The Voyage: Roz Savage
Title Sponsor - Any Moment Now!
19 Jun 2007, Woodside, California

Do you remember that childhood pre-Christmas feeling, when you feel pretty sure you've got a REALLY cool Christmas present, but you're just having to wait, and wait, and wait to be sure. That's what I've been going through with my title sponsor negotiations.

Over the last few weeks I've been involved in extensive discussions with the company and their PR people, but I still couldn't be sure what was inside the package. Surely it was too good to be true....

At last I know what is inside the package, and it is every bit as good as I'd hoped. So now I'm dying to go out and play with it (i.e. tell everybody about it) but we still haven't signed on the dotted line, so I can't. The frustration is agonising! All I can tell you for now is: The company is environmentally aware, high tech, local, and staffed by some genuinely nice people.

Keep watching this space, and hopefully by the end of this week we will have a done and dusted deal and I can go public. I can't wait!

[photo: annoyingly irrelevant photo of a fireboat salute - one of the cool things we are lining up for my "ceremonial" departure on July 10, pending actual departure whenever weather allows]

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Erden Eruc Update
18 Jun 2007, Woodside, California

When I arrived at the Presidio Yacht Club on Friday to meet the CBS film crew, I was surprised to see Erden Eruc's ocean rowboat moored to the guest dock. The last time I had seen it had been at the Corinthian Yacht Club, before Erden's abortive first attempt to depart under the Golden Gate Bridge at the start of this month.

Erden and I chatted briefly before I was called away for filming, so it was only today that I found out the full story from his dispatch - that he had been trying again to leave, but the weather had been unfavourable as he approached the bridge so he had retreated to the safety of the Presidio.

I see from his site that he is now hoping to leave on one of the next two big ebbs - either at the end of June, or during the time window that I am looking at, between 11th and 13th July.

For the avoidance of doubt, if it should happen that Erden and I leave at about the same time, I'd like to make it clear that this is not a race. He is going direct to Australia. I will be stopping in Hawaii and Tuvalu. We are each just doing our own thing.

It may seem like I am labouring this point, but that is because I so strongly did not enjoy being in a race on the Atlantic. Although I was the only solo woman, and hence theoretically competing only against myself, I did not like it that there were 25 other boats out there who had left at the same time as me and whose progress would inevitably be compared with mine. This added to the already considerable mental pressure I was feeling at the time.

This also brings to mind the first ocean row of modern times, in 1966, when the Blyth/Fairfax crew presented a rival bid to Hoare and Johnstone. Pushed for time in order to compete, Hoare and Johnstone set out less well prepared than they may otherwise had been. Blyth and Fairfax arrived in Ireland to international acclaim. Hoare and Johnstone were lost at sea. Although present circumstances are very different, when I read the story of Hoare and Johnstone I resolved never to give in to the temptation to leave before I feel 99% ready. (Being something of a perfectionist, I will never feel 100% ready.)

It takes two to race, so even if Erden and I leave at the same time I will focus purely on my own project. But I can't help hoping that he gets away at the end of June - which is also what he hopes for .

And this latest development proves yet again that leaving from San Francisco requires the full cooperation of the weather gods.

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To Leave Or Not To Leave?
17 Jun 2007, Woodside, California

The timing of my departure has been much on my mind. The first 200 miles of the Pacific row will be by far the most hazardous. And there are so many factors to take into consideration.

I am trying so hard to get it right. Unlike the Atlantic Rowing Race, when the race organizers sounded the starting klaxon and we all went, this time I have to decide my own time of departure - and then take full responsbility for the consequences of that decision.

Whether that decision turns out to be wrong or right, I want people to know that it was well thought-out. So here, on my website for all to see, is my departure strategy.

[photo: one of my local weather gurus, Gordon Nash, sitting in his boat as we discuss local weather trends]

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Trial By Camera
15 Jun 2007, Fort Baker, San Francisco

Today I had my first sea trial in Sedna since the arrival of my new (very strong, very wooden) oars. Not only would this trial reveal whether the oars worked, but it would also be immortalised on camera by CBS for Phil Keoghan's show, "Keoghan's Heroes".

I was determined to avoid the problems that I had on the Atlantic, when all four oars broke before half way. But a dry run on land last night showed that there may be a problem with the new oars. The measurements seem to be a bit off, so the balance between inboard and outboard is not right.

And it was uncertain whether they would reach the water. You don't need to be a rowing expert to know that this would be less than ideal.

So I was nervous enough anyway, and early events did not seem to help. But after a few initial hiccups (the tide was so far out that the bottom of the boat ramp was a long way short of the water, so we had to drive a few miles to find a ramp more closely connected to H2O, and then find a new launch for the camera crew as the original launch was not able to come to the new location) we finally had boat, me, camera crew, launch, and water all in the same location.

And finally we put out onto San Francisco Bay.

By this time we had missed the nice calm conditions of early morning - but this made the TV footage all the more authentic, as we battled choppy waters and strong winds (and less-than-ideal oars) to do an interview under the Golden Gate Bridge. We talked for a while on camera while I rowed, then Phil took his turn at rowing.

Phil's concluding comment? "Me? I wouldn't do that. But good luck to you!"

[photo: me and Phil Keoghan back on dry land. Waterborne photos to follow shortly]

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