The Voyage: Roz Savage
Method in my Madness
27 Feb 2007, White Salmon, Washington

Good news! The 'Watchkeeper' project that I first conceived for the Atlantic, but didn't have time to implement, seems to be coming together this time around. You may have seen the inklings of this at the start of the Atlantic row - how many hours rowed, hours slept, thought for the day - but there wasn't enough momentum behind it to keep it going and it went the way of anything that wasn't vital to my survival.

[Photo: Atlantic scream therapy, 2006]

This time around, critical mass has already been achieved, and much more is in the pipeline. More news to come in due course, but for now I'd like to tell you about my tie-in with the study that the University of Portsmouth is conducting into the psychology of solo adventurers. They are already working with the sailors in the Velux 5 Oceans solo yacht race and will now be including me in a related research project.

In May I will have a pre-row interview with Dr Neil Weston, and during the row itself I will fill out a daily questionnaire to evaluate my mental state. The hope is that this will shed some light on how people react in stressful situations - will my psychological state be a fair reflection of my circumstances, or will I start over-reacting when under duress? This may well be of interest to all kinds of people - not only endurance athletes, but also anyone who has to perform under pressure - at work at home, in relationships.

I'm keenly aware that on the Atlantic, I made life very difficult for myself psychologically, so avoiding this same pitfall will be a key part of my preparations for the Pacific. In this vein, I've just taken up yoga again, with a class this morning at Flow in Hood River, and I've also started reading Raj Persaud's book, The Motivated Mind. Now here is something he mentions that you may not know about Oscar winners - it seems the perks of the job are not limited to fancy designer frocks (and yes, two days later, American TV is STILL talking about them...):

'Winning an award leads to an increase in average life expectancy of almost four years compared to those who are merely nominated, and almost six years to those who appear in the same films but don't even get nominated... multiple winners lived almost three years longer on average than those who had just the one lonely Oscar on the mantelpiece."

Why should this be?

"The crucial factor seems to be that those in higher status positions have more control over their work... and it now appears that a sense of control over your life has huge stress and health implications."

Interesting. When you are on the ocean, there is so much that you cannot control - the weather, the sea state, the currents. The key surely (oh, do please let me remember this when I am out there!) is to retain control over the bit that I CAN control - my response to those conditions. If I choose to accept them rather than fight them, I will make life an awful lot easier for myself.

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Advance Notice: Mountain Film Festival
26 Feb 2007, Telluride, Colorado

A date for your diary if you are in the vicinity of Colorado this May - I will be giving a presentation at the Mountain Film Festival in Telluride. At the moment it looks like I've got star billing, but I'm sure I'll be demoted if the Dalai Lama or Al Gore accept their invitations!

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Sedna in Situ
26 Feb 2007, Tampa, Florida

I've just received this photo of Sedna in her new temporary home at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa.

As far as I can tell from this and some other pictures, she doesn't seem to have suffered too much damage in transit, despite an ill-fitting trailer. I will need to get a replacement trailer before I set out on 1st April to drive her 3000 miles from Florida to San Francisco.

Chances are that she will need an entirely new electrical system, but this will give me a good excuse to implement some exciting new technology. There is lots of activity going on at the moment around 'Project WatchKeeper' - by which I hope to send back a wealth of data to my website while I am out on the Pacific, covering weather, navigation, and environmental parameters, as well as information about how I'm coping physically and psychologically. If it all works out, it will be really coooolllll!

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Sedna Arrives!
23 Feb 2007, White Salmon, Washington

After major logistical and legal nightmares - largely revolving around trying to get a boat trailer bought in Antigua street-legalised in the US - my boat Sedna has at long last arrived at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, Florida. I still haven't seen her, as I'm 3500 miles away on the West Coast. The report on her condition from MOSI is as follows:

"The interior of the cockpit was covered in tree debris and water. We have vacuumed all the water out and are working at cleaning the tree 'crud' from the fiberglass surfaces. It may have stained the surfaces a little.

As you may know, the boat does not sit well on this trailer and it actually has rotated a little and is not sitting 'flat'. I don't know what stresses that is putting on the hull..."


I'm still finalising my schedule for the next few months, but chances are that the first time I'll see Sedna will be at the end of March. Given that there have been no reports of major structural damage, I'm optimistic that we can have her shipshape in plenty of time for my July launch date.

So I'm not panicking yet. I was already expecting her to be rusty, mouldy, and to need an entirely new electrical system. I'm hoping that the rest of her problems are nothing that a good clean-up and a lick of paint won't solve.

In the meantime, I would like to hereby give thanks where thanks are due. I am forever indebted for the huge and generous contribution of time and effort by Scott Stemm, the brother of a friend of a friend, whom I've never even met. It is due to the kindness of strangers such as Scott that crazy expeditions like mine are made possible. If you ever feel jaded about human nature, I would highly recommend embarking on an ambitious adventure - it absolutely brings out the best in your fellow man (and woman). I am constantly amazed at the generosity and altruism of people who have nothing to gain other than the possibility of profuse thanks and a bit of reflected glory - and of course, a mention on my website. Thanks, Scott - and to Greg his brother, and also to Josh and Daniel Sampiero who retrieved Sedna from hock in the port of Miami. I look forward to meeting these two pairs of brothers when I make it over to Florida, and saying thank you face-to-face.

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