Skip to main content

Turned back by the sea

AUG. 30 -- Roz Savage, a British rower and environmentalist, ended her attempt to become the first woman to row solo across the Pacific when the seas got too rough for her 23-foot custom vessel, Brocade.

Savage, 39, was 90 miles off the CaliforniaCoast last Thursday when seas capsized her boat three times in the course of 24 hours, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. An anonymous person concerned with her safety contacted the Coast Guard, which made repeated calls to check on Savage.

Despite her initial objections, crew from the Coast Guard’s Humboldt Bay station convinced the Brit — who rowed solo across the Atlantic last year — to abandon her attempt for now. The Coast Guard dispatched a C-130 airplane to find her and an HH-64 Dolphin helicopter to hoist her from the boat that night.

The vessel was abandoned, but redundant homing devices will be used to keep track of it. A commercial tow vessel is expected to retrieve the boat, according to a post on Savage’s Web site. She has vowed to attempt the Pacific row again.

According to her blog, she was 10 days into her solo row from California to Hawaii when the line to her sea anchor parted, leaving her with one less tool to prevent another capsize. Savage sustained bumps and bruises from the incident.

“A powerful wave rear-ended my boat. I shot down my bunk, my sleeping bag tobogganing over the slippery vinyl of the mattress. I came to an abrupt halt when my skull collided with the wall at the end of the cabin,” she wrote.

The ocean-going rowing vessel is made from carbon fiber and is equipped with cabins fore and aft with a single rowing position in the middle. Savage used this same boat to cross the Atlantic in 103 days in 2006.

— Elizabeth Ellis