Roz Savage

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Rosalind Savage
Born (1967-12-23) 23 December 1967 (age 55)
Cheshire, England
Occupation(s)Ocean Rower, author, speaker
Known forFour Guinness World Records for Ocean Rowing
Political partyLiberal Democrats

Rosalind Elizabeth Adriana Savage MBE FRGS (born 23 December 1967) is an English ocean rower, environmental advocate, writer and speaker.[1]

She holds four Guinness World Records for ocean rowing, including first woman to row solo across three oceans: the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian.[2] She has rowed over 15,000 miles, taken around 5 million oarstrokes, and spent cumulatively over 500 days of her life at sea in a 23-foot rowboat. She was awarded the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2013 for services to environmental awareness and fundraising. She was awarded an honorary degree (Doctor of Laws) from Bristol University in 2014.

Roz Savage is a United Nations Climate Hero,[3] a trained presenter for the Climate Reality Project, and an Athlete Ambassador for[4] She is on the board of Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation,[5] and a Blue Ambassador for the UK-based BLUE Project. She promotes plastic-free communities as co-patron of the Greener Upon Thames campaign for a plastic bag free Olympics in 2012, and as a Notable Coalition Member of the Plastic Pollution Coalition.[6] She also supports the work of the 5 Gyres Institute,[7] and is an Ambassador for Plastic Oceans[8] and MacGillivray Freeman's One World One Ocean project. Her voyages take place under the auspices of the Blue Frontier Campaign.[9]

She is also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a Fellow of the Explorers Club of New York, and has been listed amongst the Top Twenty Great British Adventurers by the Daily Telegraph and the Top Ten Ultimate Adventurers by National Geographic. In 2011, she received the Ocean Inspiration Through Adventure award. She has been inducted into the International Green Industry Hall of Fame and was a recipient of a Yale World Fellowship. In 2010, she was named Adventurer of the Year by National Geographic.


Savage was born in Cheshire. She was educated at the Perse School for Girls. She took up rowing at University College, Oxford, and went on to gain two half-blues for representing Oxford University against Cambridge in the 1988 Women's Reserve Boat Race and in the 1989 Women's Lightweight Boat Race,[10][11] and to win blades with the Univ Women's 1st VIII in 1988 and 1989.[dubious ]

By 2000, at age 34, she had spent 11 years as a management consultant. On a train trip that year, however, she sketched obituaries for the life she was living and the one she really wanted. Their disparity spurred her to give up her husband, steady income and big house in the suburbs.[12][citation needed]

In 2003, she became a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and took part in an Anglo-American expedition that discovered Inca ruins in the Andean cloudforests near Machu Picchu. She then spent an additional three months in Peru, travelling solo and researching her first book, Three Peaks in Peru.[13]

She ran in the London and New York marathons, finishing in the top 2% of women in each, and has run a personal best of 3 hours 19 minutes.[14][15]

Her story was filmed as A Little Silver Boat in a Big Silver Sea as part of the ITV1 documentary television series Is It Worth It?, first broadcast on Monday, 12 March 2007 in the UK.[16]

Ocean rows[edit]

The Atlantic[edit]

On 14 March 2006, she completed the first leg by finishing the Atlantic Rowing Race as the only solo female competitor, taking 103 days to complete the crossing. This she did unsupported, despite breaking all four of her oars and having to row with patched-up oars for more than half the race. Her cooking stove failed after only 20 days, then her navigation equipment and music player. She managed to maintain her daily weblog right up until day 80 when her satellite phone failed, leaving only the movement detected by her positional transponder.[17]

Despite all this, and the danger of having to cut off the rope to her failed sea anchor in 12-foot (3.7 m) waves, she arrived safely at the finish in Antigua. She is only the 5th woman to row solo across the Atlantic from East to West.

Savage's book of her Atlantic voyage Rowing the Atlantic – Lessons Learned on the Open Ocean was published on 6 October 2009 by Simon & Schuster.[18]

The Pacific[edit]

Shortly after her successful Atlantic crossing, she announced her bid to become the first woman to row solo across the Pacific Ocean from the US to Australia. (Maud Fontenoy rowed solo halfway across the Pacific in 2005, via a different route.) After successfully completing 3 stages, starting from California in Summer 2008, and breaking her journey in Hawaii to Tuvalu in 2009 to Papua New Guinea in 2010, Savage accomplished her goal.[19][20]

She began stage one on 12 August 2007 from Crescent City, California, and was rescued 10 days later approximately 90 miles offshore by the U.S. Coast Guard when a well-wisher called them out after becoming concerned when she mentioned heavy weather and a head injury in her blog. She was later able to recover her boat "Brocade".[21][22][23] She made another attempt on 25 May 2008[24] launching from Sausalito, California and arrived in Hawaii on 1 September 2008, becoming the first woman to row solo from California to Hawaii. She completed the crossing from San Francisco to Waikiki in a time of 99 days 8 hours and 55 minutes. The total distance covered was 2,598 nautical miles (4,811 km) and took approximately one million oar strokes.[25][26] En route to Hawaii, Savage was given an essential resupply of water by the two-man crew of the JUNK raft, also on a journey from California to Hawaii. They were running low on food as their voyage was taking longer than expected, and she was able to donate them some of her surplus.[27]

She began stage two on 24 May 2009, with intentions to arrive at the island nation of Tuvalu 2580 miles away. On 28 August, after suffering adverse winds and currents for several days, with food supplies running low and her water-maker broken, Savage realised that she was unlikely to be able to reach Tuvalu and reluctantly changed course for Tarawa. She arrived in Tarawa on 5 September after 104 days at sea and approximately 1.3 million oar strokes.[28]

