The Voyage: Roz Savage
Like my dado rail?
Roz Savage
03 Aug 2005, Dolphin Quay Boatyard

Work on the boat is now underway in earnest. We plan to have her ocean-ready by the end of August. Richard the boatbuilder (photo to come soon) is bringing huge amounts of enthusiasm and energy to the project. This morning I arrived at the boatyard to find him clad in a very fetching white paper boilersuit, covered from head to foot in paint dust and bleeding from a head wound.

He'd been sanding back the paintwork so I could apply these battens inside the cabin for fixing control panel, cargo netting, etc. He'd also discovered the painful way that there are some bolts sticking out from the inside wall of the cabin, at just the perfect height to deliver a nasty cut to the head.

It's not always easy, sitting in a sunny boatyard in Emsworth, to picture what will work and what won't when I'm rolling around in mid-Atlantic. Will that corner bruise me? Will that hatch crack my head open? Will this seat cause blisters that might get infected? But it's these details that could make all the difference between success and failure - or at least between having a good time and being flippin' miserable.

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Ocean Rowers' Get-Together
31 Jul 2005, Torquay

Honestly, Mum, ocean rowers are nice, normal, well-balanced people. The All Relative crew (2 brothers, 2 cousins and winners of the Men's Fours time trial) were just playing up for the camera... We've just had the Ocean Rowing Challenge Weekend, and ocean rowers past, present and future assembled to enjoy a freebie barbecue (courtesy of Woodvale Events) and possibly a beer or two.

Before the weekend, I wasn't quite sure how it would go. The night before I left for Torquay I woke up in a cold sweat, thinking everybody else would have their boats ready and raring to go, and I'd come away feeling hopelessly under-prepared and behind schedule.

I also thought I'd be looking around the other boats, thinking, 'Wow, so THAT'S how it steering/solar panels/electrical systems should be done.' I expected to learn a lot.

But what I learned is that there are as many different ways to kit out your boat as there are ocean-rowers. It's such a new sport, there is no right way and no wrong way - just your own way. And so my ideas are as valid as anybody else's.

I also learned that as readiness goes, I'm on an equal footing with many of the other crews... in fact, even ahead of some.

So the panic is over. With the help, support, and positive can-do attitude of the Dolphin Quay guys I know I can have my boat ready on time. And I know exactly how I want it done to suit ME - the glorious, selfish, advantage of being a solo rower with a brand new boat. By the time I set out, the Solo will be totally Roz-ified - designed to my precise specifications - a place for everything, and everything in its place.

And Mum, the All Relative crew will be well ahead of me and many miles away, so DON'T WORRY!

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MP for Richmond Up-Ended
27 Jul 2005, Richmond, Surrey

Attending a riverside photo call with aspiring transatlantic rower Roz Savage, the new MP Richmond MP Susan Kramer took a tumble on the aptly-named slipway and landed with an undignified splat in the tidal Thames mud.

Undaunted, the doughty lady kicked off her sopping shoes, ignored the slimy silt besmirching her smart navy suit, and proceeded as if nothing were amiss. If only Roz the rower can display the same degree of stoical sang-froid in mid-Atlantic.

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Every Giraffe Knows...
26 Jul 2005, Richmond

... that smiling is infectious
You catch it like the flu.
Someone smiled at me
And I started smiling too.
I looked around the tables,
And someone saw me grin
And when he smiled I realised
I'd passed it on to him.
I've thought about my smile a lot
And realised all it's worth.
A single smile like mine or yours
Could travel round the earth.
So if you feel a smile begin
Don't leave it undetected.
Start an epidemic quick
Let's get the world infected!

(poem on postcard piced up in Giraffe restaurant, Richmond)

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