The Voyage: Roz Savage
Day 55: Guest Blog by Conrad Humphreys - Renowned British Sailor
Roz Savage
18 Jul 2008, The Brocade

Picture: Conrad Humphreys (right) at the House of Commons talking to Hilary Benn MP, London, July 14th

I am delighted tonight to feature a special guest blog by Conrad Humphreys, who has had an impressive career in competitive sailing and is the founder of the BLUE Project, for which I am a BLUE Ambassador.

This week, The BLUE Project is exhibiting at the House of Commons, ahead of the release of the first draft of the Marine Bill. Featuring BLUE Ambassadors, remarkable sports men and women like Roz who are using the immense power of their sport to inspire and motivate individuals and organisations to actively care about sustaining our water environments. The exhibition also features initiatives such as BLUE Schools, The BLUE Mile and BLUE Communities, all mechanisms for engaging individuals and organisations with our water environments.

The BLUE Project exhibition was formally opened on Monday 14 July by Rt Hon Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and was also attended by Rt Hon Tessa Jowell, Olympics Minister. Both Hilary Benn and Tessa Jowell made BLUE Pledges at the launch, demonstrating how sport and the environment can work together.

BLUE Communities consist of people like you, who follow Roz in her quest to row single handed across the Pacific Ocean because you are connected to our water environment and believe in Roz's cause to raise awareness of the growing problem of plastic debris polluting our world's oceans. You are people who care about our water environments and actively make small life changes to help reduce your impact on our climate and oceans.

In the last couple of weeks, we have been overwhelmed with the large number of BLUE pledges coming from followers of Roz. All of your pledges which are now featured on our website at go a long way to growing a community who collectively can make a difference. Thank you very much for all your support.

As an ocean sailor, I can relate to the conditions and experiences that Roz is currently facing out in the Pacific Ocean. However, where as I am more used to bigger sail boats, I am in complete awe of Roz and her determination to complete this mammoth voyage in such a tiny vessel, alone and unsupported.

The BLUE Project is proud to have Roz as an Ambassador and wishes her all the very best with the rest of her voyage.

Fair winds Roz. Conrad Humphreys Ambassador & Founder of The BLUE Project

Other stuff:

Position at 2130 18th July Pacific Time, 0430 19th July UTC: 25 04.785'N, 133 04.502'W.

About an hour ago I passed 133 degrees West. I was rather pleased about this. After my hard-scrabble day yesterday, struggling to find motivation, I had set myself an immediate target of passing 133 before 10am tomorrow. So to pass it around 8pm tonight has cheered me up no end! Thanks to the brisk winds and significant ocean swell that have given me a helping hand - although they will probably also stop me getting much sleep tonight...

Thanks also to all my marvelous cheerleaders on dry land. I've been reading all your comments (Mum emails them to me) and they have given me a real boost - thank you!

SIGN UP FOR THE NEWSLETTER! We now have a facility for you to sign up for a newsletter. At the moment it goes out once a week, on Thursdays, and after a short message gives you a list of links to the week's blogs. In the "off-season", while I'm not on the ocean, it will go out every couple of months with any important news or a general update. If you'd like to sign up, go to my Home page, and down at the bottom you'll find a box labeled: "Sign up to the Roz Savage newsletter, just enter your email address:"

Click here to view Day 55 of the Atlantic Crossing 24 January 2006 "I'm just a girl who can't say no" but practising.

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Day 54: Mind Over Matter
Roz Savage
17 Jul 2008, The Brocade

There are some days when it's easy to be motivated, when I'm raring to go, when I feel as if I could row forever.

And then there are days like today.

Maybe I tempted fate this morning when I was recording the podcast with Leo and he asked me about motivation. I breezily said how much easier I'm finding it this time around, having the audiobooks to keep me entertained, and also having had the Atlantic experience that has given me a number of tools in my psychological toolkit for when the going gets tough.

Well (sigh) I was really put to the test today. The conditions were the roughest they've been in several weeks, which made it impossible to row neatly. It was a case of bashing along and trying to stick a stroke in where I could - and this always makes the time drag.

But there was more to it than that. I put it down to having just passed the big milestone of 130 degrees West, and just after a success is often the hardest time to get motivated. You've been all excited about your achievement, and there's a bit of a post-success slump when you have to set yourself a new goal to aim for, but the new one seems so distant when compared with the immediacy of the one you've just passed.

I had fallen into what Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance calls a "gumption trap". I felt weary, and bored, and demotivated. I was totally gump-less.

