Happy, Happy Days

Hello everyone. My name is Ricardo Diniz and I have been working with Sarah for the past 18 months.

As many of you already know Sarah is now on her way, finally at sea, having departed early this morning at 05:55 Local Time from Fremantle, Australia. She is a bit busy just now, trying to gain some much needed sea room and tranquility so she has asked me to send you this message.

Already? Wasn’t Sarah going to leave next week?
The plan was to initiate a waiting period starting on the 10th March. During this time we would aim to have everything ready in 24h should we need to leave. The weather is the main factor here and numerous variables must be considered. Studying the weather closely, every 6 hours or so, we could see a potential weather windon developing for Wednesday the 18th, just after a low pressure system blows past south of Fremantle. But the 18th is a long way and such a distant forecast is not as accurate as one would wish. The guarantee was not really there. So we kept monitoring.

I arrived on site, from Portugal, on the 12th and immediately got dug in with some local knowledge. As Sarah’s weather man it gave me great confidence to listen to the generous advice of the enthusiastic sailors and yacht club members. Their quick facts and snippets of local trivia were filling in all the gaps that months of distant research had not. And we kept monitoring. Friday morning I awoke at 5am, still a bit confused with the new time zone but mainly because it had been a really windy night and I couldn’t wait to get online to learn what the weather was doing and why it had been so windy. Meteorology is a fascinating art. There are common global rules that one can go by. There are tonnes of archived facts and numbers from the past that you can study and then you can just look around and up and just smell the air. And something was telling me that we could be starting this voyage a lot sooner than expected.

The weather had shifted. Only ever so slightly, but it had shifted, enough to provide us with what was now shaping up as a really good weather window. By 7am I knew we could be leaving in the next 18 to 24h or so. I didn’t tell Sarah. She was relaxed and enjoying life like she does. I didn’t want to false alarm her with something so big, so imminent. We had media commitments that morning, namely with Paul Kane from Getty Images, the world’s biggest photo library and clearly people of good taste as they were very keen on getting some good photos of Sarah. This was useful for me as we towed her out of the marina and outside the shelter of the port, allowing me to observe the weather a litter closer. All the signs were there. We had gone directly from Code Red to Code Green. It was time to go and activate the ‘dream machine’ to get everything ready properly and fast. Really fast. But I had one last step before calling the weather window officially; Consult little Miss Rower, Sarah Outen herself. “The weather is looking quite good actually. How would you feel about leaving in the next 18 hours or so…?” – You know the big Sarah grin where everything lights up and even her hair seems to stand up straight? Well I got one of those. But she tried to look calm and composed. It was delightful to watch. “Yeah. Fine. Lets do it if you think its looking good.” And so, just like that, we had awoken to a far different morning than we had expected and Friday the 13th was about to become one of the most fantastic days any of us had ever had. Departure was agreed for 6am the next day.

As if by MAGIC!
There was a lot to do. Bits. Lots of bits. The list was intimidating and the day was being sticky. Things weren’t happening fast enough. I have been acting as a filter for Sarah, taking her calls and not saying yes to every single interview request. This girl needed peace of mind. She had done enough for her sponsors and press. Now it was time to focus on herself and the task ahead. Throughout the day more and more people showed up, friends of friends, all enthusiastic and available to work hard. The main list included removing everything off the boat, everything, sorting things as best as possible, leaving behind what we didn’t need, stowing all the food and if we had time I was very keen on doing a self righting test. This involves putting the boat upside down and seeing if it comes back up again. We expect it to but there is nothing like trying it out! The amount of gear was unbelievable and dwarfed the boat. We had to pack things sensibly and in a way that would keep the boat balanced. At one point there were 3 of us in the boat and 3 on the pontoon just sorting throug everything. And you know you can’t stop until it’s all done. So we didn’t. The self righting test was successful to our great delight and that done we started packing everything back onboard again. Sarah stayed in the office, dealing with last minute details and not resting or eating as much as I would have prefered. I had to let her be. This was her moment and as much as I really wanted her to switch off all I could do was get her off the boat and later sleep what must have been a very agitated 3 hours for her. She was about to embark on a trip into the vast depths of the Indian Ocean. But before all that, we both had private concerns about the first few hours, through buoys, shipping, reefs and islands. The weather window had shown itself as we had hoped and we could only hope that our calculations were correct and that the wind angles would hold and get Sarah safely away from the shore, as soon as possible. It was 4am. We were ready.

