Afloating to the countdown

Happy Socks is afloat everyone!

The beautiful Happy Socks -afloat at Ryders Cove Boatyard

The beautiful Happy Socks -afloat at Ryders Cove Boatyard

After a week spent with Tony readying her for the water and packing all the food onboard, it was a grinning, proud rower that watched the guys at Ryders Cove Boatyard hoist her into the water on Thursday. I rowed her for all of five precious, calm, familiar minutes from one side of the pontoon to the other after finishing with some journalists and then showing some officers from the US Coast Guard my gear for inspection. I am aiming to get to the oars this weekend and continue my quiet tinkerings of modifying this, putting this and that away tidily and getting her ready for the row.

Both Happy Socks and myself got covered in red paint

Both Happy Socks and myself got covered in red paint

If the weather plays fair then I hope to leave the weekend of 2nd/3rd May and if it doesn’t, we shall wait quietly. The Chatham Coast Guard station will be escorting me out over the notorious sand bar, providing they aren’t rescuing someone elsewhere. Stay tuned for updates on departure plans if you are planning to come out and say cheerio…

Lt Easley of the US Coast Guard inspects my Survival Suit

Lt Easley of the US Coast Guard inspects my Survival Suit

Everything feels like it is coming together, even if the To Do List keeps growing as quickly as I cross things off, and that feels reassuring and exciting too. There is a need to both get into ocean mode and readiness and also stand down from the commitments of land life –  a sometimes bizarre juxtaposition. That said, my biking days seem like forever ago, even though I ride Hercules everywhere to and from errands etc.

93 year old WWII vet Bill Burlin spent his maritime years beneath the water on subs or flying missions in Alaska. We have much to talk about.

93 year old WWII vet Bill Burlin spent his maritime years beneath the water on subs or flying missions in Alaska. We have much to talk about.

I couldn’t have chosen a friendlier place to launch from – the people of Chatham and surrounds are being so kind to me and Happy Socks. Thank you all  for everything.

Marj's late husband Arthur Martin was inducted into the US National Hall of Fame for his pioneering Alden Ocean shell - the birth of recreational rowing

Marj’s late husband Arthur Martin was inducted into the US National Hall of Fame for his pioneering Alden Ocean shell – the birth of recreational rowing



PUBLIC TALK: Monomoy Regional High School, Chatham – 30th April, 7pm – All welcome. This will be my final public talk before I row home to the UK.

Until next time,

Sarah and Happy Socks x

P.S Thanks to: Sandy MacFarlane, Marj Burgard, the Village at Duxbury, Duxbury Bay Maritime School, Pleasant Bay Community Boating, Ryders Cove Boatyard, Carol and Dave Penfield, Joyce Hutchings, Bill Burlin, Team Allen.

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25 Responses to Afloating to the countdown

  1. Gigi W. says:

    So soon now! How I wish you were casting off from Virginia Beach….I should like to wave goodbye!

    ~Gigi in Va. Beach

  2. Steven says:

    You look really happy. Pack inside Happy Socks as much food as humanly possible. Can we track your rowing progress on a website? Cheers!

  3. Spike says:

    How appropriate to be leaving from Chatham. After crossing the pond, you will be entering the Thames by passing our own historic dockyard of Chatham, if only at arm’s length.
    (I know you will be concentrating on more immediate matters but am assuming here that you will be rowing/paddling along the South coast and not planning on Hercules for the leg through oggie land.)

    Maritime ‘To-do’ lists always seem to get longer – you’ve been there before. “It’s all part of life’s rich tapestry !”

    Fair winds, aye.

    • Sarah Outen says:

      Hi Spike

      Aiming to land on SW coast (ideally Falmouth) and then cycle up to the Thames in Oxford, then kayak and row back to Tower Bridge. Of course, weather may dictate landing somewhere entirely different!



  4. Andy Homden says:

    Congratulations, Sarah! Will be following your progress and hope all goes well for the planned departure date.

    All best wishes,

    Andy & Jan Homden


    I see Magwitch striding across to you from a hulk and thrusting you to the sea, his stern outraged face compelling obedience from any unruly waves and bestowing his certain great expectations for your future.

