British rowers looking for support vessel to go as far as Grand Banks

Barb Sweet
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Roz Savage, one of two British rowers planning to cross the North Atlantic, is shown with the boat, Bojangles, that she and Andrew Morris will be using to make the journey. — Photo by Barb Sweet/The Telegram

British rowers who will depart St. John’s in an attempt to row 2,587 miles across the North Atlantic in time for the Olympic Games in London, are looking for someone with a support vessel to accompany them as far as the Grand Banks.

“We know it’s a big ask, we realize that. If we manage to find somebody and work something out, it would just be the comfort factor knowing that if the boat flips over, it should self-right, but it would be reassuring,” said Roz Savage, who is in St. John’s with rowing partner Andrew Morris awaiting a weather window to depart.

“The conditions (on the Grand Banks) are unfamiliar there because we’re not used to rowing in that kind of shallower waters on the edge of the Continental Shelf. That and the cold are the two big unknown quantities for us on this.”

Anyone who can accompany them in a suitable vessel to the Grand Banks is asked to email Naomi Coe of the Olympic Atlantic Row (OAR) Project at

The pair is well aware of the perils of the North Atlantic and while breaking a speed record for a trans-atlantic row would be nice, they will not jeopardize their safety.

Both are experienced ocean rowers.

Savage, 44, is an environmental campaigner and one of the most experienced ocean rowers in the world with 520 days and 15,000 miles logged at sea in ocean rowing boats.

Morris, 47, is managing director of logistics group PA Freight and Allseas Global Logistics. Together with Mick Dawson, he successfully rowed 3,000 miles from La Gomera to Antigua.

They hope to make it to London in time for the Oylmpic Games, or at the very least, the closing.

The crew will row through the Grand Banks, and will navigate past icebergs and bergy bits.

Upon arrival at the English coast, they will make their way through the Bristol Channel and into the British Inland waterways system. Travelling via rivers and canals, the two will join the River Thames to enter London.

The pair will endure a gruelling routine, rowing two hours on, two hours off, 24 hours a day. After eating, checking in with base and making any necessary repairs to the boat, they will not get more than 1.5 hours sleep at any one time.

Savage hopes to blog during the journey and has been trying to get rest beforehand, but that’s hard as her schedule has been hectic.

The trip is expected to take 60 days to cross the North Atlantic and 14 days to complete the inland waterways leg.

Bojangles is a state-of-the-art ocean rowing boat designed and built by ocean rowing expert Mick Dawson to withstand the ravages of the Pacific Ocean.

The 24-foot boat weighs 400 kilograms dry and is constructed with kevlar-carbon composite, the material bulletproof vests are made of. It is lined with lead to keep it upright.

According to the OAR Project, the North Atlantic route has claimed the lives of four rowers.

People can follow the progress of the OAR via an interactive map.

Daily blogs and the latest still images and video footage can also be accessed from the OAR website, or on twitter: @oar_mosmorris and Facebook: #FollowOlympicAtlanticRow

More in Thursday’s Telegram print edition

This is a corrected version.

Organizations: Olympic Atlantic Row, Olympic Games, Bristol Channel

Geographic location: North Atlantic, London, La Gomera River Thames Pacific Ocean

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Recent comments

  • Foghorn Leghorn
    May 10, 2012 - 13:33

    Before any and all of these hair brained misadventures are allowed to take place there should have to be a million dollar bond posted which would cover the costs of the rescues and-or lawsuits.

  • Joseph McGrath
    May 09, 2012 - 14:18

    No wonder poor old Bill Shakespear wrote "Lord, what fools these mortals be".The couple explain that "The conditions (on the Grand Banks) are unfamiliar there because we’re not used to rowing in that kind of shallower waters on the edge of the Continental Shelf. That and the cold are the two big unknown quantities for us on this.”These are truly the words one would expect to hear from a poor soul with the IQ of a bag of hammers.

  • Rick from Middle Earth
    May 09, 2012 - 13:29

    Hmmmmm - no support vessel, not familiar with conditions and cold, a boat designed for Pacific......yeah - this all sounds like a great idea! What could go wrong??

  • paddy
    May 09, 2012 - 13:10

    Here we go again more taxpayer dollars lost ,,how can we rescue those idiots when we dont have anything to rescue our own sailors in,,

  • Edmund
    May 09, 2012 - 12:12

    Try asking the Winsor family from Great Britan to help you out. They have lots of money, a real nice boat to accompany their fellow countrymen/women maybe all the way across and many family members with lots of time on their hands who love to be in the limelite. AND, if you are lucky enough to make it across the Atlantic Ocean without it costing the taxpayers of this country a bundle of money to rescue you, like what has happened too many times before, the queen herself, I am sure, will be there to welcome you at London Bridge. Maybe you should consider taking Charlie Winsor with you to make it an interesting trip. It would give him something to do for a change.

  • CJ
    May 09, 2012 - 11:56

    I assume they're going to pay for any costs associated to their rescue and not the taxpayers....

  • Mohammed
    May 09, 2012 - 10:55

    A stunt like this requires planning and they have not even planned for an escort vessel? I'm sorry, but the kindness of Newfoundlanders is being mocked by people such as these.