The Voyage: Roz Savage
Day 70: Message from Monty
08 Feb 2006

Monty enjoying some fresh sea air - between the Argos
beacon and the satphone antenna.

8 Feb, 06 - 20:38

There has been a request to hear more from Monty, the teddy bear from Southbourne Junior School and ship's First Mate. So here he is... over to you, Monty.


I didn't realise this was the slow boat to Antigua. We've been out here for 70 days now, and still a long way to go. A bear can get bored of life at sea.

I should have got a ride with those nice boys Ben and James - than I'd be home and dry and doing the chat show circuit now. And I'd be in their documentary. I'd be famous! Instead I'm still stuck out here in the great blue yonder, having to listen to Roz's awful singing as she rows.

Would somebody please tell Molly, the other Southbourne teddy, that I haven't been lost at sea, that I will be back eventually, and she mustn't get tired of waiting and go off with any of the other toys.

And that's all from me for now.


Other stuff:

Today has been humid and squally - hard to know from one moment to the next what the weather was going to do. The oar repairs are bearing up well, although the silver duck tape is hugely inferior to the black version - it is soft and wears through very easily, so I have to be very careful not to scuff it when putting the oars in or out of their gates, because if this tape wears out There Is No More.

I second Monty's opinion that we've been at sea plenty long enough. Other rowers speak of a nirvana where wind, swell and current all line up and it's possible to cover 50 miles in a day, with 20 miles of drift overnight. So far these conditions have eluded me. Any time now would be nice...

Texts: thank you for all the messages. As always, they help keep me entertained and cheerful. And it was a Bumper batch today! Thanks to AJ (glad somebody understands importance of own-steam), Penny Stagg, Colin Habgood, Pauline (yes re land-legs, already worried my first act on dry land will be to fall over!), John T (yes, good one - will memorise), DB (favourite album is Songs of Faith and Devotion by Depeche Mode. Jerk chicken in Antigua - no idea!), Charlie Martin (nice to e-meet you, and congrats to David), Kurt (sky-diving? I fancy that...), Richard Powles (I hope to be off adventuring in 2007, but do ask me nearer the time! Regards to all at the Univ dinner on 23/2), Lizann, James Oglethorpe, Margaret and Bob (you do wonders for a girl's ego! Do you charge for your ego-boosting services?!), JB (more Monty as requested! Sponsorship?), Victoria H, HSS, Avelline (welcome! 3 kids and you still find time to row - wow!), the Galls (glad you understand the oar issue!).

Rita Savage's PS: Sponsored Miles coming up: 1870 Nicholas Mardon-Taylor; 1888 Mat Ellis; 1899 Frances Barber - those after 1900 tomorrow perhaps? Thanks for your support.
Monty: from what I've read about Ben and James, you might have suffered some discomforts there too when their boat pitchpoled!

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

Wind: E, about 8-20 knots (estimate)
Weather: mostly overcast, occasional sunshine
Sea state: moderate to rough
Hours rowing: 12

Atlantic Row Part 3
| | More
Day 69: The Rhythm of Life
07 Feb 2006

Sunset about 5pm Antigua time.

7 Feb, 06 - 20:40

Yesterday's oar trouble was inconvenient, not least because it disrupted my routine, and I've come to treasure my routine like a new best friend.

It took me a long time to settle into the rhythm of life at sea, partly because of the storms-and-sea-anchor stage, when every day brought different circumstances, and partly because being solo it's entirely up to me to set my own schedule, and free choice can be a tricky thing.

I had this notion that there was a 'right' routine waiting to be discovered, so I kept experimenting with 3 hour shifts and 4 hour shifts, catnaps and night shifts, row all day and a full night's sleep, in the hope that one particular pattern would feel easier, more natural, than the others. Eventually I realised that when it comes to routine it doesn't matter what it is - you simply have to define it and stick to it. And that no matter what routine you use, there is no easy way to row an ocean.

So what is my routine?

0430 (Antigua time) Alarm goes off, have breakfast
0445 (0845 GMT) Phone Mum to talk admin, messages, race news, etc
0500-0800 Rowing shift #1
Break and nap
0900-1200 Rowing shift #2
Break and nap
1300-1600 Rowing shift #3
Break and post dispatch
1700-2000 Rowing shift #4
2030 Bedtime - bliss!

I also take a 10 minute mini-break in every hour. During my breaks I write up the ship's log, have a snack, tend to my sprouting seeds, work on my dispatch, pick up text messages, have a sponge bath, etc.

It works for me. I've discovered the hard way that when there's a huge task to be done, like rowing 3000 miles, the least painful way to do it is set up a routine and stick to it... weather and oars permitting.

Other stuff:

The going/rowing continues to be heavy in an adverse swell and unhelpful NE wind. These conditions are due to last until Friday at least... Oh sweet water, where art thou?

Other stuff:

Congratulations to Chris Martin on his arrival in Antigua. He went through so much to get there - a thoroughly deserved success, and I hope he's now enjoying a few celebratory drinkies ashore.

A couple of texters have strongly encouraged me to get replacement oars. I appreciate your concern, but realistically, the oars wouldn't get to me for about 2 weeks (unless the support yacht already has some on board, and I don't think it does), and if I've managed for that long with these ones, I may as well carry on...

Thanks for texts and messages from Pauline Appleby (thanks for drinks money awaiting me in Antigua!), Caroline Haines, John T (Mum will video Cracknell/Fogle programme for me), Brian, Jo Allen (hi to Furnivall RC!), James Oglethorpe (lovely message, and joke made me smile!), DB (I dreamed about flapjacks last night - sad but true! And your mother's ARE the best), HSS (my boat is completely different construction from Chris's, so unfortunately bed slat splints not an option), Di Hewlett, Jane Bond, Tom Kucharski in Poland.