So I pulled out the old Atlantic psychological toolkit. I bribed myself with extra rations. I changed the edifying audiobook 1491 for the escapism of a novel. I took a post-lunch siesta. And I set myself a more immediate, interim target that I should be able to reach within the next few days.

And it pretty much worked. I didn't row quite as many hours as usual, but I achieved about 80%. And most importantly, I'm not beating myself up over it. There are bound to be days when I feel like this. Any challenge is, well, challenging, and gumption traps happen.

The thing is to carry on doing my best - and to accept that on some days my best will be better than on others. And tomorrow's another day.

Other stuff:

Position at 2130 17th July Pacific Time, 0430 18th July UTC: 25 21.109'N, 132 22.819'W.

All kinds of weather today - sun, rainclouds (but barely any rain), rainbows - and lots of wind, fortunately coming from the right direction.

I saw my first flying fish today - a tiddler of about 1 inch that hit me in the side of the head while I was rowing. I would have taken a photo, but I wanted to get the poor little fellow back in the water asap, just in case he had any chance of survival. He didn't look too lively though. Maybe he was scared to death - either by whatever creature had induced him to fly out of the water, or by unexpectedly finding himself on the deck of a small ocean rowboat.

SIGN UP FOR THE NEWSLETTER! We now have a facility for you to sign up for a newsletter. At the moment it goes out once a week, on Thursdays, and after a short message gives you a list of links to the week's blogs. In the "off-season", while I'm not on the ocean, it will go out every couple of months with any important news or a general update. If you'd like to sign up, go to my Home page, and down at the bottom you'll find a box labeled: "Sign up to the Roz Savage newsletter, just enter your email address:"

Hello and thank you to all who write in and/or lend their support to my venture - today especially to Sindy Davis. And to Chris Martin for the laugh! John H - I watched the movie Deep Water last year - made me cry. Fascinating story, and well told in the film. Comments on my visor - a gift from my friend Mariya, courtesy of the Kailua Canoe Club. I may not be there yet, but I've got the headgear already! Hi to Greg K. Thanks, Chuck, for your concern about my weight - but I really don't think I've lost any. Those chubby cheeks are still there!

Owww. Must go. I need somewhere more comfortable to sit to write my blogs! Like a nice dry study somewhere..


Some extracts from a press release by BLUE Project:

Sport met environment at the launch event of the BLUE Climate and Oceans exhibition at Westminster yesterday as Olympic Minister, the Rt. Hon Tessa Jowell MP and the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP both made pledges to be BLUE.

The exhibition which was attended by ministers, sustainable energy business leaders, Olympic representatives and sports ambassadors focused on how sport can be a mechanism to engage with people to actively care about sustaining our water environments.

One of the big project ideas to engage our communities that was showcased at the exhibition called The BLUE? Mile, is a mass participation event designed to bring together our coastal communities in the UK on a huge scale to celebrate our natural resources. Inspired by the need to leave a wide-spread environmental legacy from the Olympic and Paralympic Games, it is hoped that this event will become part of the Cultural Olympiad towards 2012.

Speaking at the launch event Hilary Benn said: "It's astonishing what you have achieved, with initiatives like this that get people involved we have a better chance of making sure that we live in harmony with the Earth, whether on the green of the land or the blue of the sea."

Tessa Jowell said: "By 2012 this has the potential to be engaging 100,000's of children all over the world and I feel privileged to witness the beginning. It's such a pleasure to be here today and I'm looking forward to competing my BLUE mile next year."

Rob Gauntlet, youngest Everest climber and 180 Degree Pole to Pole adventurer said: "This project is young, fresh, ambitious and adventurous. Instead of just discussing the issues, the project gets people directly involved."

Click here to see Day 54 of the Atlantic Crossing January 23, 2005. Questions, Questions - and some answers.

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Day 53: Rowboat as a Microcosm
Roz Savage
16 Jul 2008, The Brocade

Living on a small boat, I've become very aware of my inputs and outputs. For example, if there isn't enough sun to power my solar panels, I don't get enough electricity. The only food supply is what I have on board (or what I manage to catch). Water has to come from reserves, rainwater (none so far) or handpumping.

And rubbish has to be stored and carried back to land.

Fortunately I don't generate much. Food wrappers form most of it, and they fold down small. Then there are a few empty bottles of toiletries, propane bottles for my cook stove, and that's about it. So far my "trash can" (the hatch underneath my rowing position) contains just two small trash bags - biodegradable ones, of course.

