The Voyage: Roz Savage
Tiny Little
12 Aug 2005

Yesterday I met Tiny Little, who entered the ocean rowing Hall of Fame earlier this year when he rowed solo across the Atlantic in a time of 116 days. His row was most notable not for the amount of time it took (it was in fact the 4th slowest crossing ever), but for being probably the only ocean rower in history to have an onboard fridge (to chill the champagne, of course), and the huge entertainment value that Tiny managed to extract from the experience. For example...

"There is a special type of wave. They occur every half an hour or sooner depending on whether or not you are trying to prepare food, or trying to use the toilet, or any other task that requires a level platform. The wave is a giant. It resembles a hospital Matron at full steam, always preceded by a couple of large bustling Sisters and followed by a pair of giggling chanting acolytes.

"Matron can be seen from a great distance and has a huge white hat. She moves at great speed and nothing gets in her way, not even the other waves which are simply sucked in and absorbed.

"Her main job seems to be to encourage all the others to keep pace. When your innocent boat gets in the way, it is carried rapidly up her front and up to the hat which is the part that does the humiliating whack, and tosses you and boat to one side for the acolytes to snigger at as they speed along behind...

"This analogy has helped to civilise my relation with the big waves. When I received a drenching this morning I was able to call out "morning matron" instead of shouting an expletive."

Tiny has already been an enormous help to me. He sold me his para-anchor and first aid kit. (Mandatory first aid kit as required by Race Rules: weighs 7.5kg, fills a stack of round containers 10 inches across and 30 inches high. Usual cost £400.)

He'll also be out in La Gomera to offer last minute support and advice to the competitors. He's offered to take me to the La Gomera supermarket for final victualling of salami and Ritter chocolate bars.

I took Tiny on a guided tour of my boat (as pictured above). He was dead impressed. You'd have thought he'd have had enough of rowing for one year, but he fancies having a row of the Solo while we're in La Gomera. He'd almost be welcome to come the whole 3000 miles with me - we wouldn't get there very fast, but we'd probably have a very good time!

| | More
11 Aug 2005

Dunking is something I thought only happened to witches, but it seems it's shortly going to happen to me. Through the generosity of the Royal Navy I'm going to be treated to the dubious privilege of a session in their Underwater Escape Training Unit in Yeovilton. It sounds ghastly - click here to find out all about it.

I had to arrange £5million of public liability cover for the occasion (evidently I'm a very big liability to the public), and the insurance company Besso wrote to me this morning to confirm the cover provided by Illium. Interestingly, "Premium will only become payable in the event of a claim. On completion of the training we will need your confirmation of no claims or incidents."

Looks like a win-win situation - if I emerge intact there's no fee. And if I don't emerge at all then I'm not around to pay the premium. Bargain!

| | More
Meet Adrian Flanagan
10 Aug 2005

What this guy is about to do makes my Atlantic row look like a pootle across a pond - Adrian Flanagan is going to sail around the world, via the Poles, alone and non-stop. It's never been done before, and nobody knows if it's possible. There's only one way to find out - and that is for Adrian to try it. He's dreamed for 30 years of doing this - it seems to be what he was born to do, so how can he possibly fail?

I was lucky enough to have a drink with him this evening. He'd contacted me via my website, and I'd read his website, so I knew enough about him to be quite intimidated about meeting him. I thought he'd be dauntingly intrepid, focused, a breed apart.

When the doorbell rang I pasted a confident smile on my face and braced myself. There was no need. He was disarmingly charming and normal, with the same hopes, fears and concerns that most people have. He just happens to be about to push back the boundaries of human endeavour, but that doesn't exclude wanting to be a good parent, worrying about money, or being concerned about food, weight and fitness.

I really enjoyed our conversation, and had to keep reminding myself that this man was about to set off into the most hostile environments in the world - a fact of which he is keenly aware.

Wish him luck in his adventure - it will truly be a magnificent achievement, and regardless of whether or not he succeeds, I will be proud to say that I met the man who had this dream and had the courage to go for it.

| | More
Tim Two
09 Aug 2005, Gosport

Funny how particular names seem to come along in batches - August seems to have brought a rash of Tims, whereas July was dominated by Chrisses. And there was a minor outbreak of Brians earlier in the year. After Tim Gilmore of Dolphin Quay Boatyard, may I now introduce Tim Davies of Simrad marine electronics, seen here bravely attempting to persuade sailing instruments to satisfy a rower's needs - and very nearly succeeding.

I was over at Simrad for several hours this afternoon, making impossible demands of Tim and technology. I wanted the displays to show me wind speed and direction, speed over ground, speed through the water, distance to waypoint, and a stopwatch, all at the same time. Oh, and a stroke meter would be nice too. Surely not so much to ask?!

Tim tolerated my unusual requests with remarkable good humour, and by persuading bits of kit from different families to talk to each other (a feat akin to getting Capulets and Montagues on speaking terms) he managed to give me most of what I wanted.

So now I'll have lots of lovely numbers to contemplate, to while away those long nights at the oars. A bit of star-gazing, a bit of mental arithmetic to work out how many more strokes to Antigua, a bit of music, and of course occasionally remembering to look out for ships - those dark solitary hours will just fly by.

| | More



Powered by XJournal