6 mins

Everything you need to know before rowing an ocean

Roz Savage has rowed over 15,000 miles and notched up four ocean rowing world records. She reveals how you can too

Roz Savage on the ocean (Roz Savage)

1. Meal time magic

When rowing an ocean, take the foods you like (provided they are non-perishable, non-crushable, and don't take up too much space) rather than the foods that weigh the least or that the nutritionist recommends. Your favourite meal after a hard day rowing's the best morale booster in the world. Powdered coconut milk is one of the yummiest high calorie additions that will enhance practically any meal.

2. Listen to a good book

Audiobooks are awesome. I use Audible.com (Wanderlust readers can download a free book), because all their readers are so good, and a bad reader can murder even the best book. Take at least 3 iPods, as there's a high probability you will trash one or two, even when you keep them in waterproof bags.

3. Keep a diary

Keep a logbook, and at the end of each rowing shift write a one-line description of how you feel. Memory tends to blur what happens at sea, and having this record of how you felt every few hours makes a fascinating read afterwards. I am often amazed to read just what I went through.

4. How's your psychological hygiene?

Make wellbeing your priority. Holding it together mentally is the most important aspect, then physically, then technically. Think of it as psychological hygiene. If you're emotionally stable, you're in a good position to handle the inevitable issues with body and boat.

5. Keep your virtual crew mates happy

Share the adventure – keep a blog. It's usually the last thing I feel like doing, after a long day at the oars, but it always helps me put things in perspective, and the feedback I get from my readers makes it absolutely worthwhile. Although I row solo, I have thousands of virtual crewmates.

Roz Savage is an ocean rower, environmental campaigner, author and speaker. She holds four world records for ocean rowing, including first woman to row solo across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Her first book, Rowing The Atlantic, was published in 2009, and her second book, Stop Drifting, Start Rowing, will come out on 15 October this year.

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