But for immediate purposes, there is no "away" - when something is thrown away, it is still here, on board.

If only more people were brought face to face with their trash this way, it might make them think twice before consigning something to the bin. But in our "civilized" world, we put out the rubbish, it gets taken away, and we probably don't give it another thought.

If you had to keep three months-worth of rubbish in a corner of your kitchen, I wonder if you would try to generate less. Or figure out ways to re-use some of it - composting, mending, finding another use for things. It would be an interesting exercise.

Other stuff:

Position at 2200 16th July Pacific Time, 0500 17th July UTC: 25 38.815'N, 131 50.136'W.

Today has been HOT, and I've been glugging water like, err, like I had a working watermaker on board. It's been a long day too - many hours at the oars. Am now dead beat, and writing this blog with my last ounce of energy...

My friend Margo Pellegrino is on a 500-mile journey by outrigger canoe from New Jersey to Washington, DC in support of Oceans 21, a Healthy Oceans Act to save our seas. Well done Margo!

Hi also to Paul Gleeson (Atlantic ocean rower), Aleksey (amp still going strong!), Elena and Konstantin.

Tom Goodman asked what kind of watch I am wearing: a G-Shock Pathfinder. Solar powered, barometer, compass and altimeter. The last not much needed at the moment - I think we can safely say I am at sea level!

Click here to view Day 53 of the Atlantic Crossing Day 53, January 22 2005, A Funny Kind of Freedom - rather different from freedom on land.

Watch Leo Laporte talking to Roz live on on Thursdays, Saturdays and Tuesdays at 10am Pacific Time, 6pm GMT

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Day 52: Zen and the Art of Ocean Rowing
Roz Savage
16 Jul 2008, The Brocade

Today I have been listening to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I've read it before, in March 2004 - it was one of the many books on philosophy and religion that I gorged on during a self-imposed one-month retreat in a cottage on the windswept west coast of Ireland - and which lay the groundwork for my decision in August that year to row the Atlantic.

It's been good to read it again, and to be reminded of certain lessons. One of those lessons was about "stuckness" - something I've certainly been able to relate to recently. According to the book, a certain amount of stuckness is to be expected in any challenging undertaking (be it mending a motorcycle or rowing an ocean) but if you persevere through the stuckness you can always resolve the problem. Eventually.

I got pretty stuck under the Golden Gate Bridge when I first set out from San Francisco. I thought the tide would never let me through. I battled it for about half an hour - then, just as the camera crew was packing up to go home, the tide changed and/or I moved over closer to the north pylon and passed out into the open ocean.

Then I got stuck again at 124 degrees West. For a very long time.

And I may well get stuck again. Weather will do that to you.

But I've accepted that progress is rarely linear. In all kinds of contexts, on dry land as well as on the water, I've often slogged away at something and wondered if I will ever break through. And, 9 times out of 10, I have - although often the breakthrough has come about in a surprising way. Like I'll have been working away on one potential sponsor for ages - and then a generous donation comes from an entirely different quarter.

Or when I was looking for a life purpose - I knew what my values were and knew that they would guide me towards it, but I couldn't find the actual Thing that would meet those criteria - until one day, when I wasn't even thinking about it, the answer hit me like a thunderbolt from the blue.

I sometimes feel like the universe is testing me. I have to put in the donkey work, and eventually I get my reward - just not always from the direction I expected. Einstein once said that problems are rarely solved on the level at which they were created. He also reckoned that he wasn't any smarter than the next person (hmm, debatable), he just stuck at problems for longer.

All of which leads me to the conclusion that often the difference between failure and success is perseverance.

Other stuff:

Position at 2145 15th July Pacific Time, 0445 16th July UTC: 25 47.506'N, 131 14.001'W.

Been going great guns today. The wind has been coming out of the NE, and has been strong enough to create a swell also from that direction, both of which have helped me along. Strange weather though - lots of sunshine but also the occasional big black raincloud. I've had my buckets out a couple of times today, but the actual rainfall has been minimal. So no hair-washing just yet!

Any rumours (MarineTrack) that I have been doing 5 knots are probably much exaggerated. 3 knots possibly, but 5 would be the stuff of dreams!

Thanks to all the regulars for the lovely messages.

Click here to see Day 52 of the Atlantic Crossing 21st January 2005, Blue Skies and Cable Ties - more problems with broken oars.

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