British adventurer and Manfrotto local hero sets off on record-breaking solo row across the North Pacific Ocean
On 13th May, 2012, young British adventurer and Manfrotto Uk local hero, Sarah Outen (26) headed off on her record-breaking solo row across the North Pacific Ocean, from Choshi in Japan to Vancouver in Canada. And in doing so, is set to become the first woman to ever row across the North Pacific Ocean.
This is an epic 4,500 nautical mile journey across the world’s largest ocean and will mean between 150 and 200 days alone out at sea. Only two men have previously rowed solo across this northern route from Japan to North America.
This North Pacific row is part of Sarah’s wider, two and half year expedition, “London2London: Via the World” that will see her cycle, row and kayak a continuous loop of the planet – that’s over 20,000 miles. She is sharing her stories along the way through her website and social media to hopefully inspire young people to follow their dreams and believe that anything is possible. She is also hoping to raise £100,000 for her four chosen charities – CoppaFeel!, The Jubilee Sailing Trust, MNDA and WaterAid.
Sarah, who has a fear of deep water, says of the row: “The North Pacific will be the most gruelling part of my whole London2London expedition. Physically and mentally, I expect to be exhausted most of the time – the distance, the solitude, the weather conditions and my complete isolation will make it hugely challenging. In spite of the challenges and dangers ahead, I still can’t wait to get out there.”
“I am an ocean girl at heart and love being so close to the water and living to the rhythms of the wild. The energy out there is magic and the dynamics so exciting. I am hoping for some special wildlife moments and hopefully not too many storms. But I am especially looking forward to the sunsets and the stars,” she adds.
Sarah will be rowing completely on her own and will be 100% self-sufficient, taking all her food with her on her 7-metre customised rowing boat, Gulliver. Also on board will be a desalination machine, with which she can convert seawater into drinking water.
She will have a full suite of communications equipment on board, which will allow her to do interviews, blog and tweet while out on the ocean. She will also have an iPod for music, a Kindle for books and will be tracked live using GPS technology. Everything will be charged using the on-board solar panels.
While out on the North Pacific Ocean, Sarah will be faced with a whole host of dangers every day, from exhaustion, dehydration, hypo- and hyperthermia to collisions with other ships, capsizing and drowning.
“Out on the ocean the biggest danger is from shipping – my boat is so tiny that it is difficult for larger vessels to see me. Landing on the west coast of Canada will also be a huge challenge and probably the most dangerous part of the whole journey. At least if I roll at sea there is little chance of me crashing into anything. But perhaps the greatest challenge comes from being solo out there as I have to be everything to myself and manage every situation as best I can. Sleep deprivation and rough weather can make that incredibly tough,” Sarah explains.
This is, however, not Sarah’s first ocean row as in 2009 she became the first woman and youngest person ever to row solo across the Indian Ocean from Australia to Mauritius.
London2London: Via the World – the story so far
World-renowned explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes says of Sarah and her London2London expedition: “Sarah will face dangers on a daily basis, which only the hardiest could tolerate. But I’m sure she will succeed and confirm that she is an adventurer and expeditioner second to none.”
On 1st April, 2011, Sarah set off on her London2London expedition from London’s Tower Bridge and in her kayak, Nelson travelled down the Thames and across the English Channel to France. She then jumped on her bicycle, Hercules, and cycled over 10,000 miles through France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, China and then back into Russia’s wild Far East.
Sarah then used Nelson and Hercules to paddle and cycle her way over 1,000 miles to Japan via the remote island of Sakhalin.
She has spent the winter in Japan and has now set off on her record-breaking North Pacific Ocean row, after which she will again take up Hercules’ saddle and cycle 3,000 miles from Vancouver to Nova Scotia, through the harsh North American winter.
The final major leg will involve Sarah rowing home to the UK across nearly 3,000 nautical miles of the North Atlantic Ocean.
Nobody has ever rowed this combination of the North Pacific and North Atlantic oceans in a single journey, solo or otherwise.
Dame Ellen MacArthur says of Sarah and her expedition: “When I first met her, I knew that Sarah was a very special person with fire in her belly. I wish her good luck for London2London: Via the World, I think it’s a fantastic project particularly working with young people to inspire them and to teach them all about her journeys.”
For details on how to donate to Sarah’s chosen charities, simply go to the Charities section of Sarah’s website: http://www.sarahouten.com/charity/
London2London: Via the World in numbers:
• 2 solo ocean rows, 7,500 nautical miles
• 3 continents, 14 countries by bike
• 300 nautical miles by kayak
• 6 – 8,000 calories a day
• 850 days away
• Up to 11 months at sea alone
• A few world records
• One little tent
• 40 punctures so far
• 2 new wheels, 10 new tyres and 10 new tubes so far
• 2 pairs of shoes to date
• Longest cycle in one go so far: 166 miles through the night on Sakhalin
• Longest kayak in one go so far: 38 nautical miles in 12 hours between Sakhalin and Japan
• Worst roads: Kazakhstan and Russia
• Best wildlife spot: brown bear on the beach in Russia
• A few bouts of food poisoning
• 3 marriage proposals
• Thousands of children inspired
Follow Sarah's incredible journey on her blog at: http://www.sarahouten.com/blog/