The Voyage: Roz Savage
Day 34: Schadenfreude
03 Jan 2006

That was then . . .(working at UBS, circa 1999)

3 Jan, 06 - 19:56

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

A bad day on the water is better than a good day in the office, as the saying goes.

But in fact it has been a good day on the water, and I have been in excellent spirits today. It may not be nice to rejoice in the misfortune of others (schadenfreude), but my cheerfulness has been largely due to the fact that I'm no longer one of the millions putting on a suit and going to the office on the first day after the Christmas break.

For 11 years I was one of those millions, and I can remember the feeling of deep gloom at getting up in the dark on a cold January morning, trudging to the station and getting on a train full of equally gloomy commuters who are already planning their next holiday to give them something to look forward to.

So I may have saltwater spots on my bum, and I may be 2000 miles from my next hot meal, cold beer or decent shower, but I'd rather be here than on the Waterloo and City Line.

(With sincere apologies to anyone who loves their office job and sees this as a very negative view of office life. And commiserations to the rest.)

. . . and this is now.

Other stuff:

Morale has been good, but progress has been slow. I want to go south. The wind wants to go west. We have an impasse. But of course the wind wins, so I've spent the day slogging cross-wind, with limited success.

Thanks for all the text messages. Keep them coming! Thanks especially to the Galls, Eddie-Lee, A&E, Pauline (iPod now fully recharged, thanks), John T (I'll write the book if you can get me the book deal!), Rick (give me a break - I'm still warming up!), Sam K, R Westcott, DB, Gwenaelle and Hayden (love and hugs to you too).

Rita Savage's PS: If some of you are wondering why some can send Roz text messages when you can't, take a look at her website for details.
One big change in the Roz of "then" and "now" is that she now phones me every day!

Wind: 15 kts, E
Weather: sun
Sea state: moderate to rough
Hours rowing: 10
For GPS position, race position and miles from La Gomera, see

Atlantic Row Part 2
| | More
Day 33: A New Love Affair?
02 Jan 2006

Trying to reduce the ocean to manageable size - counting down the degrees of latitude and longitude to Antigua.

2 Jan, 06 - 19:46

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

'Have you fallen in love with the ocean yet?' Cdr Mike Pearey, my man in the Royal Navy, rang me just before Christmas to check on progress and wanted to know if I shared his passion for the high seas. It was a thought-provoking question, and I've been pondering it ever since.

Living on the south coast last summer I met lots of people who genuinely did love the sea, and couldn't wait for their next opportunity to go sailing, cruising, or just messing about on the water. I can see why many people do love the ocean. She and I have had some magic moments - rowing quietly on a calm moonlit sea, surfing along on rolling blue waves, watching the setting sun sink into golden waters.

But if I've seen the other side too - the big scary stormy waves, the spiteful little breaker that comes along and soaks me just before the end of a shift, the occasional hit-and-run wave that knocks me for six.
I haven't yet reached the level of ocean rage experienced by John Fairfax, an early ocean rower. He got so hacked off with it, in a magnificently futile gesture he fired his harpoon into the waves. But I've been close. There have been some frank expressions of opinion on being soaked yet again.

But despite the downsides, do I love the ocean?

I love the solitude, the wildness, the beauty. But the ocean and I would get along better if it would stop trying to get in the boat with me. And if maybe it weren't quite so awesomely, occasionally overwhelmingly, big.

Thanks to those who have texted me since I put my Iridium number on the website. Every day is indeed an achievement, Brian, and boy does it feel like it. And I shall be listening for that Remenham roar as I near Antigua, Dick and Sal.

Mike, I saw my first flying fish today. But none on board yet, so no chance yet to try my hand at gutting and filleting.

Wind: 15 kts, E
Weather: sunny and cloud
Sea state: rough
Hours rowing: 11

Atlantic Row Part 2
| | More
Day 32: Handy Bendy Oar
01 Jan 2006

Are oars supposed to do this? I think not!

1 Jan, 06 - 20:03

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

Happy New Year!

Mine could have been happier - I had a little weep on the phone to my mother last night. I'm ashamed to admit it, because I chose to do this row, nobody forced me, and if I'm finding it harder than I ever imagined I've only got myself to blame.

It wasn't loneliness that made me cry - it was the sheer, unrelenting, weary stuckness of my situation. I can't take an evening off from it and nip down the pub with my mates, then come back to it refreshed the next day. It's just me and this big blue ocean, day after day, until I've rowed every last mile of it. I got myself into this situation, and now I've got to row my way out of it.

Fortunately today I woke up feeling better. I skipped the second night shift so I got some extra sleep. The wind was favourable, the sun came out eventually, and I got some good rowing. I even enjoyed bits of it.

I don't for a moment think it's going to be all hunky-dory from now on. Hollywood might be like that, real life isn't. But gradually those things I already know, of which people keep reminding me, are sinking in and taking effect - take it a day or an hour at a time, focus on the positive, just keep going.

Oar - back from the dead

On a lighter note, see the photo of the amazing bendy oar. When a wave caught me sideways on this morning and I saw the oar bent under the boat like this I thought it was a goner for sure. But as soon as I managed to get the spoon of the oar out of the water it pinged back into shape. This happened a few more times during the day. So I've taped up the broken carbon fibre casing to prevent splinters, and I'm still using the oar. It may not last forever, but with only 4 oars on board and 2 already broken, I need to slow the rate of attrition.

Wind: 12-15 kts, E to NE
Weather: sunny and cloud
Sea state: rough
Hours rowing: 11

Atlantic Row Part 2
| | More
Day 31: New Years Resolutions
31 Dec 2005

Who can tell what she is drinking?

31 Dec, 05 - 19:33

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

New Years Eve, and an traditional time to take stock and make resolutions for the future. This time on the ocean is a perfect opportunity for reflection, but I'm still busy reflecting so I'm not ready to go public with my resolutions just yet.

In the meantime, here are some easy-to-keep resolutions for the time between now and the end of the race:
Lots of fresh air and exercise
No drinking alcohol
No smoking
No staying out late
No spending money on things I can do without
No dating unsuitable men

If only I had some choice in the matter... But I may as well give myself a big pat on the back anyway for being so virtuous. In fact, I went out tonight to look at the stars but was blinded by the light pollution from my brightly
shining halo.

Other stuff:
My mother gave me an update today on how some of the other crews are getting on. Chris Martin has suffered a broken-down watermaker (still inoperable, as far as I know) and 2 broken oars. I can match him on the oars, but I'd take a busted camping stove over a kaput watermaker any day. Good luck, Chris, hope you manage to get it sorted.

And finally, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!! from Monty and me. Have fun celebrating, enjoy a drink for me, and I'll see you in 2006!

Rita Savage's PS: Roz did offer to give a prize to the person who guessed the number of miles she would achieve by New Year's Eve (663 so far). Nobody had it right; Iona Pearey was the nearest at 611. the next nearest was 850. Roz will choose something suitable when she sets foot on dry land again. Meanwhile, congratulations to Iona. Others whose guesses were way out have the weather to blame! Best wishes for the dawning year from me too.

Wind: 12-15 kts, E
Weather: sunny and hot
Sea state: moderate
Hours rowing: 12
Song of the Day: Bridge Over Troubled Water(by Simon and Garfunkel) - for a time this afternoon when I was indeed weary, feeling small

Atlantic Row Part 1
| | More



Powered by XJournal