Yesterday morning everything was well with my world. I had carved a
near-perfect course from Geraldton, arcing just north of the Abrolhos
Islands, and making a respectable 60 nautical miles in two days. The sun
was shining and it seemed that finally I was about to get out into the
open ocean where I could start to relax.

Then I decided to recharge my laptop while the sun was at its peak, the
best time to use the power from my solar panels, and while I was in the
cabin setting up the power inverter for recharging it occurred to me
that I really ought to have check the ship’s batteries. I should really
have been doing this every day as part of my routine, but the battery
monitor hadn’t been working since Hawaii in 2009 so I had fallen out of
the habit.

I turned on the battery monitor. It was showing just 11.4V for each of
the batteries, nowhere near the healthy 12.5V or so that I would have
expected in full sunshine with not a cloud in the sky. There was clearly
something wrong.

I got that horrible panicky feeling in my chest that I get whenever
electricals or technology start to fail me. I resisted the urge to stick
my head in the (metaphorical) sand and ignore the problem. This was
potentially serious.

I called Glenn, the electrician in Geraldton who worked on my watermaker
there. We had a sort of conversation, but made little progress. He
speaks electricianish, which is a foreign language to me. Sorry to sound
so, well, blonde about it, but despite my many attempts, I seem to have
a mental block when it comes to electrical matters. We left it that I
would wait another couple of hours and report back on the status of the

Coming back on deck after our call, I spotted a sliver of land on the
horizon. Ah! Maybe this was my lifeline, my last chance saloon for help
before 4,000 miles of open ocean. I checked on the GPS, and
confirmed that I was just 3 miles north of the Abrolhos Islands. I called
Glenn back, he said he could be on the first flight out the next morning
(today) and could even arrange a tow-in to the islands if I wanted it. Cool.

So I found myself on the North Island of the Abrolhos, a beautiful
island of sandy beaches, a few beach houses (or “camps” as they call
them here), and a small population of crayfishermen, temporarily boosted
by a few wives and children still here after the Easter weekend.

And all is now well. It was one of those issues that is difficult to
find, but then thankfully easy to fix. A controller for the solar
panels, which acts a bit like a trip switch, had tripped out and had to
be reset. I felt absolutely vindicated in the decision to stop and call
in Glenn to resolve the problem. There is no way he could have talked me
through it over the phone. I know that in a perfect world I would be
capable of maintaining absolutely every aspect of my boat. What can I
say? I never claimed to be perfect.

So here I am, in yet another unscheduled pit stop. It seems I’m having
the greatest difficulty leaving Australia. I genuinely do love
Australia, but it really is time that I left. Third time lucky?

Other Stuff:

Poor Mum. I’m causing her major headaches here in the administration of
sponsored miles. Is that miles from Freo, miles from Geraldton, or miles
from North Island?! So long as everybody gets thanked, at around the
right time, I hope you will make allowances for the administrative
nightmare that this has become!

Many, many thanks to Mike and Cath Davidson, who have provided bed,
board, and crayfish tails during my unscheduled sojourn on North Island.
Mike has towed in two other ocean rowing crews over the last few years,
which just goes to show how common it is for things to go wrong rather
than right.
As Mum said when I spoke to her from their phone last night, I seem to
be incredibly lucky at finding the nicest people everywhere I go. A
truer word was never spoken.

Sponsored Miles – rowed by Roz since departing from Fremantle! More coming up when she starts rowing again. (Rita Savage.)


  • Glad to see it was an easy fix. It does seem that you are having a more difficult time getting off this time. Having to make land two times now for mechanical problems. However you are off and rowing again. Wish you the very best. I will be following your adventure as I have before.

  • Hey Roz… Probably a stupid question… Did you watch how to reset the controller for the solar panels, the trip switch, in case you need to do it again?

  • Yes Roz, while it is perhaps unglamorous to report your journey-delaying mechanical maintenance decisions, these are smart choices you are making. You need access to potable water without having to pump for hours every day (rowing solo, you need that time to make progress against wind and currents), and it would be a tragedy to lose communications (again), leaving you isolated and possibly fighting despair. Your excellent daily thoughts and comments are appreciated, not to mention just knowing you are alive and well. Here’s hoping the Sedna and her systems are finally ready and your spirits high for the challenge ahead.

  • More good new…..You rowed in and tripped out of the Last Chance Saloon. Now reset, vindicated and ready to row once again. I am engaged by the tenor of your writing, the strength of your perseverance and your lofty goals. I once heard it say that when one encounters unanticipated adversity, just say, “thanks for the opportunity to perfect my performance and also for the opportunity to exercise my sense of humor”. A bit of wisdom there, don’t you know? I trust you experienced both, gave thanks for the all opportunities afforded you recently and you will be well on your way to resume a successful journey. Bon Voyage for you’re back at the waterline upon a sea of wisdom on your way to a perfect world ~

  • You’ve got plenty of solo time ahead so it’s great to take advantage of getting the help you need from the friendly and talented people of Australia to get your boat in order. Next stop Mumbai!!

