The Voyage: Roz Savage
Diminishing Window of Opportunity
29 Jul 2007

Tomorrow night's departure was always going to depend on fine timing. I would need to stick to a tight schedule in order to slip through a series of closing weather windows before the winds rose and pushed me off course and onto the shore. The latest forecasts show that the windows are getting smaller and smaller, so the timing is moving from merely tricky towards impossible.

Below are the stop-light weather charts prepared by my weather guy, Rick Shema. They show the weather conditions I can expect to encounter in the first few days, assuming that I manage to get 20 miles further from shore each day (note that I will probably travel further than this, but it is the distance from shore, not overall distance travelled, that matters).

You can see that yesterday's chart (top) shows a lot more green and yellow than today's chart (bottom) - this is not a good thing.

I remain zen about it all, accepting that we will know when the time is right - and leaving poor long-suffering Nicole to break the news to the media and business people who already had their flights booked to come and see me off tomorrow.

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Line of Death
28 Jul 2007, Woodside, California

Updated departure date: Tuesday 31st July, 2:30am, from Presidio Yacht Club, Fort Baker - but still to be confirmed.

We are keeping a close eye on the weather, and the stakes are high. If I get this wrong, I could end up with an (uninsured and uninsurable) boat piled up on the rocks outside of San Francisco Bay. This would not be good. Safety is the highest priority, as death is SO career-limiting...

Rather disconcertingly, my weather guy sent me a map yesterday showing the 'Line of Death'. Until I cross this line, I am in danger of being washed ashore and shipwrecked. Nicole, my wonderful PR coordinator at Ogilvy PR, suggested we should rename it the 'Line of Rainbows and Happiness and Smiles' - focusing on what happens beyond the line, rather than what might happen before it...

The shortest route to this line is 93 miles. So ideally I need a weather window at least large enough to allow me to cross that line before the winds strengthen. My speed varies enormously depending on the wind strength and direction. A best case scenario (with following winds - very unlikely) would be to cross the line within 2-3 days. A more likely scenario (with light headwinds) would be a week. A no-go scenario (with stronger headwinds) would mean that I would never get there because I would find myself on the rocks before I ever cross the line.

At the moment the forecast is marginal. Nicole said her knees will be bruised and bloody by Monday because she will have spent the whole weekend praying. "And", she said, "Yours had better be bruised and bloody too!"

The more prayers the better, so please call on any higher powers that you happen to be familiar with to help me get away safely on Monday.

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Video Blog Test
26 Jul 2007

This is a test with a video from PodTech.

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Sea Trials and Tribulations
26 Jul 2007, Fremont, CA

10 knots of wind can feel like a lot when you're rowing a 1200 lb boat straight into it. Today's trial run, on Horseshoe Lake in Fremont, was the first trial with the boat carrying its full payload of technology, batteries, and water ballast, and it proved, amongst other things, that I have been right to sit tight on shore and not to try and head out onto the Pacific. The prevailing winds ever since my launch event on July 10 have been onshore, and although 10 knots may not sound like much, it makes a big difference when trying to row a boat as bulky as this one. And the forecast shows no signs of changing for at least another week.

A lot of people have asked if I feel anxious. No, I don't. I would be a heck of a lot more anxious if I was about to be shipwrecked on the California coast because I'd rushed my departure.

This extra time is allowing us to make final refinements, and for me to follow up a few very interesting leads for media collaborations and educational outreach. I am feeling zen and calm, and will leave when the time is right, and not a moment before.

[photo: on Horseshoe Lake today, copyright Deborah Dennis. See more of her stunning portfolio, of subjects more interesting than me, at Black Rhino Photography] - and more photos of today's sea trial below...]

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