Mixed emotions in the Sarah Outen shore base. The last few days have seen great progress for Sarah. Even though she is just over 100 miles away from her starting point, her log reads over 200 miles. But, alas, not in the best direction. The Leeuwin Current has been doing its thing and Sarah has been unable to escape its grip, travelling south at speeds often reaching 3 knots. She is well on her way to Antarctica! So what do we do?!
She has been working hard. Many times a day she has tried to row sideways to the current and this has paid off in hard earned miles west. And the more west she gets the quicker she will get away from the current. Today was quite frustrating as you could see that she was trying all sorts of combinations and nothing seemed to be working. Motivation came from many sources, including experienced ocean rowers Roz Savage and Sally Kettle. They have both been on the phone with Sarah, helping her put her reality into context. It must be great for Sarah to listen to the wise words of two other people who can understand exactly what she’s going through. Girl Power!
But the really happy moment of the day came around lunch time when local sailor and Paralympic Gold Medallist Jamie Dunross sailed solo towards Sarah’s position. “You’ll never believe who just showed up! It’s Jamie! He’s come over to say hello!” – shouted a very happy rower on the phone. Jamie is a top sailor who is training for some pretty big trips, so this must have been an interesting exercise for him, especially as he described conditions as being quite tough, with large waves and strong head winds. This mid-ocean meeting lasted for about an hour and it must have been quite sureal for both of them! You just don’t show up for tea and biscuits mid-ocean like that!
As the day went by Sarah’s course only got worse, heading east of south on some occasions. We really needed a wind shift to help her get out west more. At one point there was not much more she could do, as she points out herself in a mid afternoon message;
JUST SHIPPED OARS. BEING BLOWN BACK FASTER THAN I CAN ROW. I CANT SEE WHAT ELSE TO DO.
So our rower has been sleeping all afternoon, and here we were thinking that she was doing some work! But this was a wise move, because if Sarah is to last the length of this Marathon, she has to be able to find the resolve to stop and rest as much as to get up and row. She has just woken up, the conditions are calmer and she will try to row a few hours now. Having said that, whilst on the phone, in what must have been a 10min session, 3 or 4 large waves broke over the boat. I could hear them loud and clear! And Sarah sounded cool about this! “Oh look, wow, that was a big one… big wave…. How cool is that! Cool Beans!” – This is a clear evolution in her state of mind compared to only 2 days ago when she would have been rather scared and sea sick. The human mind has a fantastic ability to just adapt. Sarah just sounded well rested and truly happy. Isn’t that great? Good on ya girl!
So, what’s the plan now, I hear you ask. Well, to just keep going. The wind will blow from the south and then south east for most of Friday and Saturday. This will help her get west. Good timing too because as she has come further south the current has weakened. All things considered she may be clear and heading west properly by Saturday night.
In the meantime this is me now signing out from the Royal Perth Yacht Club and Fremantle, Australia. My flight back home to Portugal leaves at sunrise.
On behalf of Sarah and her sponsors and supporters (you lot! :)) I would like to thank everyone in Australia for their energy, good vibes and sense of humor. A real family spirit has helped Sarah in many ways and everybody has been very kind and generous in not only their time and advice but endless logistical support. THANK YOU!!
Ocean Rower Roz Savage: www.rozsavage.com
Ocean Rower Sally Kettle: http://sallykettle.squarespace.com
Solo Sailor Jamie Dunross: www.solo1.com.au
Sarah – I heard you talking with Stuart Maconie last night. You sounded fantastic – really buoyant and happy. That’s the spirit. And don’t worry about the state of your cabin – you’ve never seen my kitchen !!!
All the very best – keep going – we’e all behind you !!
LOL I thought I was the only one who says “COOL BEANS”!!!
I’m Barry from Oregon USA. I was a rower in High School and I’ve been planning to build a boat and row around Glacier Bay Alaska. I had my design all but finalized when I saw Jamie’s “Positive Outcomes” , your boat’s older sister. It is so much like my design it is incredible. I plan to build a couple more boats and ruin the kayak rental business in Glacier Bay.
As I write this it is day 6 for you. Hang in there You’ll beat that current. It’s good to see an ocean rower who actually cares about the ocean and children. I love kids! And I love Bald girls.
Luv ya Barry BEAR Gumbert usa
Thank you Ricardo for such brilliant , beautifully written postings. You are a major star in this whole show. Safe homeward journey to you.
Sarah set sail on a row-boat from
Oz, But it wasn’t a sailboat, Mom,
It didn’t have a sail
And when it leaked she’d bail
All this because she’s a bloody Pom.
Hi Sarah – my whole family is following your trip. We feel close to it and to you as we have three girls at Stamford and Lexi in the junior school really enjoyed your visit. She oftens talks about you.
My first love is sailing – I know just how frustrating it can be. Your blog reminds me of a race at Aldeburgh tacking against a 3 knot tide. Lets just say I EVENTUALLY got round the elbow in the river. Motto is keep going – you will beat the current and you will get there.
Yours with huge admiration
Sarah we are all tickled pink at setting up the surprise visit to you by Jamie Dunross. Can’t wait to see it in your book; – “I was 120 miles offshore and this bloke in a wheelchair rocks up to say hello”.
For those that don’t know Jamie is a quadriplegic with an S&S 34 yacht kitted out for solo. He’s the kind of guy who should run a complaints department – not many people do it tougher, nor with better humor. Great guy. He probably just set another world solo distance record visiting you yesterday.
I can pass on that he was absolutely thrilled to sail out to you and expressed enormous admiration for you.
