Varuna veteran Malcolm Humphreys battles (and beats) the Briny

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What could be more appropriate for a man who has embraced the sea all his life, than to leave Thailand with a unique achievement? Malcolm Humphreys, alias The Old Man and the Sea (courtesy, Ernest Hemingway) or the Ancient Mariner (courtesy, Samuel Taylor Coleridge), last Sunday swam solo the 9-Kilometre stretch of water between the Royal Varuna Yacht Club on South Pattaya’s eastern shore, to Koh Larn, the island of the setting sun, due west. His time of 2 hours, 59 seconds, could well enter the prestigious Guinness Book of Records.

Malcolm Humphreys is a British 75 years young long-distance swimmer and Laser sailor who comes to the Royal Varuna Y.C. with wife Norma to escape the British winter, joining the flock of migratory birds, doing like-wise to avoid their dreadful northern climes each winter.

Malcolm celebrates with a bottle of bubbly while wife Norma holds the pencil sketch presented by the Royal Varuna Yacht Club to mark his amazing swim.  Malcolm celebrates with a bottle of bubbly while wife Norma holds the pencil sketch presented by the Royal Varuna Yacht Club to mark his amazing swim.

Malcolm has quite an aquatic track record. He started swimming at the age of 15, when he won every trophy in the Richmond upon Thames Swimming Club, and was a keen water-polo player, while holding the record for the Bala Lake British Long Distance swimming Association in Wales, during 1960s.

Malcolm represented Great Britain in the Cross-Schelde (Netherlands) swim when he was the first swimmer to finish.

Following the birth of two daughters, he decided to take up sailing as a family activity, qualified as an Ocean Yacht-master and later completed two trans-Atlantic crossings with his wife Norma as crew.

Since joining Royal Varuna Y.C. it has always been his ambition to swim to Koh Larn and he is extremely grateful for the support boats provided by the Club which encouraged him to complete the swim and returned him to a welcoming committee, members and staff from the RVYC.

At a post-swim reception sponsored by the Royal Varuna Club, Dave Littlejohn, Varuna Vice Commodore, presented Malcolm with a pencil-drawing sketch, which had been organized by Gareth Owens, himself a world-champion sailor.

“We shall place this memento in the Varuna Hall of Fame,” said Dave at the reception.  “It will be an example of courage – AND a challenge to future trans-gulf contenders.”

Malcolm and Norma returned to their roots yesterday, but I feel Koh Larn will be waiting for the Varuna Veteran to come back and do it all again!