The Voyage: Roz Savage
Day 43: Loneliness is a crowded room...
13 Jan 2006

Alone but not lonely.

Splinted (and splintered) oars

12 Jan, 06 - 20:21

For GPS position, race position and miles from La Gomera, see

Question: You;ve stopped telling us how you're feeling. Are you lonely? Or has it kicked into being wonderful yet? And when you get a text, do you stop rowing to read it immediately (desperate for contact) or do you wait until your next break?

A: Before answering the question I had to think hard about what loneliness means. If it is a yearning for the company of a kindred spirit, then I have occasionally felt more lonely in a crowded room than I have done out here. Loneliness has not been one of my demons.

I speak to my mother for about 15 minutes most days - usually quite businesslike, about sponsors, website, messages etc - and I get my texts, which I pick up 2 or 3 times a day. This seems to be enough human contact for me. I look forward to these times, but I'm not desperate for them. I'm quite content with my own thoughts for company.

No, the demons that plagued my first month on the ocean were feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt, frustration. How could I not have realised this was going to be so hard? What had made me think I was up to it? Why was I not going faster? Why could I not settle into a satisfactory routine?

Those feelings have now started to dissipate. There have been a number of contributing factors.

First, a couple of days ago I was thinking about an after-dinner speech I'm due to give in New York in April, and planning what I could say I'd learned from this experience. That exercise helped me reconnect with the reasons I undertook this challenge in the first place. I realised I'm achieving those objectives. That cheered me up a lot.

Second, I've finally adapted to my new lifestyle. I no longer ask myself at the start of every rowing shift whether I want to do it. I just get on and do it.

Third, I've started being kinder to myself. I've overcome some of my perceived weaknesses, and accepted others, and I've started to be more appreciative of my achievements.

The last few days have been increasingly enjoyable, and already that ghastly, miserable first month seems like a fast-fading nightmare. But it's still a fragile joy - I'm not yet taking it for granted, and I'm nurturing it carefully. There's still a long way to go, and possibly there are more trials in store for me. But I feel much better equipped to deal with them now than I did a month ago.

P.S. After I'd written this I spoke to my mother and found out more about the misadventures happening elsewhere in the fleet. It made my psycho-worries seem very trivial and self-indulgent.

It also made me rather nervous, and I looked at the ocean with a renewed sense of respect and even a glimmer of fear.News of Chris Martin's capsize, in particular, had scared me. As an outlet for my nerves I spent half an hour setting up the sea drogue just in case things get too lively and I need to slow the boat down. It gave me some slight sense of security. I'd been advised not to use it if I want a fast time. I think I've blown the fast time anyway, and I'd rather get there slowly than not get there at all.

A special thank you to Diana Hoff - I think about you often, and am proud to be following in your footsteps/ rowing in your wake. (Note: to date Diana is the only British woman to have succesfully rowed solo across the Atlantic.)

Kim from Denmark and Clarkie Sargent: well spotted. Three out of my four oars are now damaged. But I dismembered my telescopic boathook into 2 sections to make splints for the 2 least damaged oars (see photo). I'm rowing with the one good oar and one splinted. The other splinted oar and the bendy oar are on guardrail duty. So no need to summon extra oars, and my unsupported status remains intact for now.

Thanks also to Guy, John (answer re desert island discs under consideration), Lizann, Mike C, Mark and the patients at Craig Hospital in Colorado, Philip Goodier, Caroline Haines (thanks for the generous donation, and for the congrats on my 2 achievements today - 1000 miles and overtaking Move Ahead).

Wind: NE to ENE
Weather: sunshine and cloud, occasional shower
Sea state: rough
Hours rowing: 13

With thanks to Roxy Music for today's headline.

Atlantic Row Part 2
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Day 44: Desert Island Discs
13 Jan 2006

Absolutely nothing to do with desert island discs, but the last sunset photo seemed popular so here's another one.

13 Jan, 06 - 21:58

For GPS position, race position and miles from La Gomera, see

Q: If you miss Antigua, what would be your 3 desert island discs?

