The Voyage: Roz Savage
Day 53 A Funny Kind of Freedom
22 Jan 2006

Big ocean, small boat

22 Jan, 06 - 18:51

This morning's shift was abandoned due to excessively painful shoulder. When a jarring wave reduced me to tears I retreated to the cabin, took another painkiller (now out of dihydrocodeine - boo) and slept for a couple of hours.

The afternoon was considerably better. Dosed up and liberally sprayed with Deep Heat the shoulder was tolerable. And I only had to stop once for another oar repair. The show goes on.

There are, in fact, moments when I feel like I'm in an alternative Truman Show, with all of you on the outside looking in at me as I bob around in my bizarre little marine world - I keep wonndering when I'm going to bump into the painted scenery of the sky like the scene at the end of the film.

But I know this is just a temporary life - real life awaits me. And although I constantly try to cultivate patience, I have to confess to being increasingly keen to get back to that life. A recent text made me stop and think about my 'normal' i.e. dry land, life. It said 'u will never be this free again'.

I've realised that I enjoy an uncommon degree of freedom in my normal life, so much so that by comparison I don't feel free out here. In the last 3 or 4 years I've re-engineered my life to make myself as free as ssible. I've opted out of most of the things that make people feel un-free. By not wanting a home or material possessions I don't need to have a regular income. By not having one special relationship I can do what I want, when I want.

The only things I really want out of life are good health, good food, good friends, and freedom, and all these things I enjoy in abundance.

I realise that I'd started to take my exceptionally nice life for granted, especially the freedom. After three months confined to a 23-foot boat, rowing all day every day I can't wait to be back on dry land and enjoy freedom of movement and freedom of choice over what to do with my time. And freedom to eat sesame chicken (today's food craving).

Mum - hope you've had a lovely birthday. Although I hear your voice every day, I can't wait to see you in Antigua for a belated birthday hug! Rxxx

Texts: John T (most embarrassing moment? Allow a girl some secrets!), Philip Goodier (thank your son for the joke - made me laugh!), Bethia at OUWBC (ah, happy memories!), Margaret and Bob in Staines, Snowy (no need to vex yourself over my hot food situation - thanks for trying, but I really don't mind the temperature of the food - it's the variety and freshness that I miss), tbeshoff in NZ (will take care - no sunburn yet), Nic (thanks for encouragement).

For GPS position, race position and miles from La Gomera, see

Wind: E, 12-15 knots (estimate)
Weather: sunshine
Sea state: moderate
Hours rowing: 10

Atlantic Row Part 2
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Day 52: Blue skies and cable ties
21 Jan 2006

Blue skies ...
21 Jan, 06 - 20:28

I was rowing along this afternoon, admiring the cloud formations and trying not to think about my aching shoulders, when my right oar suddenly started to feel... different. I looked out, and my heart sank when I saw the spoon flapping uselessly at the end of the loom. The Sikaflex had given way. And I thought that stuff was meant to be the stickiest stuff since Mr Sticky the Stick Insect won the Stick of the Year Competition. But maybe it had to be applied to a 'clean dry surface' - not easy to find around here.

So with a sigh of oh-no-here-we-go-again resignation I pulled the oar in for another round of running repairs. First thought was to bolt the spoon onto its boathook splint, but I couldn't drill through the centre of the spoon - must be reinforced with something strong. So instead I drilled two holes either side and threaded a cable tie through to secure it in place.

..... and cable ties. Oar traumas again.

I hope it holds. For some reason it's become important to me to complete this row unsupported, and I don't want to have to call for outside help to resupply me with oars. So I'll hobble along with my cobbled-together oars for as long as I can.

Special message to a very special mother: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MUM!!! Wish I'd managed to get to Antigua in time to celebrate it there with you, but we'll make up for lost time when I do finally get there. Have a great day tomorrow. xxx

Texts: Martin Turner (no, haven't read Old Man and the Sea, will think about other question), Bob (not awaiting new oars - want to make it across unsupported if at all possible), John T (hope you had a good time at the footie), Greg Danforth (everything will indeed be just fine!), J-F (no, always wanted to go solo, so don't go having fantasies about two naked women in a boat!), Mark Reid, Karen Luscombe, Gary, Pauline (ouch! hope finger recovers soon, would want Cameron Diaz to play me in a film of my life - or in fact, maybe we could arrange a total life swap - after this I fancy being a glam Hollywood actress for a while!)

For GPS position, race position and miles from La Gomera, see

Wind: E, 25 knots (estimate)
Weather: cloudy, sunshine, squalls
Sea state: very rough
Hours rowing: 0 (spent day repairing oars and allowing wrenched shoulder to recover)

Atlantic Row Part 2
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Day 51: Friday Night Dinner Party
20 Jan 2006

Monty, for "latecomers" who may not have met him before.

20 Jan, 06 - 21:37

News in brief: makeshift oars still holding up, shoulder still painful, wind dropping and hence so is speed. Main sponsor has fallen through so I am £25,000 worse off than I thought I was. Shame - would have been handy for my next adventure. Maybe still time to find another title sponsor. Offers...?