Savage began her third and final stage for the Pacific Row on 18 April 2010 with the intention to row to the eastern shore of Australia. After mid ocean currents gave her a more westerly course, she again changed her destination and arrived at Papua New Guinea on 8 May 2010.[29] She reported by Twitter on 3, 1 June:35pm (UTC) that she arrived at Madang, Papua New Guinea after 45 days at sea.[30]

The Indian[edit]

In April 2011, Savage set out to row across the Indian Ocean, launching from Fremantle, Australia. Her route, daily locations and destination were kept secret because of the danger from pirates.[31] She was towed back to Australia a fortnight into the 4000 mile voyage due to a fault with the desalination machine the rowing boat was equipped with.[32] Savage successfully completed her Indian Ocean crossing on 4 October 2011, becoming the first woman to solo row the "Big Three," the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. The crossing took 154 days.[33]

North Atlantic[edit]

In March 2012, Savage announced[34] that she would row that North Atlantic as part of the Olympic Atlantic Row (OAR) team with Andrew Morris. The goal was to row from St John's in Canada to the UK, making landfall in Bristol and then rowing through the inland waterways to London, arriving in time for the Olympics. This row was postponed indefinitely in May 2012 due to unusually large numbers of icebergs drifting past the coast of Newfoundland, the result of a huge chunk of ice breaking off a glacier in Greenland in 2010. The situation was deemed to represent an unacceptable level of risk to the safety of the rowers.[35]

Ocean Rowing Race Support[edit]

In 2012, Savage joined Chris Martin (rower) and the team at New Ocean Wave as Race Consultant to the Great Pacific Race from Monterey, California to Honolulu, Hawaii starting in June 2014.[36]


In September 2023, Savage was selected as the candidate of the Liberal Democrats for the new South Cotswolds constituency.[37] She stood for the Liberal Democrats in a by-election for the Painswick and Upton ward of Stroud District Council in May 2023,[38] coming 3rd out of 4th candidates with 381 votes.[39]


  1. ^ "Congratulations to Roz Savage". Professional Photographer. 2 September 2008. Archived from the original on 8 January 2009. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
  2. ^ "First female to row two oceans solo". Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  3. ^ "World Environment Day 2009". Archived from the original on 4 August 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  4. ^ "Athletes". 21 October 2009. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  5. ^ "Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation". Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  6. ^ "Plastic Pollution Coalition". Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  7. ^ "5 Gyres – Understanding Plastic Pollution Through Exploration, Education, and Action". Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  8. ^ "Plastic Oceans". Archived from the original on 7 February 2011. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  9. ^ "Blue Frontier Campaign". Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  10. ^ "OUWLRC Crew 1989". Archived from the original on 22 May 2003.
  11. ^ "Chronology". Retrieved 26 September 2023.
  12. ^ "Roz Savage: Why I gave up my job (and husband) to row across the Pacific". Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  13. ^ [1][dead link]
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 October 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2008.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ [2][dead link]
  16. ^ 'Pull of the ocean', Yorkshire Evening Post, 9 March 2007
  17. ^ "The Blue Climate and Oceans Project – Roz Savage". Archived from the original on 28 July 2011.
  18. ^ "Rowing the Atlantic | Book by Roz Savage – Simon & Schuster". Archived from the original on 13 April 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2009.
  19. ^ Douglas, Ed (28 October 2007). "Oceans apart". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  20. ^ Parkhouse, Sam (18 May 2008). "Roz Savage in solo row bid over Pacific". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  21. ^ "Abandoning an Ocean Rowboat on the Pacific: What Led Up To The Rescue". Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  22. ^ "Abandoning an Ocean Rowboat on the Pacific: What Led Up To The Rescue – YouTube". YouTube. 31 December 2013. Archived from the original on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  23. ^ Abandoning an Ocean Rowboat on the Pacific: What Led Up To The Rescue. YouTube.
  24. ^ "Have passed under the Golden Gate Bridge. I'm on my way!". Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  25. ^ King, John (2 September 2008). "Woman rows from S.F. to Hawaii". The San Francisco Chronicle.
  26. ^ "Ocean rowing statistics".
  27. ^ Jeavans, Christine (20 August 2008). "Mid-ocean dinner date saves rower". BBC News. Archived from the original on 25 March 2010. Retrieved 30 September 2009.
  28. ^ [3][dead link]
  29. ^ "Day 20 – No Ditheration – Roz Savage, Ocean Rower". Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
  30. ^ Roz Savage [@rozsavage] (3 June 2010). "[5.209S, 145.806] Arrived. Completed my row across the Pacific Ocean today. (@ Vitiaz Strait near Madang)" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  31. ^ "Endurance rower Roz Savage in Indian Ocean bid". BBC News. 13 April 2011.
  32. ^ "Solo ocean rower Roz Savage towed to safety". BBC News. 27 April 2011.
  33. ^ "Roz Savage, Ocean Rower". Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  34. ^ "Never Say Never Retirement Cancelled". Archived from the original on 22 May 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
  35. ^ "Decision North Atlantic Row Postponed". Retrieved 20 May 2012.
  36. ^ "New Ocean Wave – About US". Archived from the original on 11 February 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  37. ^ "Liberal Democrats announce South Cotswolds candidate for next election". Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard. 6 September 2023. Retrieved 26 September 2023.
  38. ^ "Dr Roz Savage MBE to stand for Liberal Democrats in Painswick and Upton | Stroud Times". 2 May 2023. Retrieved 29 May 2023.
  39. ^ "Green Party triumph in Stroud by-election". Stroud News and Journal. 19 May 2023. Retrieved 29 May 2023.

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