Blog

Welcome to my blog, where I share all the stories from my L2L expedition as I row, cycle and kayak a continuous loop of the planet. I hope you'll enjoy experiencing the highs (and lows!) of my journey so far and the adventures ahead on my way back to Tower Bridge. You can also have a listen to my Phonecasts recorded en route.

TALK: Bristol, Wednesday 10th Feb

Folks,

 

This is one for those in the Southwest.

I am giving a talk on my L2L adventures on Wednesday 10th Feb (next week) at St George’s in Bristol, with all proceeds going to the brilliant Youth Adventure Trust. Tickets £10 via stgeorges.co.uk

I do hope that you will consider coming along if you are in the ‘hood – it is a great charity with many positive aims and outcomes for young people in the area.

 

Go well,

Sarah

 

Calling all Bristolians...

Calling all Bristolians…

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Happy Socks Returns

With the RNLI Castletownbere crew (Credit Niall Duffy/West Cork Photo)

With the RNLI Castletownbere crew (Credit Niall Duffy/West Cork Photo)

A few days after Happy Socks was spotted just half a mile offshore in SW Ireland and picked up by the RNLI crew of Castletownbere, we launched a pick up mission to bring her home. A 30 hour round trip of driving and ferrying, cleaning and sorting, and shaking hands of the RNLI crew who picked her up, it was a great and happy adventure. Beautiful, too, for that part of the world is a gem. All the more so when the sun came out and bathed the hills in warmth, sending sparkles across the sea and curving a bright rainbow down to our little white boat.

Seeing the spot on the map where Happy Socks was spotted by a walker on the cliff top. Credit Niall Duffy/West Cork Photo

Seeing the spot on the map where Happy Socks was spotted by a walker on the cliff top. Credit Niall Duffy/West Cork Photo

It was an emotional day. The anticipation of seeing her again, my tummy turning all the way there; the way in which it was already making our Atlantic voyage so much more real in my head and bringing back lots of memories, some wonderful and some painful, a rush of past and present at once. Listening to the story of how the RNLI crew managed to get a line secured just 50 metres from the rocky shore on their third and final attempt to do so, realising just how close she was to being smashed.  Seeing her for the first time since I had left at the start of October, leaping up towards the metal hulk of the Federal Oshima in the dark of the pre dawn. Watching her drift and rock on the waves as we steamed ahead, bawling with pain at having to leave her behind to a grey Atlantic fate. Stepping aboard her greened and holed deck for the first time, watched by the RNLI crew, talking gently to her and checking her out. So familiar and yet so unfamiliar, flooded as she was, algae everwhere, bits missing and holes chucked out. It was so real and yet so surreal. My mind quickly clicked into practical mode and we hauled out as much kit as we could and pumped out the icy water to make her ready for trailering home.

Kit and barnacles everywhere

Kit and barnacles everywhere

I have spent the best part of the last four days emptying, scrubbing, sorting and cleaning Happy Socks and the ocean kit at home, returning her to something more like the little white boat I left behind.  She looks great, all things considered. There is work to be done to patch her up here and there, but otherwise she is in fine form. Kudos to Jamie Fabrizio for yet another brilliant boat, though I knew that already after nearly 300 days on the Pacific and Atlantic…

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The Atlantic Lady herself.

Happy Socks is now for sale. I am looking for a new owner for her to continue her ocean voyaging. I would love to keep her but cannot afford to do so and would hate for her to be sitting unused. Boats are made to be on the water.  Potential buyers please email via hello@sarahouten.com for more information and an inventory of kit to be sold with her.

Thanks to Father Anthony and Lucy for the epic driving, Coxswain Brian O’Driscoll and his crew for showing us around and helping get Happy Socks on to the trailer, Nuula from the RNLI for handling the PR and Carol for the washing machine marathon of cleaning my stinky ocean clothes.  Thank you also to the HMCG Falmouth and the ships who reported sightings as she made her way eastwards, and Valentia CG in Ireland for coordinating the pick up.

It feels like we have come full circle. The post-expedition whirl pooling is calmer for having my team mate home again.

Go well,

Sarah and Happy Socks :-)

Upcoming:

* Tune in to BBC2 this Thursday at 10pm to watch Sarah alongside comedienne Jo Brand and super gymnast Max Whitlock on the Clare Balding Show.

* Come along to Bristol on 10th Feb to hear Sarah give the ‘Going Beyond’ lecture for the Youth Adventure Trust. Tickets £10. Info here.

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Happy Socks is safe

Photo Credit RNLI/Castletownbere

Photo Credit RNLI/Castletownbere

Photo Credit RNLI/Castletownbere

Photo Credit RNLI/Castletownbere

This is just a quick note to let you know that our dear little Atlantic trooper, Happy Socks herself, is safe in Ireland. It is three months since I was picked up a few hundred miles north of the Azores by Federal Oshima ahead of Hurricane Joaquin, leaving Happy Socks behind.

I nearly fell off my seat yesterday when I had an email letting me know that the Valentia CoastGuard had received a call about a boat that looked like it was in trouble and that the local RNLI crew at Castletownbere took her safely under tow to bring her to shore. If she had been spotted much later, she would probably have been smashed upon the rocks – she was less than half a mile from shore when she was picked up.

We are making plans to go and retrieve her and shake the hands of the crew that picked her up, and give her a huge welcome home hug. To me, it feels like a friend has come back from the dead. It is very special and very emotional and I am very grateful.

More in due course, but for now, I am busy book writing.

All salty best,

Sarah and Happy Socks (eek!)

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BT Sport Action Woman 2015

Hello and ahoy -

Life is calming down steadily after the adrenaline of Tower Bridge day over a week ago and the following media run. I am catching up on sleep and enjoying the calm and headspace of being home, spending time with friends and family.

Physically my recovery and transition is a mix of physio, sports massage, and mostly gentle exercise, in a bid to turn unhappy muscles and posture back to a happier normal.

Soon I will start work on my new book – Dare to Do – due to be published in May. Apart from a couple of already-committed events, I shall not be doing any speaking for some time as I focus on writing.

In other news, I am chuffed to have been shortlisted in the BT Sport Action Woman of the Year awards, alongside 9 other women or women’s teams. The Awards evening is December 1st and public voting is open until 23rd November. Rather short sightedly, voting is only open via Twitter – so only Twitter account holders can vote. But still, if you fancy voting for any of the nominees you can do so via the BT Sport Action Woman site here.  Even if you cannot vote, the stories of each nominee are pretty inspiring, so worth a watch.

For now, go well and thanks for all your support in these final weeks.

Sarah and Team L2L x

P.S Tickets still available for the TransGlobe Expedition Trust event at the RGS in London on 26th November. Tickets here.

P.P.S Great to see the charity totals still rising steadily. Donations gratefully accepted here.

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EVENT: On the Edge, 26th Nov, London

091115 TGET FlyerCome and hear Sarah talk on her L2L adventures alongside other inspirational and entertaining folks: Jonathan Porritt, Brian Blessed and Ben and Natalia Weber. It forms an the annual (and blimmin’ marvellous) TransGlobe Expedition Trust fundraising event at the RGS on Thursday 26th November.

Event information here and ticket sales here.

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