The Voyage: Roz Savage
Day 50: Tomorrow Never Comes
Roz Savage
13 Jul 2008, The Brocade

(Picture: Dave on the left, George on the right. The Atlantic Four 2005)

In October last year I spent a weekend with my friend George in
Bristol. He had also rowed across the Atlantic, at the same time as me,
in a crew of four men. One of his crewmates, Dave, was also staying with
George that weekend. I knew Dave too, through having spent time with him
at Henley Royal Regatta, and in the Canaries before the start of the
Atlantic race.

The three of us hung out together that weekend, risked George's homemade
beef curry, drank too much wine, then went to the gym the next morning
to work it off. We sat on three rowing machines side by side, and rowed
together companionably.

Dave was excited about a forthcoming trip to South Africa to take part
in an ultra-running race. He would be going with another of the
crewmates and their two girlfriends. When we parted company on the
Sunday, it never crossed my mind that when I next saw Dave he would be
significantly altered.

A few weeks later I got an email from George. Dave and the three others
had been in a car crash in South Africa. Dave had broken his back. The
doctors said he would never walk again.

George dropped everything and flew out to South Africa to be with his
former crewmate. Since Dave returned to the UK he has been in the Spinal
Injuries Unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, and George has made the
round trip from Bristol to visit him there almost every weekend.

George, who surely deserves some kind of award for Best Friend In Need,
yesterday set out to cycle from Canada to Mexico along the western coast
of the US, in a bid to raise funds for a hand bike for Dave so that he
can once again compete in endurance races.

His website says:
David needs to get out of hospital (Stoke Mandeville) as soon as
possible and get back into expeditions. The four of us plan to enter the
2009 New York Marathon as the old crew, Atlantic4. To do this, David
needs a specialist bit of kit called a hand bike. And that, my friends,
is what we're raising money for.
So please, give what you feel like - not because Tori [a Canadian who
also rowed the Atlantic in 2005, in a mixed pair] and I are doing
something difficult or unpleasant, but because you want to help David
get back out on the road.
Donate cash using the link on the left hand menu. When you do this, 100%
of the money goes directly to David's Hand Bike Appeal.

So if you want to help Dave, or support George, or just express your
gratitude for your own fit and healthy body (there but for the grace of
God.), please go to their website and make a donation.

And/or go out and do something that you've been putting off, thinking,
"I'll get around to it when." You never know when you're going to run
out of tomorrows. So do it now. While you can. Do it for yourself, but
do it in honour of Dave, who - at least as far as his legs are concerned
- ran out of tomorrows.

Other stuff:

Position at 2100 Pacific time, 0400 14th July UTC: 26 06.420'N, 130

Look again at that last number - I've passed 130W!! This is a major
milestone. Still a long way to go - Hawaii lies at nearly 158W - but I
can now regard myself as having successfully broken away from the
Americas, after a long battle with winds that had other ideas!

Hello and thanks to all who have sent messages, especially Mandy Skogebo
(if justdoitiveness isn't a word, it should be! It's in my vocabulary
now!), John, Roger, Pippa, Kirk, Bruce (stop chatting up my mother!),
Russell, Gene, Rod, Roger, Nevada Bev, Erin and Mark.

And a special hello to Larry, Leonard and the other Leo Laporte Lurkers.
How about that for alliteration?!

If you haven't yet checked out my thrice-weekly podcasts with Leo,
they're apparently really good. Mum discovered on Saturday that when you
watch the podcast live, you get to see Leo in the studio, plus all the
comments that are coming in via the chatroom. I just wish I could watch
them too! I'll give more details soon.


Tomorrow my friends at the BLUE Project will go to the Houses of
Parliament to present the Blue Pledges in support of the Marine Bill.
But you can still make a pledge if you haven't already. Just go to and click on the Make a BLUE Pledge button.

Thank you to all who have made the pledge already - and those who
haven't, please do it now! It's all in support of the Marine Bill
currently going through the UK parliament, but people of any nationality
can make a pledge. After all, the oceans connect all of us!