  6. Mary Sidlevicz says:

    We’ll be there,Sarah, for your talk in Chatham…so excited to hear & meet & support you!!!
    My wife, Marie, & I saw you on the road a few weeks ago as you were pedaling in…you had that great wide smile on & we knew nothing of you until we read about you in the paper. We said ~ hey, we saw that brave soul on her ‘ well equipped ‘ bike and wondered about you….
    Yeah, we are very excited right along with you…all the way!!
    Mary Sidlevicz & Marie Seufert

    Go London2London!

  7. Tony F says:

    Wishing you a fair wind and better than fair waves!

  8. Louise says:

    Hi Sarah

    Am moving house in next 3 weeks or so (I hope!) so want to wish you all the best luck in the world whilst I remember! What an amazing journey. You are very brave and so committed. Hoping all will go as smoothly as possible. Much love Lou x

  9. Elizabeth Cunningham says:

    Hi Sarah, I’ve been following you ever since a friend in Ontario told me about you. I’ve kept you in my thoughts and prayers all this time. So excited to see this last leg of the journey so close! Blessings! and may good weather show up for your send off from our side of the pond!

    Elizabeth Cunningham,
    Mount Albert, Ontario Canada

  10. Angie Humphreys says:

    Very best wishes Sarah as you approach this 3rd leg of your journey. It has been a privilege to follow your adventures and Oakham fans are very PROUD of you.

  11. Linda Randall says:

    Exciting stuff, indeed! Both you and Happy Socks are looking good. Here’s hoping for fair weather the weekend after next – and thereafter for the next few months…

  12. Christine Ashdown says:

    Hello Sarah

    All good wishes to you for the next part of your journey. We shall be following you all the way like we have done since you started your ventures.

    Its so nice to hear the folks are so kind and wonderful to you whilst you are on your travels.

    Its good to read all about your journey.

    Take care and happy rowing when the time comes

    K and C

    • Sarah says:

      Thanks K and C –

      Indeed, people have made this journey happen. It is humbling and beautiful to have such kindness shown to me.

      See you on the other side!


  13. Darlene Kehler says:

    Hello Sarah!
    We received your book (thank you so much!) and I practically read it in one sitting! I have been following your progress ever since we “almost met” in frosty Manitoba. Since reading your book I understand a little bit of what the next leg in your journey will be like. Wow! You are an inspiration! You are going to do this! Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Darlene and Marv Kehler
    High Bluff, Manitoba

  14. Stephen from Wisconsin says:

    It’s been wonderful watching you over the years. It seems like it’s all over. But the North Atlantic can be a serious journey, the last but not the least. Like they say, farewell and safe journey. May the warm Gulfstream gently carry you home, home…

  15. Heather says:

    Hi Sarah,
    Wow! Won’t be long now before you set off on your next and final leg home. We are all thinking positive thoughts and look forward to seeing you on your return. !
    We are getting ready to see the start of the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race starting here in Bridlington at 11.45 am!!!!
    Safe rowing, stay focussed, calm waters and steady winds are on the wish list for you
    Spoke to your Mum earlier this week and all is well……. Pending move keeping her busy!!
    Love and hugs
    Heather, Cameron , Sarah and Simon xxxxxxxxx


    Into your heart a wind that thrills
    From yon far country blows
    What are those blue remembered hills
    What spires what farms are those
    Those are the lands of your content
    Now is a shining sea
    The happy waves where you will row
    And come back home to me.

  17. Warren McNary says:

    Howdy from SW Sask. Thanks so kindly for the book you sent. Just finished it, VERY interesting. Spring here now, calving, seeding. Dry, though. No rowing here. Have found it interesting to follow your progress. Good Luck on the Atlantic leg!

    • Sarah says:

      I am so glad it arrived safely and that you enjoyed it too.

      We have very fond memories of our time on the plains and meeting Team McNary that evening. I can imagine the seeding and calving in your vast landscape…

      Thanks for the good energy,


  18. Michael and Margaret Tompsett says:

    Olly! Olly! Sarah!
    As they say in Oxbridge rowing circles from the french Allez! Allez! or Go! Go!

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