OAR Blog

Mos Reports on the Decision not to row the North Atlantic this year

I don’t doubt that Roz and I could have made it across the North Atlantic. When the two of us put our minds to something, there isn’t much that will stop either one of us. But this time, the risks were simply too high. The responsibility we have to our families, friends, sponsors and supporters to ensure a successful outcome, left us with little choice. To make the decision not to row is hugely disappointing, but we were here to do something inspiring, not something stupid. Bojangles would have been no match for sharp, compacted, several-thousand-year-old ice.

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Roz Reports on the decision not to row the North Atlantic this year

I had hoped that this would be a final blog to bid farewell to dry land before we started our voyage across the North Atlantic. But if you’ve been following my blog over the last couple of weeks you will have noticed our growing concern about the unusually large quantities of ice off the coast of Newfoundland, largely due to the huge chunk of ice that broke off a Greenland glacier 2 years ago which has now drifted south into Canadian waters, breaking up into a minefield of icebergs as it goes.

Given our immovable deadline of reaching London in time for the start of the Olympics, we unfortunately don’t have the option to wait until the ice dissipates, which will take another couple of weeks at least. After much soul searching, it is with regret that we have come to the difficult decision to postpone our row for this year. The chances of hitting ice – and the serious consequences of a punctured hull in freezing North Atlantic waters – meant that the risk to our safety was simply unacceptable.

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What’s next for Roz Savage?

Thank you for all the supportive comments about the sad postponement of our North Atlantic row. The OAR team has very much appreciated your kind words at this rather trying time. After bidding a sad farewell to our wonderful friends in St John’s, Newfoundland, I am now back in Britain, spending the weekend with my mother in Leeds while the country celebrates the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

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Chasing icebergs with the OAR team

“That’s the biggest iceberg I’ve ever seen in these waters,” said Harry Spurrell, native Newfoundlander, as he took us on a tour of the icebergs around Torbay today. Mos and I were out in his speedboat to get up close and personal with the bergs that could impede our progress across the North Atlantic.

Roz takes a closer look at the North Atlantic ice situation

Yesterday I went out on a plane to check out the ice situation offshore. Despite a favourable forecast, Mother Nature decided to hide her icy secrets in an extensive layer of fog. After being in the air for over 5 hours, the only icebergs I was able to see were within half a mile of shore. Those further offshore were shrouded in mists and mystery, pending further visual investigation, I decided to do some research online.

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Remembering the Titanic – 100 years on

Given our current preoccupation with unusually high numbers of bergy bits and other ice fragments off the coast of Newfoundland this year, it seems poignant that we have just passed the one hundredth anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Mos and I plan to take a wreath with us in remembrance of those lives lost at sea.

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Ice delays departure of the OAR

We had hoped to leave on Monday, but the ice continues to be a concern. So for now we have decided to postpone at least until Saturday May 19th, while we continue to monitor the ice situation.

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Roz reports on ‘bergy bits’ off the coast of St John’s

Here is something I’ve never had to contend with before – bergy bits. They might sound cute, but these mini-icebergs, calved from larger icebergs further north, are causing no small amount of consternation in the OAR camp.

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Roz reports on Sobering Statistics

Yesterday I was sitting in the boat shed with Mos (and Bojangles, of course) as we discussed our safety strategies. This is top of our minds – and for good reason. If you go to the Ocean Rowing Society website, the little box at the bottom of the page that sums up the stats on Atlantic rows from West to East reads like this:

Completed: 19       Incomplete: 33      Rowers lost at sea: 5

These are sobering statistics. A closer look at the numbers however, shows that the odds are actually pretty good.

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Roz reports from the OAR team base in St John’s


The OAR team has been reunited in St John’s, Newfoundland, the port of departure for the OAR. We’re in the final stages of our preparations and all keeping a close eye on the weather forecast.


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Refitting Bojangles ready for the OAR

Bojangles has come a long way since her maiden voyage across the Pacific. Although still structurally sound, a lot of work has been required to get her ready for the OAR. Learning from experience, a number of improvements have also been made to her original design. Here’s just some of the things the OAR team have been busy working on over the last few months.

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Who’s supporting the OAR?

The OAR team are lucky to have the well wishes and backing of a number of celebrity supporters. Find out more and leave your own message for Mos and Roz here.

Sentinel Consulting – Gold Sponsor

Sentinel Consulting

Sentinel Consulting

We’re delighted to formally announce that Sentinel Consulting has joined the OAR Project as a Gold Sponsor. Having been involved with the OAR Project since its beginning, Sentinel Consulting will be providing emergency support 24/7 while Andrew and Roz are out at sea.

Sentinel Consulting provides practical solutions for people operating in remote areas, specialising in health, safety and logistics. Sentinel Consulting’s business is built around a network of experts who have years of experience both working and playing in the wilderness. It is based on ethical practice both in the wilderness environments they love and in their straight-talking business relationships. The Sentinel Consulting team is proud to enjoy long term relationships with their clients, seeing projects right through from a back-of-an-envelope sketch to well-run, sustainable and commercially-viable solutions. Read more

Sponsor Update – Thomas Gunn Navigation Services, Overboard & Easirider


Thomas Gunn Navigation Services

Thomas Gunn Navigation Services

With so many different aspects to organising an ocean row, finding a range of generous supporters is essential to the success of a campaign. New to the sport of Ocean Rowing, OAR Project is delighted to announce that Thomas Gunn Navigation Services (TGNS) has joined us as a Bronze sponsor.TGNS is more used to supplying the shipping industry with navigational charts and publications, and supplies the world’s largest shipping companies with digital and paper charts and publications to ensure safe passage around the globe. MD Thomas Gunn met UK Project Manager, Rachel, when she worked at the UK Hydrographic Office a couple of years ago and captivated by the idea of such a tiny boat crossing a huge ocean, he was more than happy to support The OAR Project. TGNS are providing financial support and a complete range of marine charts and publications to help Andrew and Roz to navigate safely from leaving port in St John’s, all the way to Bristol.

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New Sponsors – McMurdo and ADEC Marine

EPIRBs from McMurdo

As the departure date draws ever closer, the OAR Project team are taking delivery of an increasing number of parcels and packages, sent by our generous sponsors.

McMurdo have supplied a Smartfind EPIRB and two Fast Find Personal EPIRBs for the team, together with floating pouches and lanyards for the Personal EPIRBs. McMurdo has been a leading provider of emergency locator beacons on land or water for over 20 years.

These Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons are vital pieces of equipment that can pinpoint the boat and the rowers positions in an emergency. The EPIRBs are registered to the boat and the EPIRB Registry knows who is onboard and who to contact. If there is an emergency out at sea, Andrew and Roz simply have to press a button and within minutes, the UK Coastguard will know exactly where they are and that they need help – then emergency procedures can be activated to help ensure their safety 24/7.

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