A: Such a difficult question - so much good music in the world! I've cheated, and picked a few extras as well as a top 3. In reality, of course, I've got 10,000 songs on my iPod so I'd be spoiled for choice... provided, of course, that my desert island had a stereo, as mine hasn't worked since the Night of the Very Big Wave.

The Logical Song, by Supertramp: poignant lament for lost innocence and magic of childhood.

Imagine, by John Lennon: because I'm a hippy chick at heart.

Wuthering Heights, by Kate Bush: not the original Version, but the one she recorded a few years later when her voice had mellowed. So beautiful, it's hard to believe it was written by a mere mortal. Perfectly captures the wild, romantic, gothic savagery of one of my favourite books. (Oops, starting to sound like pretentious rock critic.)

Other favourites:

Shine On You Crazy Diamond, by Pink Floyd

Heroes, by David Bowie

Bridge Over Troubled Water, by Simon and Garfunkel

Adagio for Strings, by Samuel Barber

Songs of Faith and Devotion (the whole album), by Depeche Mode

Eagle, by Abba

Texts: thanks to Alastair, Mac (thanks for the quote - one of my favourites), John, Tim (staying as safe as I know how. What is Route 66?), Mark in Colorado (blimey - there's a question! Will think about it), Patrick (AT brain food?), Nathan (ran out of time to sort bespoke seat, but natural in-built padding doing ok so far!), DB, Stew (this is a happy tortoise), AJ (thx for motivation!), Natalie (how true), RJA (thanks for words of encouragement), Duncan C, Dick Thompson.

Wind: E
Weather: sunshine and cloud, showers
Sea state: rough
Hours rowing: 13

Atlantic Row Part 2
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Day 42: Food Matters
11 Jan 2006

Hemp cookies - taste even worse than they look.

Not much meat on this flying fish.

11 Jan, 06 - 19:26

For GPS position, race position and miles from La Gomera, see

Since the demise of my camping stove I've had to get more creative with my cooking.

Breakfast has been a problem - flapjack alone gave me too much of a sugar rush followed by a sugar crash, and I was finding cold porridge rather hard going first thing in the morning, so yesterday I tried making some oatmeal and hemp no-cook cookies.

Roz's Recipe

1 sachet Mornflake Oats 2 Go porridge
1 scoop hemp protein powder

Add enough water to make a stiff paste and stir thoroughly. Shape into cookie shapes and place on billycan lid. Leave to 'bake' in the sun for as long as you dare before a wave or rain shower gets to them.

Serving suggestion: best chucked overboard - I managed one bite before consigning the remainder to the waves (with apologies to any fish hoping for a tasty tidbit).

So today I'm trying the hemp powder mixed into a protein sports drink with a little bit of coffee. I haven't drunk coffee since setting out from La Gomera, but felt the need for something to solve my mid-morning energy crisis. It seems to be working well, giving me sustainable energy throughout the morning, although it has also necessitated frequent visits to the bedpan.

It's not quite my ideal breakfast (New York style French toast, topped with melting butter and maple syrup, liberally sprinkled with cinnamon, served with fresh fruit and ice cream) but it's a damn sight better than those hemp cookies.

Sorry to hear about the mishaps that have befallen Digicel, Pacific Pete, Rowgirls and Gurkha Spirit. Wishing all the best to all.

Thank you for texts and messages from: Natalie (will answer your questions tomorrow), John T (character assessment - scary! Thx for reassurance after yesterday's frank expose on the finances of a would-be professional adventurer), Tim in Ithaca (no, not 'By the time I get to Phoenix'. Nice try, but no cigar!), the Galls (like your perspective on my performance compared with All Relative!), Mike C, Tim Harincar at WebExpeditions, DB (maple pecan is favourite), Prince's Trust, Abigail James, Virginia, Flemming in Denmark, Victoria Humphries (your polar example has helped keep me going - anything IS possible!), Sam K (hope you had a good gym session), Mac from Team Sevenoaks (you're on).

Wind: NE
Weather: sunshine and cloud, occasional shower
Sea state: calm earlier, rough later
Hours rowing: 14

Casualty List

I thought it might be interesting to keep a tally of items that have ceased to function, got damaged, disappeared overboard, or otherwise ceased to be of service:

3 oars damaged (another one last night)
Camping stove
Navigation instruments
Thermos mug
Lid off thermos flask
Drinks bottle
Storage jar
Alpaca skin seat cover
Lip salve
Milton fluid
...and a comfy foam cushion for sitting on

With apologies to the ocean for unintentionally leaving such a trail of litter.

