Rowing the Atlantic

Lessons Learned on the Open Ocean

Rowing the Atlantic

STUCK IN A corporate job rut and faced with an unraveling marriage at the age of thirty-six, Roz Savage sat down one night and wrote two versions of her own obituary -- the one that she wanted and the one she was heading for. They were very different. She realized that if she carried on as she was, she wasn't going to end up with the life she wanted. So she turned her back on an eleven-year career as a management consultant to reinvent herself as a woman of adventure. She invested her life's savings in an ocean rowboat and became the first solo woman ever to enter the Atlantic Rowing Race.

Her 3,000-mile trial by sea became the challenge of a lifetime. Of the twenty-six crews that set out from La Gomera, six capsized or sank and didn't make it to the finish line in Antigua. There were times when she thought she had hit her absolute limit, but alone in the middle of the ocean, she had no choice but to find the strength to carry on.

In Rowing the Atlantic we are brought on board when Savage's dreams of feasts are nourished by yet another freeze-dried meal. When her gloves wear through to her blistered hands. When her headlamp is the only light on a pitch-black night ocean that extends indefinitely in all directions. When, one by one, all four of her oars break. When her satellite communication fails.

Stroke by stroke, Savage discovers there is so much more to life than a fancy sports car and a power-suit job. Flashing back to key moments from her life before rowing, she describes the bolt from the blue that first inspired her to row across oceans and how this crazy idea evolved from a dream into a tendinitis-inducing reality. And finally, Savage discovers in the rough waters of the Atlantic the kind of happiness we all hope to find.


Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Rowing the Atlantic includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Roz Savage. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.



In Rowing the Atlantic, Roz Savage gives us an intimate look at life alone on the open ocean in a tiny rowboat. We follow this nervous first-time adventurer as her watermaker malfunctions, when she dreams of feasts instead of another freeze-dried meal, when her gloves wear through, when her headlamp is the only light on a pitch black night ocean and when her communications system fails. She flashes back to key moments from her old life to explain what led to her transformation from office worker to ocean rower. The reader is there as, stroke by stroke, she discovers there is much more to life than a fancy sports car and a power-suit job. and ultimately rows her way to the kind of happiness we all hope to find.


Discussion Questions
  1. The Atlantic Rowing Race is known as “The World’s Toughest Rowing Race” and many attempts to complete it have failed due to weather, personal injury and capsizes. Roz admits that the reward for the winner of the Atla
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About the Author

Roz Savage
Photograph © NewID

Roz Savage

A latecomer to the life of adventure, Roz Savage was previously a management consultant and investment banker, before realizing at the age of thirty-four that there might be more to life than a steady income and a house in the suburbs. In 2005, she was the only solo female competitor in the Atlantic Rowing Race, the first solo woman ever to compete in that race and the sixth woman to row an ocean solo. In 2010, Roz was selected as an "Adventurer of the Year" by National Geographic.


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