First Woman To Row Solo Across Three Oceans
Roz Savage holds four world records for ocean rowing, including first woman to row solo across three oceans: the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. She has rowed over 15,000 miles, taken around 5 million oarstrokes, and spent cumulatively over 500 days of her life at sea in a 23-foot rowboat. In 2010 she was named Adventurer of the Year by National Geographic.
ATLANTIC ROW (2005-6)
In 2005, Roz Savage became the first woman to complete the Atlantic Rowing Race – solo. She set out from the Canary Islands with 3,000 miles of empty ocean ahead of her, carrying nothing more could be squeezed in her boat. Alone and with no support, Roz fought storms that broke every one of her oars before she had reached halfway, and also claimed her camping stove, stereo, and cockpit navigation instruments.
As the Atlantic Ocean gradually reduced her boat to the bare essentials, Roz’s voyage captured the attention of people all over the world. Despite her testing circumstances, Roz managed to keep a blog that she updated by satellite phone. Her determination to never surrender in the face of almost overwhelming conditions struck a chord with thousands around the globe. People stayed tuned as she repaired her oars, was blown backwards by adverse winds, and hit the wall – both physically and mentally.
When, 24 days before the end of her row, Roz’s satellite phone, too, succumbed to the harsh conditions onboard, Roz was presented with the toughest challenge yet – total isolation. But she perservered, an after 103 days alone at sea, she rowed into English Harbour, Antigua, and into the history books.
PACIFIC ROW – STAGE 1 (2008)
After an aborted attempt on the Pacific in 2007, when her boat capsized 3 times in 24 hours, Roz set out from under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco on May 25, 2008. For the first few weeks, strong winds repeatedly blew her back towards the Californian coast, but eventually she broke free and struck out towards Hawaii.
Unfortunately the rough conditions had taken their toll, and her watermaker succumbed to rust damage a few weeks later. A lucky encounter with some fellow environmental campaigners, also on a mission to bring attention to the plastic pollution in the North Pacific Garbage Patch, enabled Roz to replenish her water supplies. The encounter with the JUNK Raft also offered the opportunity for one of the most surreal dinner parties ever to take place – on board a vessel made of 15,000 empty water bottles, in mid-ocean several hundred miles east of Hawaii, with a menu of freshly-harpooned mahi-mahi.
Roz rowed in past Diamond Head on the Hawaiian island of Oahu after 99 days at sea, the first woman ever to row from California to Hawaii.
PACIFIC ROW – STAGE 2 (2009)
At sunset on May 24, 2009, Roz set out from Waikiki Yacht Club in Hawaii to row to Tuvalu in the South Pacific. This stage of her row was enlivened by a great number of encounters with marine wildlife, including a whale shark, dolphins, whales and turtles, and several booby birds who decided that her boat would be a convenient resting place and settled in for several weeks. There was also a very messy incident with three low-flying squid, who in their bid to escape from a predator by propelling themselves at high speed out of the water, were no doubt very surprised to find a small ocean rowboat in their way.
Once again the watermaker succumbed to conditions, and when strong westerly winds eventually made it impossible to reach Tuvalu, Roz was forced by dwindling food and water supplies to make landfall instead on the island of Tarawa in Kiribati. There she met the President, and learned from him how he plans to relocate his people as their low-lying islands become uninhabitable due to rising sea levels.
PACIFIC ROW – STAGE 3 (2010)
At sunrise on April 19, 2010, the President of Kiribati was amongst the small crowd that waved Roz off from the Marine Training Centre in Tarawa for the third and final stage of her solo row across the Pacific. This voyage was notable for its brevity, a mere 48 days at sea, largely due to the strong currents in the western Pacific. Roz’s average daily mileage was 49 miles, compared with her previous best-ever day of 42 nautical miles.
Wildlife sightings were rare, but container ships were frequent, with 5 ships sometimes within sight as she passed through the Solomon Sea on the final approach to Papua New Guinea. On Friday, June 4, Roz arrived in Madang to a warm welcome. Around 5,000 people lined the shore to greet her, and many more came out in traditional canoes to escort her the last half mile into port, cheering her on as she became the first woman to row solo across the Pacific Ocean.