(Picture: Girls’ night out in Las Vegas. Our last evening together before Rita returned to the UK, and Roz set out on the Pacific.)
Recently I watched the Speaker Showreel which is on the Media page of Roz’s website. As I watched Roz, I thought: “She is no longer my little girl. She has grown in maturity and wisdom, far beyond anything I could have given her.” From time to time people do ask whether anything in her childhood might have indicated the sort of life she lives now. Not really.
She does blame her genetic makeup – my father was an adventurer of sorts. Living in South Africa all his life, he explored every natural site that he knew about , waterfalls, caves, rock formations, canyons, and he always had a boat of some sort. His grandfather emigrated from England to New Zealand in 1842, returning to England in 1843. Later, in 1849 he took the family off to South Africa. On these long voyages there were two births at sea in the family. Further back in history, a soldier fought against the Americans in their war of independence, and as the wives travelled with the soldiers, my great-great-grandmother was born at sea near America. The sea must have seeped into our genes.
Having married a Yorkshireman, Roz and her sister were both born in England. From an early age we taught them to be independent, perhaps succeeding too well. From about ten years of age onwards, Roz was always self-disciplined and organized, planning her life and succeeding in what she set out to do. When she married I suppose we heaved a sigh of relief. She had a good husband, a good job, and eventually a lovely big house in London.
It was shock then when she announced that she was leaving all that behind to go adventuring. When she first mentioned rowing across the Atlantic, I just shrugged my shoulders and thought that if I ignored it, this idea would go away. It did not, as you know. I was especially troubled when she said that she did not want to be a part of the Atlantic Rowing Race. I could not imagine her going out there all on her own. Her hopes were overruled by the organisers of the race and she did take part.
Looking back, I think it was a scheme on her part to invite me to spend a month with her near Portsmouth Harbour, to work on the boat in preparation for the race. Perhaps she knew that if I got deeply involved in the project I would become a real part of it. The rest is history.
When she arrived near Antigua at the end of the rowing race, her first words to me when we went out to meet her “We’ve done it!” I am proud of Roz and what she is doing, and pleased to be able to do what I can for her. In fact, the more I do, the less I worry!
Position at 2110 Pacific time, 0410 11th July UTC: 26 58.756 N, 128 47.140 W.
Click here to see Day 47 of the Atlantic Crossing 16 th January 2006, Wet but Safe