Departure
Sarah chose to sleep on here boat. It made sense to me. She was already on her way in her mind. I stayed up working on final details. There were still about 10 people around and things were being done fast. I was relaxed. It was all feeling good. It was going to be ok. I woke up Sarah to give her time to get ready with no rush what so ever. It’s important to enjoy these last few moments ashore. More people began to show up, including kayakers and press. At 05:50, still dark, Sarah Outen did a little running circle on the dock, hugged everyone present and said good bye. Still smiling she quickly set herself up and rowed away from the dock. The kayakers followed into the silence of the night. The wind was doing exactly what it was meant to do, pushing Sarah away from land fast, with a good bit of north in her course also. A small group followed on sailing yacht ‘Do It’, by kind invitation of the Zulsdorf family. We stayed close to Sarah for about 2 hours, before hoisting sail and getting back to shore. As soon as we arrived ashore we hoped on the Fremantle rescue boat and motored out at 30 knots to join Sarah again. But when we got to her estimated position she was not to be found anywhere. We looked for 20 minutes. The seas were large and confusing enough to hide her. After great effort we found her doing very well and managing good speeds in these conditions. In 4 hours she had covered over 10 miles. Not bad at all. We said our final good-bys and motored back against the increasing seas. She was really on her way and mother nature was helping out in style.

First few days
There are plenty of new things to adapt to, now that Sarah is out there alone. Her main concern will be getting away from land. In fact, she has just called me now (18:45) with a position that doesn’t make sense, concerned about a wind speed and direction that doesn’t appear anywhere on my charts. She says she is being blown back towards land. She is tired and this could generate insecurity and poor evaluation or decision making ability. And that’s just fine. The task ahead is huge. The first night at sea is always one of mixed feelings. Sarah now has to be born again, into the oceans and gradually switch off from earthly thoughts and emotions if she is to be happy alone at sea. I will stay in Fremantle until I am sure Sarah is totally clear of land and well on her way.

Go for it girl!

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32 Responses to Happy, Happy Days

  1. Michelle & Stephen Price says:

    Best wishes for a safe trip Sarah.

    We are locals (from Perth) and will be watching your journey with interest.

  2. Geoff Holt says:

    Heh Ricardo, thanks for that magnificent account, I felt I was thee with you. You should take up writing, you have a talent. It goes without saying, but please pass on our love and best wishes to Sarah when you next speak. Has the tracker been activated yet? I can’t see anything just yet.

  3. Dom Carrington says:

    I was one of the crew on board the rescue boat that took Ricardo out to look for Sara this morning and was totally blown away by her huge grin, given the mammoth task ahead.
    I would like to take this opportunity to wish her every success and intend to monitor her progress every day, with best wishes for every step (stroke) of the way.
    She is an inspiring lady!

  4. Richard Adams says:

    Best wishes for a safe trip from all the trustees on the Rutland Trust

  5. belinda dade says:

    Heard an item about you on Radio Two this morning!!! We shall be watching the news on tv later hoping there will be something about your departure.

    Lots and lots of love from the Dade family xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  6. Jaren says:

    I’m impatient to meet Sarah in Mauritius.

  7. Jill and Stan Lewis says:

    Sara we felt so lucky to have talked to you on Tuesday while loading our yacht next to Serendipity.Your enthusiasm and grin was delightful and I have nothing but admiration. We planned to farewell you tomorrow! Later I found your website and was further amazed by your reason. I too have rheumatoid arthritis and will donate via the site. You must have loved your father very much. Keep focused, he will look after you. heaps of love and good luck for your crossing. jill Lewis

  8. Jill and Stan Lewis says:

    Ricardo, thanks for that account. it haas put a whole new perspective on it. We were sorry to miss her departure. hope you will keep us posted. Jill lewis

  9. Anita says:

    We are rowing with you and tracking your progress on our map at school. Hope Speedy Bear is helping. Lots of good luck wishes from everyone at Stamford Junior School.

  10. Kerryn Barton & Marty Chambers says:

    So glad to have farewelled you Sarah this morning from Fremantle – a beautiful time for us kayaking with you under the cover of darkness and sharing this significant moment with such an inspirational women. Wishes for a safe journey and contented days.

  11. joe lin says:

    cheers from hong kong! best wishes for sarah as she powers ahead! what an inspiring act! will follow her progress and pray for her.

  12. Dyl Powell says:

    Dear Sarah,
    Hope all is going well. I shall keep the girls and staff up to date with your progress. Safe journey.

    Best wishes from Dyl Powell and all at Stamford High School.

  13. Christina Clarke says:

    Sarah, so glad to have had a chance to say bon voyage before you left! Meet the challenges, conquer the fears and enjoy! I will be thinking about you, and have told my girls (Alice and Lily, aged 15 and 14) about the fantastic voyage you are embarking on. Somehow, their daily challenges should get into perspective when they know what you are facing every hour.. Laugh in the face of danger and you are unstoppable. Godspeed. Christina.

  14. Your big Brother says:

    Hi Ricardo,

    Thankyou for your account of Sarah’s depature. I would love to have been there to see her off, sadly work dictated otherwise. Please next time you speak to her, pass on my love, support and best wishes.

