Captain Boyton(swims ?) successful trip across the Channel
Boyton’s Channel Crossing. Line Engraving, 1875. A series of seven sketches of events of the successful trip across the channel by Captain Boyton, from an illustrated paper. The inventor Clark S. Merriman, in a bid to help sea-rescue, designed a life preserving suit, which was made from India rubber and was inflatable. This suit was tested by Captain Boyton of the New Jersey Life Saving Service, when he was dropped over the side of a steamer into the Irish Sea, in a gale. “The first singlehanded crossing of the channel was picked as the next challenge to the suit. On 10th April 1875 he stepped into the water at Dover with only a double-bladed paddle and headed out to sea, followed by reporters in the steam tug ‘Rambler’. For the crossing a 2ft square canvas was fitted as a sail into the left boot of the suit. On the way Boyton consumed a mixture of beaten eggs, a couple of cherry brandies and a cigar (but no solids). However, the crossing was eventually abandoned when the weather worsened and the pilot of the French boat became concerned for Boyton’s safety, threatening to surrender all charge of his boat at darkness if Boyton failed to come aboard. Boyton did so only when he had made the reporters sign a declaration that the decision to quit was not his. Even so he made a doctor examine him to confirm he was still fit to go on. When he stepped aboard, Boyton had been in the water for 15 hours and had covered 50 miles. The stunt had achieved its aim, he had after all nearly completed the crossing and had proved the seaworthiness of the suit. Six weeks later, Boyton stepped into the water at Boulogne to attempt another crossing. After waiting for his support crew and the sail which had been left behind, Paul Boyton landed in Dover 23 and a half hours later at 2.30am at Fan Bay near South Foreland. The trip had been uneventful other than a meeting with a porpoise four miles off Dover.” Text: Dover Museum.