Britain’s most famous ocean rower, environmental campaigner, already a multi Guinness World Record holder, and the first woman in the world to row three oceans: the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans is going back to her new ‘comfort zone’, the ocean.
The Cheshire-born clergyman’s daughter whose epiphany came after writing up two obituaries herself – one, based on the life she was leading and another, on what she aspired to be, will brave perilous submerged icebergs, man-eating sharks, 30-foot whales, hurricane-force storms, thick fog, giant supertankers and 40-foot waves as she gets back to her oars again for an epic voyage.
Together with Andrew ‘MOS’ Morris, a businessman from Newark, who is also an experienced rower as well as a motor racing enthusiast, Roz is due to set off from Newfoundland, on the East coast of Canada, any time between Monday, May 7 and Monday, May 14, depending on weather conditions to London ! According to the OAR website, “Only 30 individuals have rowed the North Atlantic, and no one has yet completed this together with a row across the UK to London. The record for a pair stands at 55 days 13 hours and has remained unbroken for 115 years. Andrew and Roz will also be the first male/female team to make this attempt.” Aiming to finish their row of 2,000 miles in London through the Bristol Channel and via the inland waterways, they hope to arrive in time to enjoy the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics.
If they succeed, the duo will set two other records: they will become the first pair ever to cross the North Atlantic from Canada to the UK, and will also be the first crew to complete a trans-Atlantic row finishing in London. According to Roz, “Taking on this challenge, I don’t consider myself brave, I just take one oar stroke at a time. The North Atlantic is a notoriously rough, cold and challenging route. Far from being complacent, for me, this is all about stepping outside of my comfort zone. The goal is to arrive in London in time for the Olympics, but I know from experience that the ocean has very little time for my plans. She has her own ideas of when things are going to happen.”
Savage, who has been honoured as a United Nations Climate Hero, is also listed among the Top Twenty Great British Adventurers, and was named Adventurer of the Year by National Geographic in 2010. Andrew and Roz will endure a gruelling routine, rowing two hours on, two hours off, 24 hours a day. Sleep deprivation will be one of the toughest challenges they face. After eating, checking in with base and making any necessary repairs to the boat, they will never get more than 90 minutes sleep at any one stretch. The shift from 2am to 4am is known as the graveyard shift so every evening they will have “happy hour” drinks and dinner (without the cocktails), where they will have a chance to spend time together. They will then alternate the graveyard shift.
The expedition, named The OAR Project, is also intended to raise the profile of two charity initiatives. The first is to raise money to buy a fleet of rowing boats for able-bodied and disabled young people, part of OAR Inspiring, an education programme to inspire and motivate British schoolchildren, many of whom have already signed up. The second is to support the British charity Plastic Oceans, which is dedicated to fighting plastic pollution worldwide, and whose Patrons and supporters include Ben Fogle and Sir David Attenborough.
You can track their journey in real time here.
An Introduction to Roz’s work.