  • As with the Ashes Roz, the Australians hate to say goodbye to a sporting icon and you’re nothing if not that frankly. However, as we know in the UK, eventually they just have to let it go – so I reckon third time lucky for sure. God speed!

  • I don’t like long goodbyes, but this one is an exception … this has gotten better as it has gotten longer … think what we’d all have missed had you not stopped to “smell the roses” so to speak. These little atolls are beautiful, and I’ve put them on my wish list. Thanks for the ride and for introducing us to new places, Roz. Bon voyage ♥

  • I read this with a heavy heart. While it’s reasonable to stop for help and indeed useful to know when one needs help, these issues appear to stem from inadequate preparation or inexperience and not bad luck.

    I don’t relish being a voice of dissent amongst the cheerleading (and as a donor to this adventure), but I’m now wondering if now maybe Roz will be painted as a sort of naif like Chris McCandless going “Into the Wild” unprepared.

    I cannot help but point out the obvious at this point– namely that if something much worse goes wrong in the open ocean resulting in rescue or worse, these incidents will be looked on (not without justification) as evidence of lack of preparation and will reflect poorly on her, her cause, and her supporters. I’d support her if she wanted to come home at this point and start again later without this baggage and with more readiness.

    Speaking of, I can’t help but think of the lessons of another Jon Krakaur book “Into Thin Air” where the euphoria of the ascent of Everest and the proximity of the adventure clouds the better conservative judgement and leads to a string of fatalities. Perhaps I am exaggerating the concern.

    • Nick: I understand what you are saying – even leaving out that there is a relatively narrow window of time, weather-wise, for Roz to cross the Indian Ocean safely… BUT, two things come to mind… Roz has now proven that she is no fool – stopping to make repairs that she knows would be dangerous not to while she has the chance… So surely she would not be so foolish as to go on unless she felt safe in doing so? And surely she would return “home” if she was not sure of being able to complete this leg safely? Likewise, Stopping now, unless it was fool-hearty to go on, could be just as damaging to the cause, and I fear would be to Roz’ morale. (She has shown us recently how the set-backs have hurt her… She might look at stopping now as an even bigger set-back?) All of us Rozlings would understand and support that choice too… It is her choice – It has to be – for HER morale and otherwise!!!

    • If you read Roz’s book about her Atlantic crossing (which, by the way, includes a great deal of very personal biography) and compare it with the three blogs of her Pacific voyages, it is clear how much better prepared she was each time. She has aquired a lot of very practical experience and also has an extremely efficient and knowlegable team of experts on hand. Roz has become one of the most experienced solo ocean rowers that we have.

      He book is at:

    • I don’t normally admonish nay-sayers But I will let a quote from Roz speak toward this thought above (And I might add most insightful):

      “Recognition that there is something positive to be found in every situation, and that the greater the suffering, the greater the learning. To grow you have to get outside your comfort zone, and getting outside your comfort zone is (duh!) UNCOMFORTABLE!”
      So you can fault her for being an adventurer but to say that she is possibly going to smudge her and our (as supporters) good name is trite.

      Enough said, Have a good one and certainly I can appreciate your concern for Roz. Remember, we wouldn’t all be supporting her or even know of her and her cause if she had decided to keep pushing pencils on her desk in London.

      Very Best,
      Steve Teffenhardt

    • I look at this a very different way. The fact that Roz caught these issues speaks volumes for her level of ability and preparedness. A modern ocean row boat is an incredibly complex network of technology and mechanics. Odds are most successful ocean crossings have at least a couple of problems more serious than the two Roz found and fixed, and the person operating the oars never even knows about them, or ends up fixing them mid-ocean. Show me a single ocean crossing that took place without some sort of a problem or equipment failure. If you want to read about an unprepared ocean rower, google Victor Mooney. Roz is nothing like Mooney. She’s a pro, and I have full confidence in her ability and level of preparedness. Her boat appears to be healthy, and ready for this journey. I’m not a blind cheerleader, either. I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to say so if I thought Roz was under prepared or ill equipped.

    • So Nick, perhaps you will tell us all at some point that your comments were actually written to provoke Roz into saying…”yes I can do this”! That will be my only tolerance for what you have posted. Roz, unprepared…surely you jest? You need only look to her past accomplishments to know what she is capable of doing. Cheerleading? I would say hero-worship is closer to what I feel for the tremendous feats that Roz has, and will continue to accomplish. She has internal motivation that few can equal. Roz, we may be in California, but our thoughts, prayers, and support are on board with you!

