Roz Savage lands on Mauritius.
courtesy BVPVisuals.com
Roz Savage in Mauritius: record or not?

Posted: Oct 06, 2011 12:45 pm EDT
(By Jon Amtrup/edit Tina Sjogren) Roz Savage has reached Mauritius after five months. She claims to have rowed the Indian Ocean, and to be the first woman to row across the Big Three oceans of the world.

But what are the rules? ExplorersWeb checked in with the ORS and other rowers to find out.

Mauritius is by definition an island IN the Indian Ocean. Erden Eruc, who rowed the three oceans in full, told
ExWeb in a previous article:

I must reach the African mainland to ensure the continuity of my human powered circumnavigation path. However there is more of the Indian Ocean beyond Mauritius to reach mainland, about 1,200 nautical miles whichever way a rower chooses to navigate past Madagascar. This ocean is not finished at Mauritius, Eruc said.

(Ed note: 1,200 nautical miles is a distance longer than from Toronto, Canada to Miami beach, Florida.)

Ocean Rowing Society: right for existence, for now

Writes Roz in a blog post on her site: Ive done it! After 5 months and 0 days at sea, I am absolutely over the moon to be back on dry land, surrounded by friends and wellwishers - and, of course, my dear mother. I have just become the first woman to row across the Big Three oceans of the world the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian.

Checking in with The Ocean Rowing Society in London what their definition of the Indian Ocean is, Tatiana Rezvaya-Crutchlow replied in an email:

"I can see the reason for your enquiry and understand that rowing from Australia to Mauritius does not completely correspond to the definition of rowing the entire Indian ocean, which would presume rowing the ocean from Australia to continental Africa, but this route has been well-established and for now is considered to be the only classic route in the Indian Ocean. Even if it is actually shorter than the distance to mainland Africa."

"Like in the case of Trade Winds I and Trade Winds II in the Atlantic, Pacific East-West and Mid-Pacific, it has right for existence and for now is the only adopted route for speed records."

"When/if there are more rows from Australia to mainland Africa, we will consider to subdivide the Indian Ocean Rows into two routes."

"Being as Andres Svedlund and Erden Eruc were the only persons to row from Australia to Madagascar and Erden Eruc - the only one to row the entire Indian Ocean to mainland Africa though with a stop, they are more like an exception, not a rule."

"After all nobody has rowed the Indian Ocean non-stop from continent to continent and this route is awaiting new record-seekers."

"The fact is that most rows have started from an island or finished on an island and few have actually been from continent to continent."

Everest in 24 hours?

The spokeswoman further elaborated on rowing vs. other expeditions in terms of challenge:

"But ocean rowing differs from any other extreme sport by the length of the endurance. If I am not mistaking, the record time for climbing Everest stands at 24 hours?"

"It cannot be compared to the time any ocean rower spends in not less extreme hostile environment and ultimate moral and psychological pressure, like 157 days at sea by Roz Savage - ALONE!"

"Whatever route they choose to go across an ocean, they ARE ROWING OCEAN and their achievements are among the greatest victories in the world of extreme sport, no matter was their route shorter or longer, when it goes about thousands miles and hundreds days", Tatiana Rezvaya-Crutchlow ended her email.

Comparing challenge

The average expedition on Mount Everest spans 60 days (24 hours from base camp to top is possible only in a final, acclimatized climb.) An average polar expedition also spans 60 days. There are treks, ocean voyages, and polar crossings lasting much longer than that, up to many years.

While ORS are correct in pointing out time as one factor there are other aspects where rowing falls behind other challenges, such as ratio of attempts vs. failure (difficulty) and death statistics (risk).

More importantly, to compare achievements clear rules must be set for the explorers to follow. Changing those rules ad hoc is unfair and ultimately toxic to fair play.

Roz Savage was previously a management consultant and project manager at an investment bank, before realizing in her mid-thirties that there might be more to life than a steady income and a house in the suburbs. She completed the Woodvale Atlantic Ocean Race March 8 in 2006, after 103 days and 2,550 nautical miles.

On 25 May 2008 Roz left from the Golden Gate Bridge to attempt Stage 1 of her Pacific Ocean crossing. She reached Waikiki in a time of 99 days. Later she finished her crossing of the Pacific Ocean in a total of three legs. She finally rowed solo from Australia to Mauritius in the Indian Ocean in 5 months.


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