The Voyage: Roz Savage
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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Day 49B Frustrated Idleness
Rita Savage
18 Jan 2006

Delving into a hatch - at La Gomera

18 Jan. 06 - 19.40

For race position and miles from La Gomera see

At 19.05 this evening I had another phone call from a very frustrated Roz. She has tried ten or twelve times to upload her dispatch for today, but each time gets a message that the receiving modem is switched off. Whatever that may mean. This morning she did get Monday's message uploaded, but then asked me to move it away as it was stale news. I moved it to end of Sunday's message from her, so some of you may have seen my note this morning and already read it there.
She has had another day of rough wind, waves, and pouring rain. She has not done any rowing today, giving her shoulder a rest, continuing work on mending her oars - and attempting to do her dispatch. In spite of not rowing, she has moved on 31 miles so far today. Why bother to row? The alternative it to sit uncomfortably in an airtight cabin, in nearly 100% humidity, with everything sopping wet, just occasionally opening the hatch with hands firmly on the handles to gasp a few lungfuls of wet salty air.
Roz is concerned that if she cannot write her dispatches she will lose her audience. How could any of you wonderful people out there desert her at a time like this? From your messages to her she was intrigued to know which picture I had put on the site. Her grinning face in the cabin hatch was one that she had not seen, sent by a friend in Sweden. Thanks Astrid. Perhaps I might add a less flattering picture today.

Weather: heavy rain at times
Sea state: rough.
Hours Rowing: 0

Atlantic Row Part 2
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Day 49: Oarally Challenged
18 Jan 2006

At the time of the breakages all oars were stowed in the upper position. Must have been some big mean wave.

18 Jan, 06 - 18:46

Apologies for being offline for a couple of days. My palmtop was on non-speakers with my satphone, probably due to water somewhere in the data cable. There's water everywhere else, so it's likely it was in the data cable too. Fortunately it seems to have recovered now.

Life has been interesting since I last wrote - rough and wet mostly - which may appeal to some tastes but not especially mine. I need to have words with the race organisers. I thought I'd signed up for Atlantic Lite - the sort of Atlantic Rowing Race where people talked about 'Lake Atlantic', enjoyed silence and serenity, and sipped G&T's at sunset. Instead I seem to have got Atlantic Hardcore - 20 foot waves, capsizes and broken oars.

When I told my mother about the latest casualties she commented, 'The ocean is really stripping you down, isn't it?'. And this is true, metaphorically as well as literally. As I'm left with less and less, it makes me realise how little I actually need, how little is actually important. Everything happens for a reason. So there must be lessons I am meant to learn from this that I couldn't have learned from Atlantic Lite.

Updated Casualty List

New entries:

4th and final oar now damaged - so I have:
Magic bendy oar - irreparable
Oar with no spoon - irreparable
Oar with spoon almost broken off - Sikaflexed and splinted
Oar with shaft broken close to gate (rowlock) - splinted.

Flattened boathook Sikaflexed to spoon of oar.
Note oar shaft to the right - totally decapitated.

I'm amazed and rather indignant about the two broken spoons. These oars were properly stowed alongside the guardrail oars, i.e. with the spoons 4ft clear of the water, and supposedly protected by the guardrail spoons - yet one broke clean off and the other nearly so. For this sort of pressure to be exerted, 4ft above the waterline, on both sides of the boat... That must have been some knockdown.

And more losses overboard:
Thermos mug #2 (1 remaining) with dinner inside
Drinks bottle #2 (1 remaining)
Lip salve #2 (2 remaining)
Bag for para-anchor line
2 buckets (1 remaining)
Alpaca skin seat cover #2 (1 remaining)

Plus flooded lockers:
#5 - beneath aft cabin. Relatively empty, fortunately, but cosy dry alpaca socks as special treat (courtesy of Alpaca Centre near Penrith) are cosy and dry no more
#7 - grab bags and lifejacket are swimming
#13 - jerrycans and cleaning materials. Deliberately left flooded for added ballast.

And an injury:
Wrenched shoulder during a knockdown while at the oars. Back on the Ibuprofen.

Plus previous casualties:
Petzl head torch (contacts rusted)
Camping stove
Navigation instruments
Thermos mug
Lid off thermos flask
Drinks bottle
Storage jar
Alpaca skin seat cover
Lip salve
Milton fluid
...and a comfy foam cushion for sitting on.

In answer to all enquiries, Monty is absolutely fine, thank you, but is very pleased that he has his lifejacket.


Natalie: thanks for the vibes - keep them coming. In answer to your question, the weight is coming off, but probably due more to boredom with food rather than roaring metabolism. Estimate I am eating 2000-3000 calories on a typical day - about the same as pre-race, but now losing weight rather than gaining. Brown fat? Not sure how to tell, but I doubt it. Plenty enough food to see me through, but shortage of food that appeals. That, alas, only dry land can offer.

Thanks for texts from Damian, H and Phoebe West, John T (macrame - been there, done that, got the string bag), Lizan (don't worry - I hope to complete the race AND stay safe), Luke Johnston (great to hear from you - this boat a bit smaller than the trireme, this ocean rougher than the Aegean, too bad no ouzo, also no lunatic Irish dentists on mopeds!), Tim Ratbag, Snowy (good suggestion, already considered, may yet resort to cutting broken oars to make sleeve but reluctant to be without guardrails as they've already saved my life more than once), Richard Latham, Imelda, Mark Reid, Clarkie, Natalie, Mike C, Adamski, Steve Maskell, Alex F, AJ, Guy.

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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