You’re doing well in tough conditions – there’s no pretending. This first bit will be the hardest of the entire journey as you’ve got southern ocean swell, adverse current and wind against current. Rest assured the top of the Indian Ocean is a doddle compared to what you’ve got to get through here.
Assume that you are complying with the International Regulations regarding keeping a lookout at ALL times? Gonna be rather tired if you are ;p
Dave Wallace Says:
‘March 19th, 2009 at 10:07 pm #
Sarah set sail on a row-boat from
Oz, But it wasn’t a sailboat, Mom,
It didn’t have a sail
And when it leaked she’d bail
All this because she’s a bloody Pom.’
Thats nice and encouraging, if your not gonna be positive please dont bother!!!!
Hang in there Sarah, things will get better. Thanks Ricardo for all the bloggs keeping us up to date. They have been fantastic. Have a good trip home.
We met at Royal Perth Annexe last week. We’re the Scottish couple you met. Your performance so far has been amazing. In a couple of days it will be easier. Watching your track is awesome. Keep it up. It’s nice to know someone as nice as well as famous as you.
Hey sarah, been hearing about your amazing mission from your bro, think your going to do a brilliant job and i wish you all the best in achieving your goal. look forward to hearing about it when you get back.. good luck.
Sarah, I guess Ric is on plane and maybe out of comms at moment. Oceanographer from Australian Ocean Research said today when asked;
“Yes, I see why she is having a hard time. She needs to get south of the centre of the cold eddy. Trying to go north of it would be like driving on the wrong side of the road.
The arrows on the map attached show the general sense of the flow. The green features south of her are going east, like the water she’s in. If she went south to about 34.0S then west it might be easier.”
The map he provided precisely matches your track to current influence. And shows the path west at 34S.
I really hope you have the chance to read everyones comments today, both encouraging and useful. Geoff’s especially. All of us in Freo and those you shared bar time with at RPYC are willing you on every hour. Had a call early this morning from a fellow you met. Apparently dreaming of you disturbed his slumber! He awoke me from a dream I was enjoying, I was floundering around in the ocean but it was warm and I was happy. Seems you’ve captured our minds! I’ve been on the phone most of the day with friends calling….Hey, who’s this Sarah?…..how’s Sarah? You were a big hit here and the fan club is growing. Hope the track opens for you at 34S like Geoff suggests. Cheers, Sally
I am still flabbergasted at what I saw yesterday! I spent the last 24 hours battling to get out of the Leeuwin current myself and I had sails doing it for me. It is pretty hard for anyone to imagine how hard it is out there until you’ve seen it with your own eyes. Watching you row up these mountainous swells was awe-inspiring. If there is any support you think I could help with don’t hesitate to ring any time – my mobile is 0439 529 520.
It was a real buzz to set off and actually find you out there. Your courage and tenacity is a breath of fresh air, and know that you have the full support of all who met you in the time you were in Fremantle. As far as I can see everything that you have achieved so far in the conditions you are up against is equivalent to climbing two Mount Everests!
Any basking sharks about?If so out with the plankton net!
I`m sure all your Silurian shipmates are thinking of you & willing those currents to turn in your favour.
The “token male”,Silurian Aug `06
PS love the hair!
Just listened to you on BBC iplayer – you sounded great! I’ve been following your progress so far and sending the link to this website to literally everyone I know who I haven’t already badgered about you. General consensus of opinion is “Wow! She’s something. Slightly crazy, but amazing!”
Muchos luck for the journey.
All the very best to you Sarah-
Wishing you well and following your progress —
Just keep working at it… you will make it out soon.
I heard you on Mark and Stuart’s show the other night – always an inspiring experience anyway, but all the more so for hearing of your exploits!
I took the opportunity to check out your route on google earth with the kids, and we’ll follow your progress with much admiration!
Love, Glo and the boys
(in Worcester, about as far as you can get from sea!)
Sarah, you don’t know me from adam but my family and I are all following your adventure with great interest as my nephew is taking part in the Indian Ocean Rowing Race towards end of april. He is nowhere near as experienced as you, so we’re hoping he can pick up some ‘tips’. Good luck !
Hi there, the Outen! Checking in, finally! While I’ve been essay writing you’ve been rowing hard against a horrible current! it’s great to know you’re on your way and your blog has been started in wonderful style by your handsome weather man! (Oops, did I say that?!)I’d not realised you’d set off, so sorry not to have been ‘aboard’. Our boat’s now got a new charger and a solar panel, so, although it’s the epitome of tame compared to where you are, we’re looking forward to going sailing next week. Still at the end of a mobie. my Mum’s anniversary last Friday, so thought of you and what your grieving has led to. I’ve got a picture of my Mum’s of some strawberries in a jar of jam. Around the edges it says ‘if we hadn’t been in the same bed together, we wouldn’t be in this jam now’. Not sure why that seems relevant, but something about the odd things we do when stuff happens. Lots of love, Pam
Come on you can do it!! You’ll get back on corse soon! I belive in you… your the bravest person ever!:):):)
Love you lots you rock Emilie Xxx
I would like to dedicate this song for you. It is called “Sailin Home” by Demis Roussos, which can be found on a 2CD set called “Island of Love” SMD CD210.
Keep on rowing you can do it.
Looking like you have a smart plan Sarah. Good on you. Sally.
Hi Sarah i hope you get back on track soon,
keep rowing you doing great job all the best Ati.
Perfect weather today – enjoy!
SES are thinking about you and send our love! It’s great you are getting a bit of culture out there, Mozart, how grown up. I’m so inspired by you Sarah, keep it going. Lots of love, Zan.