Click here to see Day 50 of the Atlantic Crossing A Little Bit of Toast - longing for food not available on the boat.

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Day 49: Momentous Firsts
Roz Savage
12 Jul 2008, The Brocade

After a tough week, today was outstandingly wonderful. It all averages out in the end!

It got off to a good start when I woke up to discover that the wind direction, for the first time since I left San Francisco, had an E in it. It was coming from a whisker East of North, helping me towards Hawaii. This was Very Good News.

Then, while I was doing my podcast with Leo Laporte this morning, I saw my first piece of ocean debris since I got away from the immediate vicinity of land. It was a small black mooring buoy, bobbing by about 10 yards away from my boat. Unfortunately I couldn't photograph it because we were in the middle of recording. Although it was obviously not a good thing to see, it was noteworthy for being the first object I had seen - other than sea, sky, and the contents of my boat - for many weeks.

But the best "first" was this afternoon. I heard a snuffling sound and looked around to see a black fin arcing through the water just 20 yards away. I squealed and dashed to the cabin to get my camera. I just about managed to capture the creature on video, although I don't think I'll be winning any awards for cinematography any time soon. Then there was another one, and another. In all, five of the creatures passed by, most within just a few feet of the Brocade.

I think they were whales, about 8-10 feet long and black. Or it could be a porpoise or a dolphin, not sure. But the fact that they were traveling so far apart, and the snuffling sound, make me think whale.

Although, obviously, I remain zen and calm about these new developments, appreciating them as a privilege and not as a right - after weeks and weeks of unrelenting west winds, and an absolute dearth of marine life, today was almost more excitement than I could cope with, and while it lasts, absolutely fantastic!

Must run now. Want to make the most of these NNE winds while they last, so am off back to the oars.


The deadline is 14th July - UK time. So best do it now!

Go to and click on the Make a BLUE Pledge button. Costs you nothing, and it helps save the oceans - and the planet!

Thank you to all who have made the pledge already - and those who haven't, please do it now! It's all in support of the Marine Bill currently going through the UK parliament, but people of any nationality can make a pledge. After all, the oceans connect all of us!


Position at 1920 Pacific Time, 0220 13th July UTC: 26 25.248'N, 129

Click to see Day 49 of the Atlantic Crossing Frustrated Idleness - Roz coping with broken oars.
and another blog for Day 49 of the Atlantic Crossing

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Day 48: Nothing Lasts Forever
Roz Savage
11 Jul 2008, The Brocade

There is a human tendency to assume that good times (along with sources of fossil fuel and places to dump landfill) will last forever - and recently I fell into this trap too. It's frightening just how easy it is to start taking good times for granted, accepting them as the norm - and then get all indignant when things take a turn for the worse.

Thus it is with weather.

Until a couple of days ago, I'd enjoyed a spell of really nice conditions - light winds, calm seas, comfortable rowing. Then, just as I was foolishly extrapolating from the current rate of progress and hoping for an August arrival in Hawaii, conditions have changed and progress has slowed down dramatically.

Today has been another day of fighting hard to stand still, my disgruntlement (is that a word?) compounded by rough seas and grey skies. And also the word from my weatherguy that the trades are not trading as usual this year. There is, of course, no such thing as a "usual" year in weather terms, only historical averages - and it seems to be my luck to have drawn a below-average year in terms of favourable winds.

So, hey ho, I am reminded yet again by the unpredictable caprices of the ocean that I should be thankful for the good conditions, but to regard them always as a privilege, not a right. And that it makes no sense to hope for better winds "when I reach 130 degrees" or "when I hit the trades" - because hope is the mother of disappointment. Best just to accept what is.

An appropriate moment to recall one of my favourite quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson: "What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us."

Position at 7pm Pacific time, 0200 12th July UTC: 26 38.212'N, 128 50.379'W

[photo: a wildlife sighting at last! About 5 of these little blue crabs came aboard with my sea anchor line yesterday. All have now been returned to the ocean.]

