1934 — a member of the South Boston Yacht Club tried to swim from West Chop to Falmouth but had to be picked up off Woods Hole Harbor.

The only successful attempts (that I was able to find) were:

  • In 1935, when Joseph Goudreau, a life guard at Falmouth beach, swam in August from West Chop to the town beach in three and three-quarter hours.
  • According to the Boston Globe, Dave McGillivray once swam from Martha’s Vineyard to Falmouth in 1982 to raise money for the Jimmy Fund.

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Cape Cod
Posted by Cape Cod - (website) on 02/17/06
Categories: FalmouthHistoryMartha's Vineyard
Keywords: falmouth, marthas vineyard, history


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