    Go Sarah!!

    Michael x

  15. Roz Savage says:

    Go for it Sarah! I’ve been watching your preparations over the last couple of years, and I know how well prepared you are. Now bring it on home!

    Thinking back to my first night alone on my rowboat, on the Atlantic in 2005 – and I was terrified. And continued that way for a couple of weeks. Daunted. Overwhelmed. But then I got tired of being scared, and started to feel more at home. Everything passes.

    Just relax, enjoy, and take it one stroke at a time – it’s the only way!

    with huge love, respect and best wishes for a safe and successful crossing
    Roz xxx

  16. Mum says:

    How wonderful you are…my little Sugar Plum….and your Dad’s too. I know I am so proud of you. Take care, Go for it. Lovely photos.
    I keep meeting people in the street and they all wish you well and safe journey. As I do.

    i am looking forward to mauritius!!!
    Mum. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  17. Christine & Kathleen says:

    Wonderful news that you are on the way, have a great time. Our love and thoughts are with you and your Mum too.

    Thanks for the great report felt as though we were there with you.

    Will be following your progress and look forward to heraing about your journey.

    Best wishes for a safe trip

    Much love and God bless you and dippers, your Dad will be looking down and guiding you through.

  18. Alan Thomas says:

    WEY TO GO !!

    Sorry I just missed the moment, of departure.

    have a good and safe journey

    Alan and Dawn
    Wales

  19. Danwie says:

    Sarah! what excitement you must feel among the other emotions and feelings! I pray Venus calms the Oceans, and that Cupid’s got your back.

    Just know that Ricardo is right there even though you can’t see him, and so is your Dad, we are all there one way or another; and we wait news of your incredible journey,

    Bright Blessings, Bright Stars, Bright Skies,

  20. Clem says:

    Hi! Sarah
    Been a bit quiet around here since you left! Ricardo monitoring things well and members asking after you and wishing you well. Will keep them up to date.
    Been a wonderful privilege to help you on your way with this fabulous adventure
    Safe travelling.
    Clem (your man that can!!)

  21. margot says:

    Sarah it was a huge privilege to met you and see your amazing start to your journey. Your will is inspiring. Enjoy the southern cross and the beautiful night skies like no one else can.
    I will be following your every move with interest. Fantastic job Ricardo, you were so calm, confident and organised, which made Sarah’s departure so smooth.
    Margot

  22. Eddy Joyce says:

    I`d loved to have been there to see you off on your voyage. God speed Sarah.

  23. helen jack says:

    Good luck Sarah keep safe …wish I was young again ..do it for us frustrated mature people

  24. Ati says:

    Hi Sarah Sunday morning looking to the newspaper if any
    news about you?? I hope to heard from soon good luck happy
    rowing.

  25. Mark Ledger says:

    Hi Sarah n Her team

    Well done you lot and may all be safe and achive your goals. I take my hat off to Sarah and I hope her dad keeps an eye on her.

    Kind Regards

    Ledger Family

  26. Margaret says:

    Good Luck in your quest
    Margaret
    Stamford

  27. Jon Greatorex says:

    Hi Sarah,
    Was driving to school on Friday morning and heard an account of your imminent departure on Radio Four’s ‘Today’ programme. Hope all is going well – I’ll have to relay Mr ‘E’s best wishes too – he only found out what the wheel in the middle of a mouse was used for, last week, and we’ve had to paint ‘Enter’ on the enter key so he knows where it is!
    Jon

  28. BPC and Albie says:

    Thank you SO MUCH Ricardo for such a wonderfully detailed account of Sarah’s departure. I felt all the suspense, excitement, butterflies. Second only to being there in person! Wonderful to know Sarah and Dippers are on their way. Will be following all the way to Mauritius, xxx

  29. Kirk Zulsdorf says:

    Hi Sarah

    Your enthusiasm is infectious, and Barbs and I find ourselves wondering where and how you are all through the day. I mentioned your departure at my work place. Colleagues are logging in to your website, keen to discover and share a little bit of your adventure.

    Our thoughts are with you …

    Kirk & Barbs (Do-it)

  30. Marie and Peter says:

    Safe journey and calm seas as you follow your dream. Will follow with interest your adventure.

  31. Malcolm says:

    Sarah as the skipper of the fremantle Sea Rescue Vessle R100
    and one of the last persons to see you be for you headed west off rotto
    i would like to say all the best and have a safe voyage
    chers
    Malcolm

  32. Janet says:

    hope you’re enjoying the peace and quiet and wind and waves are kind to you, take care the ocean is a place of surprises, always err on side of safety, look after yourself and the sea will look after you
    best wishes for a safe trip
    Janet

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