"I'm no fool"

Dismissing critics, Sarah is adamant her second attempt to row solo from Fremantle to Mauritius is “not foolish” despite being swept 200 miles off course by the powerful Leeuwin Current in her first attempt. This time she is leaving nothing to chance.


“I’ll only use it in absolute emergency” said Sarah, referring to the outboard she has decided to take along on her second attempt to be the first woman to row solo across the Indian Ocean.

“Several Australians have told me that ever since Tony Bullimore had to be rescued by the Australian Navy some 2000 miles south of Perth, we Poms have a  reputation for triggering multi million dollar mid ocean resccues so I thought it the responsible thing to take an engine so that I can motor back if something goes wrong like if I get blisters” said Sarah.

During the week in Fremantle since her failed first attempt, Sarah’s 6.1m rowboat, ‘Serendipity’, has been modified by the installation of two 300ltr fuel tanks below the cockpit floor and she also plans to carry 12 jerry cans strapped to the sides to provide sufficient fuel for 1,500 miles motoring. “That will ensure I can motor to either Fremantle or to Mauritius from the half-way point of the 3000 mile total voyage” said Sarah.

Sarah will set out again this morning from the Royal Perth Yacht Club at Fremantle at 8:20am local time Wednesday, April 1st.

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29 Responses to "I'm no fool"

  1. Yikes says:

    Well I have to admit I’m glad you’ve seen reason. Just be careful with the matches lighting your stove with all that fuel on board.

    And do the seal the fuel tanks to ensure you haven’t motored some of the way?

  2. Lina says:

    We went to see Sarah off this morning at Fremantle and accompanied her up to Trigg. What an amazing Lady!!!! Good luck Sarah, we might come to see you in Mauritius, we know you can do it. Go Sarah Go!

  3. Geoff Holt says:

    Heh Sarah. All that fuel is going to add a lot of weight. Don’t be downhearted about the critics. After my near fatal start, the lovely Roz Savage sent me a quote. Now it’s my gift to you: “It’s not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or when the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worth cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat”. Theodore Roosevelt

  4. Herve Figon says:

    Hi Sarah
    Where there is a will there is a way. I remember that whilst at sea on one of my voyages we saw a little boat on the great Atlantic ocean. There was a lonely girl on board. We changed course to see if she needed something but she only waved at us. She was British.
    Good on you Sarah.

  5. Yikes says:

    This is the original (pesky) “Yikes” typing.

    The first comment above IS NOT FROM ME, but from some other person who wants to say something, but imply it is something I would say, rather than have themselves being seen as “negative”. (Invent your own fake name, fake Yikes above!)

    Anyway, in the “The Grand Plan” posts, the last post was from Geoff, who presumed I would be glad Sarah is taking an outboard motor, “just in case”. What do I think of the addittion? Tricky one. I am guessing that the motor and fuel have added at least 700 KGS to “Dippers”. That is a HUGE extra weight to add to what you were rowing before, HUGE. Presumeably your boat designer was consulted about all those jerry cans of fuel (weight) being placed above (and below) the waterline.

    I cant figure out whatsoever how you will be mounting the motor to the rear of your boat (perhaps is it side mounted?). If you do need to bring it out of storage and attach it, hopefully you have practised doing it a few times; it will not be easy, if you are slopping around. Make sure it is tied to safety points with a series of very short line as you move it into place, ‘cos it would be very easy for it to slip from your grasp and disappear. They can be buggers to start too!

    Anyway Sarah, if things really do go horrible, PLEASE make sure you do activate the EPIRB before fiddling with the motor. It may be of some help in calm conditions (the boat wasn’t designed to be used with a spare motor) but it wont help you in rough water. EPIRB in a real emergency – promise??

    Good luck xxx (the real) Yikes!

  6. Dr Evans says:

    Fell for that one, didnt you, Yikes!

  7. Yikes says:

    What??? You mean she aint taking no motor with her?? If that is the case, then YEP, she got me as an April idiot!

