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Rowing the Atlantic: Lessons Learned on the Open Ocean Hardcover – October 6, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 88 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Savage, a famous ocean rower and motivational speaker, was a thirty-something non-athlete when she took up the sport, having just chucked her job and left her marriage. The only solo female entrant in the grueling 2005 Atlantic Rowing Race, Savage chronicles her initial voyage with a memoir of peril and perseverance. Savage's lack of seamanship was her first major obstacle; almost immediately she developed "an ominous grinding pain in my shoulders that I knew... indicated the onset of tendonitis," and discovered that "rowing on the River Thames and rowing on the ocean were... as different as climbing the stairs and climbing Mt. Everest." Despite numerous challenges, Savage adapts and rises to the occasion, learning to handle the equipment ("less than a sixth of the way across I was already halfway through my supply of oars"), stay alert ("while I sleep my ears are pricked for any unfamiliar sound") and appreciate the open water: "I loved the solitude, the wildness, the beauty. But the ocean and I would have got along better if she would strop trying to get in the boat with me." Happily, this travelogue-with-lessons is minimally prescriptive, making it a great armchair adventure.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"The Vikings didn't even row an ocean solo, but Roz Savage did all three thousand miles in just over one hundred days. Rowing the Atlantic is a grand adventure -- mind boggling, inspiring, and a book that I just couldn't put down. A fantastic read!" -- Lynne Cox, author of Grayson and Swimming to Antarctica

"Bold and invigorating....The author's courageous success story is a testament to self-sufficiency." -- Kirkus Reviews --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (October 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416583289
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416583288
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,209,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

After spending 11 years working in an office cubicle, Roz Savage decided there was more to life than doing a job she didn't like to buy stuff she didn't need. So she quit her job, sold everything, and took to rowing across oceans.

Between 2005 and 2011 she became the first woman to row solo across three oceans: the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian. She rowed over 15,000 miles, took about 5 million oarstrokes, and spent 520 days of her life at sea in a 23-foot rowboat.

Not bad for a 5-foot-4 woman in her mid-thirties who doesn't particularly like physical exercise. Or oceans.

Roz describes her trials and tribulations, and occasional triumphs, in her two books, Rowing the Atlantic (2009) and Stop Drifting, Start Rowing (2013). These are not so much adventures books, as tales of a woman getting outside her comfort zone to find out what life is really all about.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As this book is presented as an "adventure" book, that is the way I will judge it.

Anyone who has the courage to row across the Atlantic Ocean, the physical ability to carry it off, and the intelligence to plan the trip in such a manner that they are actually able to complete the trip has my admiration in their feat.

Many people have died in this attempt. In fact, during the particular race the author writes about, nearly a fourth of the competing boats sank and those rowers needed rescued. Fortunately, fatalities were prevented because of both luck and the support provided by the race organizers. This is an extreme "sport" that few would attempt and even fewer are able to accomplish. True, the author had several years of rowing experience, but nothing that really prepared her for the tremendous physical and emotional distances she had to deal with in rowing the Atlantic.

This is an engaging, well-written book (up to a point). However, as an adventure book, it does have its faults. For one, rowing the Atlantic Ocean alone has been done many times before, both by men and by women, so it has lost its "firstness" factor. For example, nearly everyone remembers who was the first to fly the Atlantic alone, but few would remember the second or the third or the sixth to do so. Most people would even remember the words spoken by the first man to set foot on the moon, but does anyone remember what the second man said? In "Rowing the Atlantic", there is simply no suspense in whether rowing across the Atlantic Ocean alone can be done. We know it can be done; it has been done. We just don't know whether or not author will be able to do it.

Secondly, the trip isn't terribly eventful.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the story of a young woman who realised that being ordinary just wasn't enough and set out to discover who she really was.

She did this by entering the Atlantic Rowing Race in 2005; rowing a 23' boat 3,000 miles alone across the Atlantic Ocean. She had no experience and her expectations were based entirely on optimism and the determination to at last do something entirely on her own.

Roz Savage switches smoothly between the story of her voyage and the events in her life that led to it, and the two lines intersect perfectly. She describes her thoughts and fears as she deals with a series of disasters, all overcome by ingenuity or sheer persistence or by ignoring them. She includes some very personal revelations and her self-deprecating style is quite moving. I had to pause every so often just to absorb what I had just read.

Roz demonstrates by often painful examples that getting outside one's comfort-zone is extremely uncomfortable. She reveals her innermost thoughts and weaknesses, but leaves us to observe her strengths.

It is very well written and both exciting and intimate, so I could almost hear Roz's voice narrating as I read.

Unusually for me, I read the book straight through at one sitting. Rowing the Atlantic is entertaining and inspirational at many levels and I cannot recommend it too highly as a good read for anyone of any age or background. It's a keeper--a book to re-read every year or so and ideal as a gift for `teens and adults alike.

My wife and I have had the good fortune to meet Roz Savage and were very impressed by her, but until reading this book we had not realised just how special she is.

Clearly by not seeking to rely on friends, Roz has made many of them.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Rowing a boat 3000 miles across the Atlantic would be an amazing adventure few of us would care to (or dare to) try. Having been on the open ocean in a larger vessel during a storm, the idea of making your way from the Canary Islands to Antigua powered with nothing but your own body sounds daunting indeed. But Roz Savage does it, and invites readers along on her journey.

Roz' path to this adventure is a bit different than most adventurers. Mountain climbers reach higher and higher peaks, then attempt first ascents or Everest, or the 7 summits. Endurance athletes toil away, largely in obscurity, and attempt bigger and longer feats. Roz worked in an office. Had a career and a husband: a pretty ordinary life. It wasn't pushing herself harder that drove her to attempt this ocean row, it was the idea of pushing herself at all. Breaking out of her rut in a big way, she turned her life upside down and set out to accomplish a goal most people can't even fathom.

Rowing the Atlantic is more a journey of self discovery than adventure-logue. In this, Roz attains her goal. She left all in her life that was safe and secure to find out what she was made of, and succeeded. But if "its the journey that matters", Roz left the readers looking for the destination. She seems unable to share with the readers the real down-and-dirty gritty details of either this grand adventure or her emotions during her experience. Great adventure books have the reader unable to put the book down, sitting on the edge of your seat, wondering what will happen next and how on earth will this person get themselves out of this terrifying predicament. Certainly there were many predicaments, both real and imagined, during this 103 day trip. We want to know!
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