Q from a texter: Which 4 famous people (alive or dead) would you invite to your special dinner party?

A: Good one! I like these questions - they help while away the long hours at the oars. So after much deliberation, here is my choice:

Jesus - I would have so many questions for him, starting with, 'We know you were a pretty special guy, but were you really the son of God? And did you mean it when you said that the only way to him is through you? What about all the people who never got the chance to hear of you? Seems a bit harsh. And if there are other ways, could you please let everybody know so we can stop having religious wars?.' And of course it would be handy to have him around in case we ran out of wine.

My father: I know he wasn't famous, but I'd love to see him again to ask him some of the questions we never got around to before he died. And as a Methodist minister I know he'd love to ask Jesus a thing or two. Or maybe he already has.

Madonna: I admire her for the way she keeps reinventing herself, and her exploration of various philosophies and religions. She's a fantastic role model. I bet she'd have a few questions for Jesus too. Might be a bit of a nightmare trying to provide her with macrobiotic food though - I'd have to find out what it means, first.

Michael Palin: I love his twinkly sense of humour. He would help lighten the mood if it all got too serious. He could give me some tips on how to make a living out of travel. And I'd love to know what Jesus thought of 'Life of Brian'.

Texts: thank you to Marina ( very sweet of you to text me amidst all excitement of EDF arrival in Antigua - well done to the boys, and I'm sure all bits will quickly recover!), Caroline Haines, FDK (only difference - I get fewer texts at weekends - everyone goes off to have a good time and forgets about me! :-( , Martin Chambers (not listening to anything, alas - stereo kaput!), Brian, Duncan CB, John T (did you guess right?), Mike C (glad you enjoyed your Mornflakes!), Mark in Colorado, Clarkie, Judy at Univ (nice of you to say the college is proud of me - 'fraid I didn't help our Norrington ranking much! See you in NY), DB (are you getting my replies to your texts?), AJ (interesting you mention the Iditarod/Yukon Quest. Investigated it but need lifetime experience with dogs. However, do have related project lined up...), Adamski (photo requests tricky), Sam K, Tim Ratbag, James Oglethorpe (welcome!), Amanda Sealy, Hugh Hunter, Steve COTB (what book?!), Karen Luscombe (ah, if only you could text toast...), Thomas Richardson (Monty is ever so slightly damp - like everything else - but otherwise fine and looking forward to getting home to Southbourne Junior School).

For GPS position, race position and miles from La Gomera, see

Wind: E, 12 knots (estimate)
Weather: cloudy, sunshine, squalls
Sea state: moderate
Hours rowing: 9

Atlantic Row Part 2
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Day 50: A Little Bit of Toast
19 Jan 2006

Me. Today.

19 Jan, 06 - 21:26

I know they must be sorely disappointed over being out of the race and losing their boat, not to mention traumatised by spending a night clinging to the upturned hull, but I can't help being just a bit envious of Emily and Sarah of American Fire. They've really lucked out in being picked up by the Stavros S Niarchos.

This is one of the Tall Ships, the magnificent old-fashioned sailing ships crewed by novices. I went with the Juno crew on a guided tour of the Stavros before our departure from Portsmouth. Wow.

Rigging of Stavros Niarchos, November 2005

Apart from the obvious attraction of a proper ship in full sail, the Stavros also has comfy bunks, proper showers, and a professional grade galley serving HOT FOOD! I bet they have toast and everything - buttered toast being today's #1 food craving.

'And would Madam like anything with her toast?'

'Well, now you mention it, how about a large dollop of soft-scrambled free range eggs, two rashers of crisp-grilled organic bacon, a pile of wild mushrooms fried in butter, and two grilled tomatoes. And a mug of Typhoo tea with proper fresh milk. Please.'

Sorry - will have to stop now. Am drooling uncontrollably all over my iPaq. I promise, when I get back to dry land, I will never take good food for granted ever again.

Other stuff:

Slow progress today. My patched-up oars are heavy and unbalanced - it must be akin to wearing callipers for walking - and my wrenched shoulder is still troublesome. The wind has dropped, and so has my speed. It could be a while yet before I get my toast.

Texts: thank you to Nathan in Richmond, Tim Ratbag (groan!), Greg Danforth (hope to see you in AZ later this year), Bri (xx), Mar (besos y abrazos!), J-F, DB, John T (good guess re North America trip, on right lines but wrong song and wrong food), whoever it was who told me about Moveahead - unsigned, but thanks for the update, AJ, Steve @ COTB, Sam K (torturing me with talk of drinks, dinner and company!), Gwenaelle & Hayden, Karen Luscombe (no raindrops today, but now cursed with that song, thank you very much!), Bob (what's an attractive girl like me doing rowing across the pond? Getting away from men like you!).

For GPS position, race position and miles from La Gomera, see

Wind: E, 12-15 knots (estimate)
Weather: cloud and sunshine, showers
Sea state: moderate
Hours rowing: 10, plus lots of pumping out of lockers

Atlantic Row Part 2
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