The Voyage: Roz Savage
P.S. on Lead Shot
20 Mar 2008, Woodside, California

Many thanks to all who have come up with ideas on where I can obtain lead shot - and also to those who have pointed out that it is an "enviro-nasty", with bad effects on fish, water, and potentially me.

I would like to point out that the lead would be basically "sequestered" - encased in resin, in a sealed compartment in the hull, so it would not come into contact with anything at all.

So in fact I would be taking an enviro-nasty out of circulation.

I've had a large number of suggestions, but have not had time to make the necessary phone calls to follow up. There is just TOO much going on at the moment, and only one of me!

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WANTED: Lead Shot
18 Mar 2008, Woodside, California

Does anybody have, or know where we can find, between 100 and 200lb (50 and 100kg) of lead shot? Preferably in the Bay Area, as weight-based postage costs could be prohibitive!

Today I was obsessed with weight - not mine, for a change. This was the weight of my boat. I took the Brocade and her trailer to a public scale in Hayward as part of my investigations into how much ballast I need to add to avoid last year's capsizing problems. This is a VERY high priority for me, as capsizing is really rather painful, and definitely not conducive to either a successful crossing or a good night's sleep...

At the end of the weighing exercise, these were the scores on the doors:

Total weight of car + boat + trailer = 8,400lb
Car = 6,020lb (yikes! but it does have most of my worldly goods in it too...)
Trailer = 625lb

So boat = 1,755lb (or 796kg)

This was with most but not all stuff on board. Still to come: Pelican cases of technology, some food, and assorted spares.
Also not included was water ballast, and I would expect to take 75 litres, i.e. 75kg of water.

Once these are added, the total weight will be about 921kg (2,030lb).

And there are the oars to take into account. These were probably a major factor in the capsize. They are heavy, and have to be stowed high on the boat because there is nowhere else for them to go.

I have two oars with lead cuffs, and two without. Weights are:
With cuffs: 13.6lb (6.2kg) x 2
Without cuffs: 10.6lb (4.8kg) x 2

Making a total of 22kg (48lb). This compares with the carbon fibre oars that I had last year, which were about 3.6lb each (1.6kg). So the new oars are THREE TIMES as heavy as the old ones - but all the old ones broke, and I'd rather have 4 heavy oars that don't break, than 4 light oars that do.

I have now sent all this information to the boat designer in the UK so he can finalize his calculations of the amount of ballast I need.

Problem is: we are struggling to find lead shot, which would be the ideal way to add ballast to the odd little spaces under the hatches. Apparently everybody uses cartridges these days rather than shot. We could use concrete, but this will be harder to weigh before putting it into the hull.

Hence my plea. Do please get in touch via the Contact form on this website if you have a solid suggestion as to where we can source some lead shot.

Thank you!

[photo: proposed changes to the skeg of the boat]

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Public Appearance at Tiburon Film Festival - THIS SUNDAY!
14 Mar 2008, Tiburon, California

This coming Sunday, March 16, I will appearing at the Tiburon International Film Festival.

I will be taking part in a Q&A after the ocean rowing film Row Hard No Excuses, due to screen at 1.30pm at the Corinthian Yacht Club.

I don't appear in the film - it is about two American men who competed in the 2001 race - but I'm there as a token ocean rower to answer any questions from the audience.

Tickets can be purchased in advance by clicking here.

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Lemon Ladies
12 Mar 2008, Woodside, California

I like to shop local when I can, to save on food miles as well as ensuring I'm eating good fresh produce, so I was delighted when Karen Morss agreed to donate 50 lemons to the cause. Karen's sweet Meyer lemons are organically grown just a few miles from my current temporary home in Woodside. A half dozen have now been incorporated into some buckwheat crackers (lemon and asparagus flavour) that are drying out in my dehydrator as I write.

As well as lemons, I got a hefty dollop of inspiration when I went to meet her. Karen is a one-woman dynamo. At about five foot nothing, she makes up for lack of height with an abundance of energy. After running her own software company for 20 years, she decided to get her pilot's license. But she didn't think the flight school was up to scratch. So she bought it and improved it until it was good enough - acquiring a test pilot husband into the bargain.

She'd promised herself 5 years with the flight school, and true to her word, she sold it on the 5th anniversary of the purchase. Then she wrote a screenplay for a movie about the Wright Brothers (still to be made), which involved reading 2400 pages of handwritten letters written by their sister. And now she grows lemons. She rattled off her life story with a briskness that I suspect she brings to all her dealings. I imagine problems and obstacles get very short shrift.

This is her first year of lemon production, and already the yield from 40 tiny trees is exceeding all expectations - which pretty much sums up Karen's life.

I asked Karen what her one top tip for success in business would be. This is what she said:

My father said it best when he told me he would rather see me sell apples on a streetcorner than become the VP of General Motors. That way I would always make my own destiny. I am a big believer in making destinies! If you can dream it, you can believe it. If you can believe it, you can do it.

Photo: Each of the trees is named after a woman who has inspired Karen at some stage of her life, and I was immensely flattered when she asked if she could name a tree in my honour. So after Roz the Albatross, we now have Rosalind the Lemon Tree. The photo shows me with my namesake. I'm the one on the right.

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