    As I said, I had A LOT of reservations about the motor and fuel, but at least it told me she was thinking of her safety and possible inconvenience to others. (The thought of her transferring all that fuel between storage and final container is pretty scary!)

    If you did trick me Missy, then good on you. xxx
    (But if it is for real, then be very careful and re-read my post.)

  8. Dr Evans says:

    Come on Yikes – you were really sucked in !

    The way, she’s carrying on, I reckon Sarah is sitting in the bar at the Esplanade, having a good chuckle. I reckon her alias is pesky Yikes too !

  9. fish says:

    who will be keeping a lookout while you are asleep? Having fished in the area for swordfish where you are travelling it concerns me greatly that vessels can put to sea relying only that others will see them? The logic doesnt cut it in any other place, road path airways etc.

    Remember at sea level you are lucky to see a boxship at 10 miles and they often do 25 knots. Thats less than 25 minutes horizon to you. in good weather.

    good luck anyway!

    PS the person who posted “16 meter waves”
    having spent many winters fishing off that area, I have never seen 16 meter waves there. 8 meters maybe in 50plus knots. If they were anywhere near that I think we might have seen them on the coast here? Perhaps a “over estimation”?

  10. Adrian Moss says:


    Well done. You wont need an engine, but i do hope they gave it to you!

    Best wishes


  11. Margot says:

    Wow Sarah, it’s nearly six and I’ve just looked at your tracker and I’m really impressed at how far north you have travelled. Well done. Looks like Freo was a good decision. I had a nice chat to your Mum and we both agreeded you were a very special person. Enjoy the peace and quiet of the ocean after all your hectic days on land and remember keep eating!

  12. Geoff Holt says:

    Arghhh, can’t believe I was duped. I guess we are blinded by our desire for Sarah to stay safe, it seemed a plausible, albeit slightly bonkers, safety measure..!!

  13. Jean says:

    Hi Sarah,

    I am not a sailor the nearest to sailing I have done is on the Norfolk Broads with some friends.So cannot comment like the rest on what you should be doing etc.I would like to say that I think you are one “plucky lady” and I wish you all the best on your challenge and I hope you make it.

    Best wishes

    Jean from Norwich Norfolk England

  14. belinda dade says:

    Hi Sarah

    Well done! Your warm-up lap started on Red Nose Day and now you are starting the real thing on April Fools’ Day (apostrophe in the correct place I hope!) It is also Olivia W’s birthday, so, all in all, a highly auspicious day to set off!

    Sarah and I leave for Sydney on Fri 3rd so we will wave over the ocean!

    Lots of love from the Dades xxxxxxxx

  15. geoff says:

    Well its nice to see everyone come to life again. I rather thought the spare motor had stunned everyone to silence.

    Still its a good thing really – safety first and all that.

    The forecast for wind is for average with potential gusts to 40% of average. So 25knts is a forecast for gusts to 35 (25+10), and wave forecasts always say with potential for double. So on the Friday Sarah was off Cape Naturalist the forecast for waves was 6-8m, hence potential for 16m. I said “up to 16m” which was a reference to the official potential, but you are correct, there may have been none at that height at all. Sarah estimated 12m. So Fish I am happy to be corrected on that one. Nice to know someone is paying attention.

    Sarah has a “SEA ME” radar ‘sender’ which is the best on the market. It both sends an ‘enlarged’ signal when it recieves an incoming radar signal and also sounds an alert for Sarah. Sarah then makes a VHF Securite call “All ships, all ships” etc. There is no perfect system for solo but its about the best there is. Also the Fremantle Port Authroity is advising shipping of her presence. Fremantle is not that big a port and once she is offshore there is very little shipping from any one direction and very little at all approching from the West. Not to make light of it, but its an answer to a fair question.

    I guess if worst came to the worst she could light a rag soaked in some of that 700kg of petrol and throw it in the water or something like that.