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

Wind: NE, about 15 knots (estimate)
Weather: cloudy morning, sunshine and clouds later
Sea state: moderate
Hours rowing: 12
Lyric of the day: Any way the wind blows
/ Doesn't really matter to me (Bohemian Rhapsody)

Atlantic Row Part 3
| | More
Day 67: Black Monday
06 Feb 2006

6 Feb, 06 - 21:34

I knew today was going to be tough, and it has lived up to expectations.

With the conflicting influences of the eddy, the wind and the swell, waves have been coming at me from all directions and the going has been heavy - less like rowing, more like weightlifting. I usually rate about 20 strokes per minute, but today it has been 16, and my usual speed of around 2 knots has been down to a disheartening 1 knot.

And, worse still, I broke an oar. Again. Not really surprising, in these rough conditions. Sikaflexed-Spoon, which had been the only oar with loom intact, has loom intact no more. A sideswiping wave broke it just below the collar. I've got the routine down pat now - out with the hacksaw, out with the duck tape. Chop another chunk off the sacrificial oar and tape it up.

I thought that would do the trick, but it wasn't enough. A few hours later, another big wave, and the oar cracked again. Visions of waiting a week for a support yacht to bring replacements flashed across my mind's eye. And it would mean losing my unsupported status. I wasn't ready to give up yet.

But what to use as a splint? Both sections of the boathook were already in service, and I needed something strong and at least a foot long.

There was an option I'd considered previously - the axles from my spare rowing seat - but I hadn't been able to figure out how to dismantle it. I tried again, but even after calling boatbuilder Richard Uttley for advice I still l couldn't manage it. So out came the hacksaw again, and after some energetic sawing I had my splints.

But this repair has used up the last of my duck tape - I started out with 3 rolls of it. And still many miles to go.

What will come to an end first - my Atlantic row, my mending materials, or my baby wipes?

Texts: thanks for messages from George from Atlantic4 (great to hear from you! Well done on a great row), Caroline Haines (get rid of the TV and don't read the papers - it helps!), Tim Ratbag, John T (sorry, I don't get the clue), Margaret and Bob, James Oglethorpe, Clarkie, Jeff, DB.

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

Wind: E, about 15 knots (estimate)Weather: sunshine and clouds
Sea state: moderate
Hours rowing: 12

Atlantic Row Part 3
| | More
Day 66: He who would an ocean rower be
05 Feb 2006

5 Feb, 06 - 20:54

Some texters have said they are envious of me. Why?! It's not exactly a barrel of laughs out here.

But I know what they mean - there was a time when I was envious of people like me too. I was living in London, doing a job that didn't seem in tune with my values or my abilities, but I thought I needed a certain level of income and this job was the only way I could see of achieving it. I felt trapped. I would sometimes escape by reading books about mountaineers, polar trekkers and other adventurers. And yes, I would envy them.

It was this envy that gave me a clue my life wasn't going the way I wanted it to. One day I did an interesting exercise - I wrote two versions of my obituary - the one I was heading for if I carried on as I was, and the one I really wanted. The contrast was startling.

It still took another 3 or 4 years of gradual changes before the two obituaries started to converge, but I'm getting there.

The first thing is to figure out what it is that you're envying. If you envy me, is it because you actually want to row an ocean? Or is it the freedom? The adventure? The personal challenge? The opportunity to get fit and healthy? Or is it just that the grass is greener, and you simply want an escape from your current lifestyle?

And if you want to do something about it, what's stopping you? If you really, really, really wanted to do something about it, would you let anything stop you?

As George Eliot said, 'It's never too late to be what you might have been'.

Here's a little ditty I made up while I was rowing today...

As I row across the sea
I'm very happy to be me
Life is simple, life is free
Oh what better way to be!

There are many ways to live your life
Some are easy, some may bring strife
But please don't say, when you are through
'There's still so much I wanted to do'

Other stuff:

Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea

The latest on the eddy/swell dilemma - it was a tough call, but I decided to try and get further north (or at least, not go any further south) before the northerly swell kicks in tomorrow. This means I'm dicing with the worst of the eddy. It also means heavy, heavy going. I've worn out a pair of rowing gloves in record time. The next 2 or 3 days will show whether or not I made the right decision.

Note for Sean Chapple re my ExplorersWeb Contact 3 setup:

I've found it great. It's very basic software, but it works - which is all I want!


1. Do as Tom suggests and prepare your dispatch using Pocket Word. If you have to reset your iPaq (which I have to do quite regularly) you will lose your dispatch if you've done it straight into Contact 3.

2. Look after the kit carefully, especially the HET cable. Mine got damp and didn't like it. But it did recover after a few days.

3. I initially had a problem with the iPaq going into sleep mode in mid-upload. Set the auto-sleep to max (5 mins). If you're uploading photos it may take longer than 5 mins, so touch the screen from time to time to stop it going to sleep.

4. If at first the Iridium link doesn't work, keep trying. I quite often get errors, but it usually works eventually, and sometimes even at the first attempt! Remember, technology knows when you're in a hurry... allow enough time to do your dispatch, and all will be well...

Texts: thanks for the messages from HSS, John T (Chicago? Or Boston? Sorry - not ready to give you a clue as to my project. Still need to check feasibility, and research opportunities rather limited at the moment!), Caroline Haines, Margaret and Bob, Sandi (nice idea about listing my favourite nursery rhymes, but it's far too long since I was a child and I can't remember any!), Brian (thanks for letting me know re Shaolin monks - they were awesome!)

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

Wind: E, about 15 knots (estimate)
Weather: sunshine and clouds
Sea state: moderate
Hours rowing: 12

Atlantic Row Part 3
| | More



Powered by XJournal