Surviving Heavy Weather On A Rowboat – Roz Savage

John Konrad
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June 5, 2008

Roz Savage - Heavy Weather

In 1896 the first ever row across a major body of water was marked in the record books. Since that day when Samuelson and Harbo completed their voyage over 200 people have rowed across the Atlantic and seven women have done it solo including Roz Savage. Today she is looking to one up herself in an attempt to travel unsupported and alone (in a rowboat remember) from San Francisco to Sydney Australia.

Their is a glitch however. She has encountered  a Force 10 gale, flooded her watermaker and is feeling the fear creep in. For those who have been a thousand miles out at sea and experianced a storm of this magnitude the image is indelibly marked in your brain, for the rest I refer you to the Beufort Scale chart.

Now I speak from experienced  in saying Force 10 is not a “fun” weather condition aboard a 500+ foot ship, I can imaging it’s downright unpleasant on a 23 foot rowboat. Despite the trouble her spirits remain high as was apparent on a live podcast done with the help of our favorite podcaster (after Peter of course) Leo Laporte on TWiT Live (Subscribe to the Podcast HERE). She does have some linguring worries though. In today’s blog entry titled “Day 11: Feel The Fear” she writes:

“Wind and sea conditions likely to increase to gale force (Force 8) late on Jun 4th or early June 5th. Winds to 40kts and seas steadily building to Force 10 conditions (for seas) on Jun 7th.”

The prospect sounded terrifying. My insides knotted and Fear started running around inside my head like a madman, waving his arms wildly and wailing, “We’re all doomed!” in a high-pitched cry.

The Voice of Reason stood off to one side, waiting for Fear to quieten down enough so he could make himself heard. Eventually Fear got tired of doing laps of the inside of my head and started to wind down like a clockwork toy. Reason managed to get a word in.

“Look,” he said in his calm, strong voice, “this weather isn’t even happening yet, and you’re already in a tizz about it. Let’s look at this objectively.

“OK, so we’ve never been in a Force 10 before, but we’ve been in some pretty bad weather and we know this boat is seaworthy. If we just stay in the cabin most of the time, and clip on to the boat when we have to go outside to go to the bathroom, we’ve got a good chance of coming through this in one piece.

“And besides, we have no choice. We’re out here now. There’s nowhere we can go, and no way we can avoid this weather. We’re just going to have to tough it out. But we can do it if we keep our head and stay calm. Just DON’T PANIC!!!”  Continue Reading…

Excellent advice Roz! From fires to severe weather remaining calm is the only way to survive at sea. We wish you fair seas and following winds (eventually) and if you ever need a hand at sea, gCaptain readers are on the Pacific and willing to help. Till you reach land we will be following you on the amazing Marine Tracker and remembering the times we have faced challege at sea.

-Captain John Konrad

Related Links:

Video from right before the storm picked up:

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