The Voyage: Roz Savage
Day 66: Tiny Little and Eddy Large
04 Feb 2006

The wind may be causing me problems, but it does
have its uses - fast-drying laundry.

4 Feb, 06 - 21:04

Tiny tipped me off that there was an eddy waiting to ambush me - a 100-mile-diameter clockwise current centred on 16.8°N 44.8°W. It was a dilemma - head south to get the favourable current south of its centre, but then risk problems getting north again to Antigua, or carry on at the same latitude slogging away against the current. The word from Norwich was to head south. So this morning I diverted to the SW, in the hope that the eddy would slingshot me out the other side in the general direction of Antigua.

But then... I got an email from my new weatherman. (My weather info was previously coming from Adrian Flanagan, who is sailing solo around the world via the Poles, but he's currently otherwise engaged negotiating Cape Horn or some other lame excuse...). Ricardo advised me that there's a massive low in the far
North Atlantic that will bring a NW swell 7-15ft as far south as where I am, from Monday until at least Tuesday morning. This will stop me in my westerly tracks, and the best strategy would be to head NW now to gain as much latitude as possible before the swell hits.

So in summary, Monday looks like this: swell pushing me SE, wind pushing me SW, eddy pushing me NW, and all I want to do is go W.

Life is complicated. And apparently another eddy lies ahead - a more complex one. As tricky as negotiating the Hemel Hempstead roundabouts... But Ricardo assures me that any day now everything will line up and I'll be on the fast track to Antigua. Oh, yes, please!

Rita Savage’s PS: Help! She’s going too fast! I can’t keep up with the sponsored miles.
1721 Cliff Butters; 1746 Sebastian Pearey; 1750, 1751 Julian and Celina Hamm; 1760 Nicholas Mardon Taylor. Thanks to all. Pause for breath before she gets into the 1800s.

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

Wind: E, about 15 knots (estimate)
Weather: sunshine and clouds
Sea state: moderate
Hours rowing: 12

Atlantic Row Part 3
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Day 65: Ocean Rowing And What It Does To A Girl's Looks
03 Feb 2006

Patchy sunburn horror: brown arm, white hand.

3 Feb, 06 - 20:38

The good news - I've lost about a stone without dieting
The bad news - I put on a stone and a half before the race in eager anticipation of dramatic weight loss

The good news - best all-over suntan of my life
The bad news - .... apart from forehead (hat), hands (rowing gloves), feet (trainers), and bum/backs of legs (always sitting down)

The good news - bracing, pollution- free sea air bringing glow to the cheeks
The bad news - salt water bringing spots to the bum-cheeks

The good news - sunshine and water make them grow faster
The bad news - they then fall off your fingers

The good news - an opportunity to recover from over-washing (twice in 2 months so far)
The bad news - I daren't even look. Why do you think I'm always wearing a hat?!

So, girls, if it's good looks you're after, forget about rowing an ocean. Take your £15,000 race entry fee and spend it at Champney's instead.

Other stuff:

Tiny - I think I may be caught in the grip of that eddy. Two days ago the boat suddenly seemed to double in weight, so much so that I hopped overboard to check I didn't have anything caught on the rudder... like a submarine. How much longer can I expect this to last?

Texts: thanks to Jeff (your franglais is terrible!), whanna, Nathan (do you want me to try and talk you out of it?!), Natalie, John T (where ARE you going in April?), Sinead (thanks for getting the lottery ticket - can I leave it to you to check the results for me?), Alasdair, HSS, DB (don't get and don't want news, thanks, and yes - will be giving talks/lectures in UK - book early to avoid disappointment!), Tim (enjoy your drink with Tiny), Lizann, Guy.

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

Wind: E, about 10 knots (estimate)
Weather: sunshine and clouds
Sea state: moderate
Hours rowing: 12

Atlantic Row Part 3
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Day 64: Magnificent Absurdity
02 Feb 2006

Me in my night hat.

2 Feb, 06 - 20:31

It is the night shift - the last 3 hours of my rowing day - and I am busy at the oars. I am wearing just a t-shirt and a hat, and the tropical night air is velvety against my skin. The sun set about two hours ago, and the afterglow has finally faded from the western sky, where a thin crescent moon now hangs like a silver hammock. I can see its reflection dancing in the hatch door in front of my rowing position, and my moon shadow rows diligently away before me. The perspex dome of my compass nightlight glows red between my feet.

It is a calm night, and the ocean is almost silent, a faint sighing its only sound. My oars, broken and repaired, each have their own distinctive splash. The left one, with spoon intact, makes a clean entry into the water, while the right one, spoon lashed to a boathook with cable ties, makes a messier splash, with the occasional gurgle as a bubble escapes from the hollow tube of the broken shaft.

