The Voyage: Roz Savage
The Meaning of Life
20 Aug 2005

On the news this morning I heard that IBM are teaming up with Swiss scientists map the human brain cell by cell on the Blue Gene supercomputer.

In April 2003 the completion of the Human Genome Project was announced. It was billed as 'a map of humankind... the entire print-out of DNA... the greatest scientific breakthrough for medical science... essential for the development of the bio-industry and human health.'

In June Google Earth was launched - 'a planet's worth of imagery and other geographic information right on your desktop'. And if you fancy 'travelling' further afield, you can even go to Google Moon.

We seem to live in an age obsessed with documenting our worlds both internal and external. It's fascinating stuff, and if it helps in improving the human condition then so much the better.

But will it?

Will understanding how the brain works make us any happier? There are thousands of books about good nutrition and the importance of exercise, but there is an unprecedented epidemic of obesity.

Does understanding our DNA make us as individuals feel healthier, understand our bodies any better?

Will seeing the earth in glorious 3D (or its developed countries, anyway - 'Coming Soon - The Third World!') make us behave more respectfully towards our fragile planet? Will it stop me getting lost in the Wandsworth one way system?

I acknowledge these are the ill-informed and simplistic comments of an ignoramus. I am bracing myself to be shot down in flames.

But I stand by my fundamental question. We are better-informed. But are we any wiser?

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Steering System
19 Aug 2005

It doesn't look like much - yet. But this is the first component of my revolutionary new heel-steering system with its designer, Richard of Dolphin Quay Boatyard. The two diamond shapes are where my feet will rest. The left footplate is fixed, the right one pivots on a bar underneath the ball of my foot.

Heel down, toes up, turn right. Heel up, toes down, turn left. Or was it the other way round? Anyway, once I've got that minor detail sorted out, it's going to be a very cool way to control the rudder, and quite unlike anything I've seen on any other ocean rowing boat.

On paper it looks great. Let's hope it looks as good on the water.

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First Aid kit
18 Aug 2005

And if you thought that was a big pile of stuff I showed you yesterday, check this out - and this is just my first aid kit. It's mandatory - all £400-worth of it. For a person who hasn't taken so much as a Nurofen in the last 5 years, it's a bitter pill (!) to swallow...

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Lot of stuff for a little boat
17 Aug 2005

This used to be a workbench in the workshop at Dolphin Quay Boatyard. Now it groans under the weight of my assembled goodies (including all my Simrad, awaiting installation on the Solo.

There's another pile, at least as large, filling the inglenook fireplace in the kitchen of my rented cottage. Somehow I have to find space to fix, lash, stow, or otherwise secure all this lot somewhere in a boat measuring 23 foot by 6.

And lord only knows how on earth the crews of four are going to manage - they have 4 times as much food, and also have to find space for 4 people to hunker down below decks when the weather is bad. They're going to be very close friends by the time they get to Antigua, that's for sure.

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