Atlantic Row Part 2
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Day 41 Answer to a Question
10 Jan 2006

Corporate sponsor ParadiseBet

10 Jan, 06 - 20:03

For GPS position, race position and miles from La Gomera, see

Roz phoned me first thing this morning to say that she had had a comment that she had been too frank about her financial situation in this dispatch. The main reason that she wrote as she did was to show that if a person really wants to do an "adventure", they do not need to have an unlimited supply of money behind them. It is the determination to carry out the dream that is the vital ingredient, the rest will hopefully follow. Once the dream becomes reality it is that determination that is so vital too! Meanwhile she does need to rely on the help that others give, not only the finances but the messages of encouragement for when the going gets tough

Question from a texter: 'How does one live day to day when planning an adventure like yours? How does one feed onself? What about money?'

It's terribly un-British to talk about one's finances, but you did ask, so here goes...

I wouldn't be here, on this fine boat on this big blue ocean, if it weren't for the kindness and generosity of countless individuals who have chipped in what they can to help me on my way. I am grateful to each and every one of them.

I've been preparing for this full-time for 14 months - pitching for sponsorship, fitting the boat out, training, researching, etc. During this time I've had no regular income.

My living expenses are modest - I don't own a house or a car, or have any dependents. I usually manage to live rent-free: homes in the last couple of years have included a very Dickensian garrett above a shop, an office, and various housesits. Most of my clothes come from charity shops, in keeping with my recycling philosophy. I also count some wonderfully generous people among my long-suffering friends, who give me hospitality, buy me dinner, and generally give me moral support.

The boat costs and my living costs have come out of my savings from my previous more affluent life, supplemented by income from sponsorship - some of it corporate, but much of it from friends, acquaintances and even total strangers. Donors have varied from the woman who works in the local bakery to wealthy businessmen.

They just happen to be interested or inspired by what I'm doing, or some of them even wish they were doing something similar themselves, and by supporting me they can become a part of my adventure.

Some people slip me cash, some use the PayPal link on this website, and a couple of generous souls have even set up standing orders to support this and future ventures.

Because this isn't a one-off. I hope to make a financially sustainable future out of adventuring, through writing, photography and speaking engagements. I've already written a book about my travels in Peru (manuscript completed, but haven't got around to putting it out to agents or publishers yet). I have plans to spend much of 2006-2007 travelling around North America for another book (a quirky theme, based on a song - details coming soon).

And I also have a plan for another Very Big Adventure, to be announced probably in March. That one should, I hope, establish my reputation and pave the way for my career as adventurer and speaker.

At the moment I'm out here on a wing and a prayer, but like my faith miles, I carry on doing what feels right in the belief that it will all come right in the end.

Catching up on backlog of texts from yesterday and today...

HSS: thanks for the anagrams - Rosalind Savage = Vandal Ergo Sis or A Naval Dog Rises, Sean Chapple of Polar Quest - thanks for the message - hope your preps going well
From OULRC 1989: Natalie - glad the WaterRower is getting some use in my absence, and Penny - don't worry about not knowing what to say - just nice to know you're thinking of me
From Kew/Richmond - Steve S, Will -- well done on Oxford place - maybe you can take up rowing?!
Pauline, Nic, Sarah W, Martin T, John T (lap of honour - no way!), DB, Mark R, Guy, Sam K, Andrew V (I did find those tranquil waters - seems a long way back now, though), John from Galway, Steve Maskell (pat on the back much appreciated), Karen Luscombe (glad to find someone who appreciates my sense of humour!)

Rita Savage's PS:
As Roz approaches the 1000th mile, our thanks today to those who have sponsored miles with their donations as follows:
999 B Yates
1000 Mr T Molins
1001 Mrs Molins
1002 Anne Molins
1003 Indie Molins

Wind: N
Weather: sunshine and cloud, occasional shower
Sea state: moderate to rough
Hours rowing: 14

Atlantic Row Part 2
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