It is at night time that I am most aware of the hugeness of the ocean, and the smallness of me. But it's not a scary or intimidating feeling - it's a feeling of wonder and amazement that I am here, over a thousand miles from the nearest land, alone and rowing away in a little silver boat. It is at the same time an absurd and a magnificent thing to be doing.

My watch alarm goes off to signal the end of my shift and I stow my oars for the night, with a satisfying feeling of a job well done - another day and a few more miles closer to Antigua. I admire the stars while I brush my teeth, and retire to my cabin to write up my logbook and tot up my miles for the day. Then it's time for bed, and dreams of dry land, family, friends and food.

Texts: thanks for messages from Mariya (glad you reminded me about Perfect Moment Syndrome - glad to hear you still get PMS too!), Pauline, Tiny, Duncan (would love to be at the Henley Oxford/Cambridge races, but that's the weekend I'm speaking at the Univ reunion in NY. Too bad!), Sean Chapple (no, it was last year that Mum was in Antarctica. I can recommend her as a base camp manager - I'll hire her out for £25k!), Caroline Haines, John T (no, getting colder on guesses re US trip - you'll never get it!), Liz Devoto (miss work in London? Like a hole in the head!), Margaret and Bob (glad computer has recovered. A book? Who knows?!), HSS - sorry I got your initials wrong yesterday. HHS was my Dad!

Rita Savage's PS: Alastair Brown - she should reach your sponsored mile 1681 tomorrow! Thanks.

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

Wind: E, about 15 knots (estimate)Weather: sunshine and clouds
Sea state: moderate
Hours rowing: 12

Atlantic Row Part 3
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Day 63: Life on Mars
01 Feb 2006

Roz' mother in Antarctic - just a dya visitor, not trekking to the Pole!

1 Feb, 06 - 20:35

Q from James Oglethorpe: 'You are selected by NASA to go to Mars. Which explorers (alive or dead), would you pick as your fellow crew members? 2 women and 3 men.'

A: Well, somebody live would definitely make a more useful member of the crew! :-)

I'm going to expand this to include adventurers and travellers, partly because my knowledge of explorers is woefully inadequate, and partly because it's debatable whether it's still possible to be an explorer in the geographical sense in this day and age, when most of the earth's dry land has already been charted.

So, with all that preamble out of the way...

1,. Captain Joshua Slocum, who built his own boat and sailed it solo around the world in (I think) the late 1800's. Resourceful kind of chap, and seemed to have a good sense of humour.

2. Michael Palin (who is also coming to my hypothetical dinner party). Good team member and would probably be very good at handling any delicate negotiations if we ran into some unfriendly Martians.

3. Tom Avery, polar trekker - because he's cute!

4. Rosie Stancer, who has trekked solo to both Poles. I've only met Rosie once, for dinner at her house, but we got on famously. She's feisty, determined, and fun, definitely an asset to the crew.

5. Klondike Woman - I read a book recently about the female Gold Rush pioneers. I may not admire their motives, but I couldn't help being impressed by the way these doughty Victorian women hitched up their petticoats and trekked up the notorious Chilkoot Pass through appalling weather and hostile terrain, while many of their male counterparts fell by the wayside. If they could cope with that, I reckon they could cope with anything Mars could throw at them.

Other stuff:

Have been concerned to hear about the problems other crews are having in hitting Antigua - especially sorry to hear about Row4Life losing their boat. As a solo rower in a boat that has proved vulnerable to being blown around, I could be in trouble unless the winds decide to deliver me right to Antigua's doorstep. I am in the hands of the weather gods.

The breeze had been shaping up quite nicely for about 24 hours... until this afternoon, when following a brief squall an all-too-familiar calm settled once again over my patch of the Atlantic. Lucky I'm so zen and calm about life now, or I'd be crying with frustration...

Diana Hoff (thanks for the vote of confidence - I, too, am looking forward to being your fellow solo rower!), Mariya (hola, chica! Hope the surfing in Hawaii is better than here in mid-Atlantic), Carol in Chicago (fingernails not looking good), Roger Gould, Bridget Rumley, Caroline Haines (the nutritionist and the creator of toasted Mars Bar sandwiches are, believe it or not, one and the same person!), Clarkie, Aase-Kathe and Flemming from Denmark, Tim Ratbag, Tom Moore (see you in NY), Jeff (biggest ensuite bathroom - made me smile!), John T, DB, Westie (thanks for the top tip - tempting!), HSS, AJ.

Rita Savage’s PS: Sponsored Miles: 1600 Terri Hathaway; 1602 Phil Goodier; and soon, 1643 Chẻ Cayford-Smith

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

Wind: NE, now about 15 knots (estimate) and improving
Weather: sunshine and little fluffy clouds
Sea state: moderate
Hours rowing: 12

Atlantic Row Part 3
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