The Voyage: Roz Savage
Moving House
17 Dec 2008, Leeds, UK

My website is about to retreat behind builders' hoardings while we carry out some exciting redevelopment work. But don't go away! It will still be very much business as usual behind the hoardings, with blogs, photos, and micro-updates galore. Read on to find out more.

For the next few weeks when you come to you will see just a single page (aptly named a "splash" page in techie jargon) with links to my old site, my new blog, and my podcasts. Blogging will be continuing as normal - just click on the "Blog" link to take a look.

Those of you who have signed up with Feedblitz to receive email alerts when I post a blog, I have added a sign-up box to the new Blog. I haven't figured out a way to transfer over the list of existing Feedblitz subscribers - for anti-spamming reasons they make it very difficult (if not impossible) to do so. Quite right too, in principle, but occasionally inconvenient in practice.

So if you wouldn't mind please taking 10 seconds to click here and enter your email address in the box in the left sidebar I would be most grateful. I would hate to lose you!

The new website will launch in late January if all goes according to plan - and believe me, from what I have seen so far, it will be well worth the wait. Lots of new goodies on the way, including many of the fantastic ideas that emerged from the quiz I ran a few weeks ago, "What can do for you?" Many thanks to all those who took the time to complete the form, and I think you will like what you see.

So from Sailblogs - the platform that has served me well since 2003 - this is goodbye. But from me, it is just au revoir, and I'll see you over on the new blog at Blogger.

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It Ain't Over Till The Fat Lady Reaches Shore...
13 Dec 2008, Leeds, UK

The last week has seen two intrepid adventurers forced to abandon their separate bids to cross the Pacific solo. On Wednesday it was announced that Anne Quemere, veteran of two oar-powered Atlantic crossings, had been forced to abandon her kite-boat half-way across the Pacific. And today came the news that Alex Bellini has been rescued just 65 miles from the coast of Australia, 10 months after setting out from Peru.

Alex is no stranger to adversity. In 2004 his first attempt to cross the Atlantic ended when his boat was shipwrecked on a rocky island off the coast of Spain. On his second attempt he ran out of food after 175 days at sea, and had to be resupplied.

And of course I've suffered my own setbacks - my Pacific attempt last year ended in disappointment when I capsized 3 times in 24 hours and an over-concerned wellwisher called out the US Coast Guard. (I had taken out insurance with a private medical rescue company to eliminate the need to call the Coasties, but matters were taken out of my hands once that phone call had been made - without my knowledge or consent. See the video links below for more.)

The purpose of this blog is to try and put some perspective on the risks inherent in ocean rowing.

Yes, the ocean is a challenging and occasionally hostile environment.
Yes, sometimes rescue is necessary.
And yes, ocean adventurers have voluntarily chosen to put themselves into this potentially dangerous situation, unlike fishermen or naval captains or commercial skippers who brave the sea because their livelihood depends on it.


As a percentage, far fewer people die while rowing an ocean than die on Everest. Over 300 people have successfully rowed an ocean, with only seven ocean-rowing fatalities (2%), compared with 1,400 successful summiteers on Everest and 179 fatalities (13%).

And while I take the attitude that if I have got myself into a sticky situation then it should be up to me to get myself out of it, I have been impressed by the camaraderie and concern shown by most seafarers. Whether it is sharing expertise, tools and skills while in port, or offering life-saving assistance in mid-ocean, the code of the sea seems to be that we are all in the same boat (metaphorically speaking).

It is a bit like the "spirit of the Blitz" that prevailed in the East End of London during World War II - a crisis can be a great leveller, when our best hope of survival is to unite forces - regardless of whether our vessel is a 500-foot container ship or a 24-foot rowboat.

And long may that attitude prevail.

Note: Note: Alex's route is rather different from mine. He set out from Lima, Peru, bound non-stop for Sydney, Australia. I am rowing from San Francisco to Cairns, Australia, via long stopovers in Hawaii and the South Pacific. I would love to make landfall in Sydney - it is one of my favourite cities in the whole world - but the winds and currents are very challenging on the approach, and it is also significantly further than Cairns. Ocean rowing is hard enough - I don't feel the need to make it any tougher than necessary!

Videos of the end of the Pacific attempt, 2007:

Trans Pacific Rower Hoisted By Humboldt Bay Coast Guard

What led up to the rescue

Mission: Find the Brocade (slideshow, no sound)

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Eco For You
12 Dec 2008, Leeds, UK

As if sharing a listing with the likes of Robin Knox-Johnston, Joshua Slocum, and Ellen Macarthur wasn't enough excitement for one week, now I'm featured in the same e-magazine as President-Elect Obama. I'll be having trouble getting my swollen head through doorways - let alone into my boat's cabin...

It's a really nice article about my role as a BLUE Ambassador, along with some photos you may not have seen before.

Speaking of The BLUE Project, I was sorry to see that fellow BLUE Ambassador Anne Quemere has been forced to abandon her attempt to kite across the Pacific. I sent her this short message of commiseration:

I am sorry to hear that you have had to abandon your attempt. I went through that last year, and it was tough. But as they say, "Better a live donkey than a dead lion" and I am so pleased that you are safe and well - and am sure that you will succeed next time around.

with love, respect, and best wishes

And I'm sure this is true. You can't keep a good ocean-going woman down!

[photo: a photo from the Hawaii beach clean-up - of me with JUNK rafter Joel]

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Ocean Rowing - The Poor Relative?
10 Dec 2008, Barnes, UK

I'm asking myself how I feel to be listed as a Famous Sailor. On the one hand I am unbelievably flattered to be listed alongside such dazzling luminaries as Francis Chichester, Robin Knox-Johnston, Joshua Slocum, and Ellen Macarthur.

On the other hand, I am definitely the odd one out - especially as I don't know my luff from my leech (or I do now, but only because I looked it up on Wikipedia).

In fact, I think I may even have an inferiority complex about being a rower rather than a sailor. Sailing seems so much more glamorous than rowing. My image of the sailor is not of the storm-battered sailor battling his way through a Force Ten, but of a serene sea captain, wind in his hair, flying swiftly across the sparkling waves with the wind in his soap-powder-white sails.

Whereas the rower, no matter how hard they row, is rarely going to top four knots, and the miles are won by blood, sweat and tears.

I'd be interested to know - how do you perceive the life of the ocean rower? Does it seem a romantic, noble cause? Or a fool's errand?!
[photo: one of the better days... the Atlantic, December 2005]

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