    Now what was it Sarah said? “Could everyone just be nice to each other” have I done that? Hope so!:)

  16. Charly says:

    Heya Sarah
    Well I don’t know whether you are taking an motor or not but i still take all of my hats of and I can’t wait till I hear from you again to find out how it is going
    talk soon
    x o x

  17. Ken says:

    I don’t know about this. Whilst I wish you well and am in awe of your attempt to row the ocean, converting your boat into a pseudo motor launch, would seem to me to negate the whole concept of rowing across an ocean using human power only. I thought even taking a sail on board a boat that was making a solo rowing effort was, if not banned, definately a no no. Who is to know you didn’t use the engine? And even so, having the comfort of this ‘fall-back’ would surely cause you to adopt a different attitude than those who venture out onto the seas with only themselves as a resource.

    It’s a shame. I wonder at the position of the ORC on this, and how it will affect all other ocean adventures.

  18. Mark Powell says:

    Great to see you are on your way again, god speed and hopefully progressing well under the starry night skies. Keep an eye out for the good luck charm of the seas.

  19. Laura says:

    Hahahah very good! I was waiting for someone to do something crazy today, didn’t realise it would be you!

    Stay safe and row like hell!

    Lots of love

    Laura, Dave Diddy and the new addition ‘Thunder’!

  20. Aidcrew says:

    You’re fab – next to the chandlery, we’ll have the Wind-Up Motor Merchants! For sale to the seagullibles…. and rowers with blisters.
    Round about the beginning of April. Well, just the First maybe….

    Hope you are enjoying your first day back on the blue, best wishes

  21. Ken says:

    I was hoping someone would take me to task for my entry, so I could say, “Gotcha”. Oh well.

    Anyway, Bon courage, Sarah.

  22. Honest, brave and foolish!!

    Good luck, bon boyage and god speed.

    Take care and remember that it is only a challenge. Failure is no disgrace – the taking part, the effort is what matters.

  23. Susie Hewson says:

    well It’s a funnier spoof than getting a bucket of water over the head, but the price of oil these days, I hope you are packing cooking oil rather than diesel! better for the fishies too:) Good luck Sarah Susie

  24. Spike says:

    Good one Outey. ‘The finger’ to all critics and a good spaghetti trees jest – fooled me. If real, petrol would have made Dippers stink. Have you actually stowed a parafoil below as alternative means of propulsion. Then, if blisters intrude, it could turn into an ocean kitesailing record ! Water generation plant and a better fishing record than Geoff gives Sarah a huge endurance, limited only by the Mars Bar supply?
    My experience of many commercial vessels in deep ocean is that there is rarely anyone on watch anyway – hailing on RT often gets no response. Hover alongside for 5 minutes and you might get a chef appear on deck. Must still be prepared to row like 8’s week to change a steady bearing.

  25. Mary says:

    Good luck Sarah.

  26. Mum says:

    WELL, she had lots of you fooled then didn’t she???????
    I told you al she’s a tough little cookie….she doesn’t need a motor! SHe is the engine and the power.
    Good on you daughter. Glad you didn’t forget what day it was!

    Hopefully all good for a while now. may the winds be fair (and in the right direction) Go Go Go.
    Love Mum xxxxxxxxxxxx

  27. Bluey Graham says:

    Sarah don`t worry about our navy & the cost of a rescue.Our navy spends millions of dollars on exercises but there is nothing like the real thing.Your 2nd start is looking good. Good luck.

  28. Tom Talbot says:

    Sara my name Is Tom Talbot and was one of the well wishers there for you depature my grand son Tom Talbot the fourth 7 months old was also there. He was the youngest wishing you bon vorage. I am a charter pilot and flew over you haeding north at six thousand feet this morning at 8.35 and again on the way back at seven thousand feet an hour later it was heart warming to see this small white boat way down on the ocean heading north west. May luck be with you and all your winds be fair Tom

  29. Rod Mac says:

    go girl but remember the sea is a hard task master and the RAN likes a good rescue best of luck Rod (ex RAN )

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