Other stuff:


Just 3 days left to make a pledge. If you're really stuck for an idea, why not read a book (or listen to an audiobook from to expand your environmental mind? My recommendation would be the classic "Ishmael" - a thought-provoking view of human behaviour as seen through the eyes of an outsider (a gorilla in this case), which reveals just how unsustainable is our current course.

Go to and click on the Make a BLUE Pledge button. Costs you nothing, and it helps save the oceans - and the planet! Thank you to all who have made the pledge already - and those who haven't, please do it now! It's all in support of the Marine Bill currently going through the UK parliament, but people of any nationality can make a pledge. After all, the oceans connect all of us!


Hellos to:

Anne and Pete in Jersey - I will miss you (and your buckets and sponges) when I get to Hawaii. Fancy a holiday?!

Benn Fraker - selected for the US Olympic whitewater slalom CANOE (sorry if I said kayak! I of all people should be careful to get these things right, because it bugs me when people call my boat a kayak!)

John H - already carrying out his Blue Pledge - well done! Thanks for the tips on washing in saltwater.

Well done to my cousin Diane on her 3rd placing in the Skiddaw Fell Race. We're not doing so badly for old 'uns, are we?!

Rochelle - Austin in Texas is now on my hit list of places I must go. The promise of a massage and a smoothie is too good to resist!

Also to Terry Scott, Antti, Gene, Currin in Dunedin, Chris in rainy UK, Slim, Greg, Rachel (thanks for the quote) and Alex.

Click here to see Day 48 of the Atlantic Crossing Make Do and Mend - where Rita describes some of Roz's problems with oars and bad weather.

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Day 47: A Mother's Pride by Rita Savage
Rita Savage
11 Jul 2008, Yorkshire, England

(Picture: Girls' night out in Las Vegas. Our last evening together before Rita returned to the UK, and Roz set out on the Pacific.)

Recently I watched the Speaker Showreel which is on the Media page of Roz's website. As I watched Roz, I thought: "She is no longer my little girl. She has grown in maturity and wisdom, far beyond anything I could have given her." From time to time people do ask whether anything in her childhood might have indicated the sort of life she lives now. Not really.
She does blame her genetic makeup - my father was an adventurer of sorts. Living in South Africa all his life, he explored every natural site that he knew about , waterfalls, caves, rock formations, canyons, and he always had a boat of some sort. His grandfather emigrated from England to New Zealand in 1842, returning to England in 1843. Later, in 1849 he took the family off to South Africa. On these long voyages there were two births at sea in the family. Further back in history, a soldier fought against the Americans in their war of independence, and as the wives travelled with the soldiers, my great-great-grandmother was born at sea near America. The sea must have seeped into our genes.
Having married a Yorkshireman, Roz and her sister were both born in England. From an early age we taught them to be independent, perhaps succeeding too well. From about ten years of age onwards, Roz was always self-disciplined and organized, planning her life and succeeding in what she set out to do. When she married I suppose we heaved a sigh of relief. She had a good husband, a good job, and eventually a lovely big house in London.
It was shock then when she announced that she was leaving all that behind to go adventuring. When she first mentioned rowing across the Atlantic, I just shrugged my shoulders and thought that if I ignored it, this idea would go away. It did not, as you know. I was especially troubled when she said that she did not want to be a part of the Atlantic Rowing Race. I could not imagine her going out there all on her own. Her hopes were overruled by the organisers of the race and she did take part.
Looking back, I think it was a scheme on her part to invite me to spend a month with her near Portsmouth Harbour, to work on the boat in preparation for the race. Perhaps she knew that if I got deeply involved in the project I would become a real part of it. The rest is history.
When she arrived near Antigua at the end of the rowing race, her first words to me when we went out to meet her "We've done it!" I am proud of Roz and what she is doing, and pleased to be able to do what I can for her. In fact, the more I do, the less I worry!

Position at 2110 Pacific time, 0410 11th July UTC: 26 58.756 N, 128 47.140 W.

Click here to see Day 47 of the Atlantic Crossing 16 th January 2006, Wet but Safe

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