Rowing Across the Atlantic Ocean

A Test of Endurance

I read a book this past summer called “Rowing the Atlantic: Lessons Learned on the Open Ocean.” by Roz Savage.

In 2005, Ms. Savage entered the most grueling rowing competition on earth, the “Atlantic Rowing Race.” All of the other ocean rowboats were crewed by two or four person teams. Roz was one of only two solo rowers and the only woman rowing alone.

She went on to be the first woman to row solo across three oceans: the Atlantic, the Indian and the Pacific.

Ocean Rowboat Design

When Roz Savage decided to enter the Atlantic Rowing Race, she had to buy and outfit an ocean rowboat with all the equipment and provisions needed to survive on the open ocean for months. It took her about a year. To successfully complete the race, the rowers had to be totally self-sufficient. If a crew received outside help, even a beer, their boat would be disqualified.

The rules also forbid any jury-rigged sails or motors. Each rowboat would cross the ocean powered only by human muscle, with an occasional assist from favorable currents, winds or waves.

The race organizers required the crews to install navigation equipment, satellite phones and an emergency signaling device. All the ocean rowboats generated electricity using solar panels. Another key piece of equipment on board? The desalinator, which transformed sea water into fresh drinking water. Everyone also had a small cook stove, a sea anchor and spare oars.

If a wave turned the boat over, all the ocean rowboats were designed to turn right-side up again. Both the fore and aft cabins had watertight hatches, which trapped the air and prevented seawater from flooding in. The rowers sat between these two cabins in the open air when actively rowing. The race organizers also required each team to carry several gallons of fresh water on board. This water acted as ballast. If the desalinator broke and a crew had to breach the fresh water bottles, they would receive a time penalty at the end of the race.

The Journey She Didn’t Expect

Rowing across the Atlantic Ocean turned out to be a very harsh and painful undertaking.

Her body hurt every day. Wayward currents, rough seas and contrary winds repeatedly pushed her off course. Her tiny stove stopped working, ending all hope of hot meals, no matter how wet and cold she became. Discouraged and hating every minute, Roz understood one thing; if she was ever going to enjoy the modern comforts of home again, she was going to have to row the entire 3000 miles one stroke at a time.

So she did. After 103 days on the open ocean, she stepped onto dry land again, at Antigua.

The Night That Started Her Journey

Dissatisfied with her management consultant job in London and her materialistic lifestyle, Roz sat down one night and wrote two personal obituaries.  One was exciting, full of unexpected challenges and life-changing adventure. The other obituary foreshadowed where her present dull existence would eventually end.

With that simple exercise, Roz discovered the life she had wasn’t the one she truly wanted. Here’s one of my favorite quotes:

“My future was the accumulation of my todays—it was only by doing the right things, day after day, that I would create the future that I wanted.” (“Rowing the Atlantic” page 160)

That quote is true of me as well. What I choose to do today matters, because by my daily choices, I am actively creating my future—and so are you.

If I want to speak fluent Spanish, I need to take classes and practice often.  A good diet and regular exercise is essential now, if my goal is to enjoy an active, healthy old age,

Dreams just fade away into mist, unless you put the effort in to make them come true.

Like Roz Savage, we too have a race to finish.

Our Lifelong Endurance Race
You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? (Galatians 5:7 NIV)

Paul’s rebuke written 20 centuries ago, still applies to modern day Christians.

What has hindered you from obeying God’s divine truth? Lack of knowledge? Fear? Laziness? A selfish or rebellious nature? I’ve been guilty of all of these.

For too long, my spiritual “rowboat” has been drifting aimlessly on the open sea. I haven’t been rowing hard to fulfill the Lord’s plans for my life. Recently, that’s changed. I’m starting to row with more purpose now. What about you?

Are you rowing strongly today or just drifting with the current?

Pick up your oars; we each have a race to win.

I used the book’s cover displayed on Amazon. I believe both the author and would appreciate the free publicity. The featured image on the main page was from


This year, the 2016-2017 “Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge: The World’s Toughest Row” starts Dec 14th, 2016. In previous years, you could track each boat’s progress via the website’s map. click

Here’s a link to Roz Savage’s book, “Rowing the Atlantic.” On

Enjoy these short videos:

Adventurist Roz Savage rows the Atlantic. (click here)

Solo woman rows the Atlantic: Part 1 (click here)

Solo woman rows the Atlantic: Part 2 (click here)

Solo woman rows the Atlantic Part 3 (click here)

Solo woman rows the Atlantic Part 4 (click here)

Roz Savage-ocean rower video. click here

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