Monday, December 16th, 2019

Extreme adventurer’s four-year charity tour

Published on July 17, 2015 by   ·   No Comments

6_3Swashbuckling Sarah Outen is a modern day Phileas Fogg. However she has dispensed with filthy fossil fuels and instead of coal powered boats and trains she is completing her round the world journey entirely under her own steam: ‘London2London: Via the World’ by kayak, push bike and rowing boat.

It’s taken a bit longer than 80 days. In fact she’s halfway through the fourth year of her journey, two years longer than planned, but is on the home straight now. Sarah is currently bobbing around in the mid-Atlantic in a seven-metre rowing boat with only seabirds and fish for company. This is the penultimate leg of her journey with only 2,000ish nautical miles of rowing left (only).

The last time we wrote about Sarah (, she was taking a bit of time off after a run in with a tropical storm. The debacle led to the loss of her boat, Gulliver, and a depressing year’s delay in her journey. However she dusted herself off and returned to the Pacific undaunted a year later.


In total Sarah has travelled 22,000 miles through 14 countries. She set off on 1 April 2011 by kayak from Tower Bridge in London.

After kayaking across the Channel, she then completed a staggering 11,000 miles of biking and kayaking across Europe and Asia, oh and was awarded an MBE for services to rowing, conservation and charity along the way. The second leg of her Verne-esque journey was supposed to be a solo row across the North Pacific Ocean, but that was when the tropical storm hit and her plans were thwarted.

It was a blessing in disguise as it was when Sarah was at home recuperating that she met Lucy Allen, an Oxfordshire farmer, and fell in love.

A year later, in April 2013, she was back in Japan to try again with a new improved boat – Happy Socks.

During the crossing of the North Pacific she proposed to Lucy by satellite phone and she said ‘yes’, so it was a very happy Sarah that landed in Alaska after 150 days at sea – the first person to ever row from Japan to Alaska.


After a bit of well-deserved R&R she then kayaked 1,500 miles from her landing point Adak in Alaska, along the chain of the Aleutian Islands, a journey, which took 101 days. Then it was a mere 5,000 mile cycle across Canada and North America to Cape Cod via New York where she hopped back into Happy Socks and set off on the penultimate leg, a 3,000 mile solo row across the Atlantic. The final bit will be a breeze in comparison, kayaking and cycling across the UK to get back to London.

Modern technology allows us to vicariously enjoy her adventure. She has access to the internet via satellite and is tweeting regularly as well as phoning in the occasional podcast. It is a fascinating insight into her world. Her provisions actually look quite tasty, noodles with fresh sprouted beans, followed by yoghurt made in her yoghurt maker, a far cry from hardtack and limes. Her musings on storm petrels and the fish hiding below the boat whilst wearing a Queen Elizabeth mask give us a glimpse into the mind of a solo long distance rower, someone sitting in a tiny boat 2,000 miles from the nearest human, with weeks left till they reach land.


During her journey she has raised over 45,000 GBP for the four charities that she is supporting – all of which are close to her heart. CoppaFeel! (a charity set up by Sarah’s friend, Kristin Hallenga (after she was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer aged just 23) to promote breast checking in young women), The Jubilee Sailing Trust, WaterAid and The Motor Neuron Disease Association.

To donate: click here.
To keep up to date with Sarah and Happy Socks: click here. 

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