    • Nick, re-read the last chapter of Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. He makes a pretty compelling arguement that an unprepared youth in the Alaskan Wilderness would not have survived a week let alone the 112 days that McCandless survives. Not only that, McCandless was able to journal about his death. He left behind key information suggesting that (although it was too late) he found out what he was dying of. Certainly not a death by complete ignorance. (He was saving seeds that inadvertantly fermented and became toxic, the seeds were originally safe in the unfermented form). 


      I always advise people in my rescue classes regarding attempts at rescues (as they are always different) to “make all new mistakes, not the same old tired-out ones that have already been made.” New mistakes have a chance at vindication where as the latter will almost always get censured. Therefore, I cannot justify going into proving grounds with a known equipment failure. I believe that doing so will prove more of a target for mockery in the long run.


      As with all tragedies, as well as the afore mentioned, no one thing makes the event implode. It is always a series of events. Unpreparedness being only one of a long line of miscalculations as well as misfortune. The best way to avoid all of that is to not venture out… but there is no security in that either as the best of people have been killed by cowards and misdeeds as well as misfortune too. Furthermore, the adventure never blossoms if one is to wait for all of preparedness to come around. This is especially true if one were to consider today’s evolving technology and the way we rely on it. (Cost only being yet another consideration)


      This is not a race for Roz. Stopping (or even turning back, or looping) are within the confines of her goals. Being that she is the top one or two percent of all ocean rowers, she will have to make those kind of decicions on her own. You and I will have equal chance at the use of hindsight. She does not have that and many other luxuries. 


      In short, I am positive that honest historical analysis of Roz’s adventures (now or in the distant future) will prove that she is well prepared to make critical judgement calls regarding her ocean rowing.


      Cheers, all best!


      “The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”
      — Thucydides

      • Ok guys, I’m not sure how to reply to all of you, so I’ll reply to this excellent post by Jay among other good ones.

        Having said what I need to say, I’m not going to write here any more because I don’t want to rain on the parade of support. Although I no longer support this mission, I do recognize that moral support is important. I’m not here to detract from your enjoyment or hers–my purpose is only in going on the record to the community of supporters and to Roz’s support group, hopefully to add a contrary voice to the discussion and avert a bad outcome. I’m hardly the first person to voice these concerns to her, so I know she’s strong enough to confront these doubts to her own satisfaction.

        Thank you for your mature and kind insights against my original thinking. I know our brave rower will do what she in her heart knows is right. I trust her to do what she believes is best, regardless of the outcome. I wish her nothing but success. My thinking is that she would hit the reset button on this adventure, regroup, and re-plan it. I wish her, her team, and you all the best luck.

        • Nick- The loss of a dissenting opinion, especially one that is based in concern and also stated in a not-offensive manner (such as yours)… which by the way is very well written… would be a shame. There is no action more stout than to “stand alone”, especially in this crowd.

          Part of the beauty (imho) of any adventure, Roz’s in particular, is that it is open to not only mistakes but also misfortune. Expressing concern for mitigation of these mistakes is welcomed at any outpost, especially when one has not yet begun the adventure!

          Part of rescue teaching is “listening to alarm bells” going off. Usually it is a knowlegdable person who woke up late, did not eat breakfast, left the sunscreen on the kitchen counter with the cell phone charger. Then got his/her finger caught in the… I trust you understand…

          My point is similar to your original post: “Alarm bells” should not be ignored. They should be heeded to at the earliest convenience and addressed as soon as possible.  (This is what I got from your original post).

          If we differ, we differ only in what Roz should do in her reaction. One of those options is to “hit the re-set” button by aborting all together. It is neither better or worse than several other options. It just has different consequences. So you are more than welcome to state it. Your concern is more than admirable.

          Again, it would be a shame to lose your opinion, dissenting or otherwise.

          All best

          The tallest blade of grass, gets cut first 🙂

  • Hey All, My housemate Katy just came up with a cool and unique idea of something very rare that I could try to find for our Purple-Loving Rower Roz as a congratulations surprise for when she completes this leg of her row… There are actually several “Purple” things that I/We could look for, depending on how much the Rozlings want to spend for this memento of her achievement… Any of which she could wear for life as a reminder of the voyage – and all of us… And once we get it, It could be delivered directly to Rita to present to Roz for us in their next reunion… In case no one likes this idea, And not wanting to spoil the surprise for Roz if they do, IF any of you Rozlings would like to hear more, Drop me a note directly at… If you like the idea, then we can pass the idea through the grapevine to see whether anyone else likes the idea, and try to make this work…

