The Voyage: Roz Savage
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
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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
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Day 30: Ocean Cuisine
30 Dec 2005

30 Dec, 05 - 19:58

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

Some people have expressed concern over my dining arrangements since the unfortunate demise of my camping stove.

Worry not, I'm looking after myself and eating properly. Not necessarily enjoying every meal, but that was so even in those now almost-forgotten days of hot meals.
At the moment, a typical day's menu might be:

Breakfast - Wholebake flapjack or 9 Bar

Elevenses - sprouted chickpeas with soya sauce, biltong

Lunch: prawn and pea chilli casserole, made with my Commercial Freeze Dried ingredients.
CFD prawns
CFD sun dried tomato
CFD peas
Chopped dried apricot
Chilli flakes
Black pepper
Combine all ingredients, add sufficient water to cover, leave to stand for at least 3 hours. Serve with a bottle of desalinated water.

Dinner: same as lunch (I make 2 batches at once to save time)
Dessert: CFD blueberry and raspberry compote (surprisingly good)

Plus various nibbles of flapjack, chocolate, biltong etc during the night shifts.

So I'm surviving, but I do love good food, and this isn't it. No matter how high quality, no matter how much variety, there is something about expedition food that falls short of the real thing. To say I am looking forward to some good nosh when I get ashore would be a serious understatement. Much of my day is spent daydreaming about luscious food.

I wouldn't mind so much if I appeared to be losing weight. 'Bulk up', they said. 'The weight is going to fall off you.' So I put on 20 pounds, and as far as I can tell it's all still there. Dammit.

Wind: 12-15 kts, E
Weather: overcast
Sea state: moderate to rough
Hours rowing: 11

Atlantic Row Part 1
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Day 29: Going Garbo
29 Dec 2005

Support Yacht Aurora

29 Dec, 05 - 20:00

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

'I want to be alone', actress Greta Garbo is reputed to have said, and I know what she meant.

Yesterday morning my mother tipped me off that the blob representing support yacht Aurora was approaching my blob on the Woodvale map, and I guessed I was in for visitors.

The prospect made me distinctly grumpy. I had to dig out some shorts to make myself presentable, having been rowing butt naked for some time now. This created two problems - it is a lot harder to go to the loo (ever tried maintaining three points of contact while pulling down your knickers?) and my slippery lycra shorts kept sliding off my alpaca skin seat cover.

But moreso there was a feeling of being intruded on. I've got rather used to being the only person as far as the eye can see.

It was nice of them to drop by. They shot some photos and video which I hope come out well, and it was good to chat with my friend Dan Byles, who rowed in the 1997 race with his mother.

But I was relieved when they left, although the impression remained for several hours afterwards that I was not alone, the ghost of their presence lingering on.

An aside: I have figured out why I feel ambivalent about the race (apart from the fact I'm not winning it). I see myself as an adventurer rather than a competitor, and the way I see it, adventures don't have rules.

Rita Savage's PS: Sponsored mile: Roz will soon reach mile 611, kindly sponsored by Iona Pearey.

Wind: 15-20 kts, NE to E
Weather: overcast
Sea state: rough
Hours rowing: 12

Atlantic Row Part 1
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