A lot has happened since I last blogged – in oh so many ways.
But first I want to send my commiserations to the crew of the James Robert Hanssen, attempting to become the first crew to row from mainland Africa to mainland US. A couple of days ago I found out that on Day 73 of their epic row, they had suffered an irrecoverable capsize and were rescued after spending 12 hours in their liferaft.
When I first heard the news, I was astonished. I have known the skipper, Jordan Hanssen (their boat is named after his deceased father) since around the time of his crossing of the North Atlantic in 2006. We have traded tips on rowing equipment, media, books, etc, and I wrote a blurb for his excellent book about that adventure, Rowing Into The Son. I know that he is disciplined, professional, and runs a tight ship. So I was mystified as to what could have gone wrong. Provided that a boat is properly ballasted and the cabin hatches are closed, it should always self-right. I couldn’t imagine that Jordan would allow anything less than the strictest safety standards.
As the facts emerge, it turns out that they were just plain unlucky. Even if you keep the cabin hatch closed 99% of the time, at some point some rowers have to go in and others have to come out. It seems that it was at precisely this moment, during the shift changeover, that a big wave struck the boat and water started to rush through the closing hatch into the sleeping cabin. This is every ocean rower’s worst nightmare. It was impossible to close the hatch against the pressure of the inrushing water, and within seconds they were upside down with no chance of recovery.
It sounds as if the crew stayed calm and swung into standard survival procedures as they retrieved items and deployed the liferaft. This is a great tribute to their seamanship. And after what must have seemed like an interminable wait in the liferaft they were rescued.
This news comes as the ever-intrepid Sarah Outen prepares to set out once more to row the North Pacific, this being her second attempt after being rescued last year when she was viciously clobbered by a typhoon about a month after she set out from Japan. She is currently on standby, waiting for a suitable weather window. She is relying on my tried and trusted weatherman, Lee Bruce, so I know she is receiving the best possible advice.
Commiserations to the crew of the JRH, and good luck to Sarah. It’s a tough choice to entrust your life to the vagaries of the ocean, but as those of us who have been out there know, the rewards are enormous too.
Crazy-busy time since I last blogged. Too much to tell here, but a quick round-up:
My boat is now on exhibit at ExplorOcean in Newport Beach, California. We opened the exhibition on April 4. I hadn’t seen the show until that very day, and I can honestly say I could not be more delighted with the way they have chosen to display dear old Sedna. A video of a stormy ocean projected onto the back wall creates the ambience, while videos of my Atlantic row play in a continuous loop. There are also interactive elements in the shape of a WaterRower rowing simulator (a previous sponsor), and a laptop on which you can answer the question “What would you take to sea?” Someone had answered “Roz Savage”!! (better photos forthcoming – this an iPhone placeholder…)
Nice article recently in Wanderlust, following on from my talk at London’s Adventure Travel Show.
Video interview recorded during my visit to Syracuse, giving a lecture to kick off their University Lectures series.
My talk at TEDxYale gave me a good excuse to return to New Haven to catch up with friends made during last year’s stint there as a World Fellow. The new cohort of World Fellows has just been announced – I can’t wait to meet them at this year’s Return to Yale forum in October.
Delighted to be interviewed once again for the Spring of Sustainability series. Recorded just yesterday. I talk about my new ideas about how we need to redefine success if we are to have any hope of achieving genuine sustainability for humankind.
A standing ovation and a marvellous time speaking alongside the likes of Wayne Dyer, Caroline Myss at Ignite! I Can Do It conference in San Jose for Hay House, publishers of my forthcoming book Stop Drifting Start Rowing.
And finally, a special hello if you are a first-time visitor to this website, especially if you are checking me out after reading the feature in May’s edition of O, the Oprah Magazine. I haven’t actually seen the magazine yet, but am assured I will be in there….!