      • Angela, I guess you read my mind – having been in the collectibles biz my whole life… BUT, as I am sure you are aware, a “collectible” (Not wanting to hint at what I am thinking about) will bring MUCH more coming from “The Collection of World Record Solo Rower Roz Savage Being Sold For The Benefit Of…” So she wears this collectible to a few important events, and then sells it for her cause – if she chooses to do that… That “Provenance” would add significantly to what it would bring otherwise… As an example, Di’s wonderful Sapphire and Diamond Ring (She was wearing it when she, Elton and I spent time together at Christie’s in London – Miss her) – now on Kate’s hand is a $100,000 Ring at auction without this “Provenance”… With it, $10 Million Plus… Roz’ “Provenance” MAY NOT be worth that of Lady Di, BUT, things belonging to World’s Record Holders and Famous Adventurers, are of interest to two VERY important categories of collectors – to say nothing of the general collector, and those who would bid on this “generously” for one of Roz’ good causes to have a memento of their good deed too…

        • These worn, tattered gloves may not be purple, but they are precious … to me, priceless. Worth every nickel I spent to acquire them! Roz wore this pair from Tarawa to Madang, which I followed daily. I proudly displayed them in a “shadow box” frame with an autographed photo and the salt-encrusted cap that she wore crossing the Pacific.

  • Things have gotten too serious for the standard Texino jive, so I guess I will kind of fade that issue. As for you Roswell, I hope you have learned that you are the sort of person who will always succeed. You rose in business, you became a writer, you challenged personal issues and settled a different lifestyle. What I’m trying get over here is that, whatever you choose to do people will notice and take interest. You are a star of pleasant magnitude. People will remember you fondly and you will rate a suitable obit in the papers of record; now row! ☯ ☆

    • Hey Tex: “You rose in business, you became a writer, you challenged personal issues and settled a different lifestyle. What I’m trying get over here is that, whatever you choose to do people will notice and take interest. You are a star of pleasant magnitude.” It sort of fits what I said the other day… As Roz approached the most powerful, attractive and comfortable – with who she is, what she has accomplished, what she hasn’t, where she has been, and where she is going – time of her life – her 40’s and beyond, she has chosen the life, and lifestyle, not settled into them, that is most important to her… This MAY BE one of the most valuable examples that she is setting for her Rozings, The World – who know and learn of her, And for her own future… My birthday wish – as I blow out the birthday candles in my mind, tomorrow as I am having more surgery, will be that we ALL reach that point of knowing what we want, and going after it…

  • Go for it Roz! You are the only one who truly knows what’s happening on your boat and I’m happy that you made the decision to stop. Good luck with the open sea!

  • Roz, it is very heartening to know that there is kindness in the world amongst strangers. What a breath of fresh air in the middle of the stinkfest that this beginning has been for you! I am excited for you to hit the open ocean. Failure is not the falling down, it’s the staying down

  • Only a fool doesn’t seek help when available. The more you learn about a subject, the more you realise you still have to learn. Anybody who thinks they know all about a subject is kidding themselves. The sheer complexity of the logistics and usage of Sedna means you will always be learning. I figure when you arrive in London in 2012 you will almost, know what you are doing and how hard it is going to be. 🙂 Jim Bell (NSW Australia)

  • How does life bestow its serendipitous gifts upon us if everything went according to our original schedule? More than a few stellar adventures have been preceded by fits and starts… it is almost a prerequisite chapter. Great things ahead! Fair seas…

  • Hmm, so with another tow into port, it comes down to a simple push (reset) of a button – like knowing how to reset the breakers in your home electrical panel. To those that claim she’s prepared, they don’t know any better, but Roz is a great salesperson!

    • And she is a quite transparent and honest … and charming salesperson at that! (salesperson, in the highest sense of the word)

    • And she is a quite transparent and honest … and charming salesperson at that! (salesperson, in the highest sense of the word)

  • You continue to inspire … by making wise choices. I’m glad you stopped to repair your batteries. (Those angels need to step up their game … no more mechanical failures, you guys/gals!) x Naomi

  • If I were in Roz’s shoes, the Abrolhos would be a waypoint. This wasn’t meant to be a “non-stop, unassisted” was it? But I would have left from Geraldton to save myself the frustration of the Leewin Current, which in turn would buy me more time at the Abrolhos….underwater? Beautiful!!

  • What a great chronicler you are; whether things go right or wrong you get the story told – that’s the writer in you! I know you wish to be on your way to open sea, but these stops have made it very interesting to me. Great pics of this island, brings the fisherman out in me, hope to roll by there one day. Thanks for such a lovely screen saver. Hey 12v’s are your only power outside your arms. You got to have it in good shape. I use 12v’s at my little lake house sometime just to save $…Looks like more tropical waters will deliver better rowing times…
    Later, Michael

  • Being afraid of deep water, I just cannot imagine being out there, the waves, the weather, the deep water. I wish you luck and say my prayers for you, but somehow the message could be given in another (safer) way. My best to you.

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