“Sarah will face dangers on a daily basis, which only the hardiest could tolerate. But I’m sure she will succeed and confirm that she is an adventurer and expeditioner second to none.” Sir Ranulph Fiennes
London2London: Via the World expedition saw Sarah loop the planet using a rowing boat, bike and kayak – a journey of some 25,000 miles that took 4.5 years. It was a charity fundraising and storytelling mission as well as a huge adventure. But this was a seriously tough undertaking. As Sarah says:
“This expedition pushed and challenged me to my limits and beyond. There were quite a few moments when I wasn’t sure if I would make it out alive. But I was determined to see it through to the end and to now be back home is really special. I have been humbled and inspired by the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met, which made for an amazing few years.”
- THE START LINE 2011: On 1st April, 2011, Sarah set off on her London2London expedition from London’s Tower Bridge and in her kayak, Nelson travelled down the Thames and across the English Channel to France. She was accompanied by sea-kayaking team-mate Justine Curgenven.
- PEDALLING EAST:She then jumped on her bicycle, Hercules, and cycled over 10,000 miles through France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, China and then back into Russia’s wild Far East. It was in China that she was joined by a young man called Goa who, having never really ridden before, cycled over 3000 miles with her on a whim – Goa has come to represent the true spirit of adventure that Sarah wanted to inspire.
- A TRICKY CROSSING TO JAPAN:Sarah then used Nelson and Hercules to paddle and cycle her way over 1,000 miles to Japan via the remote island of Sakhalin. She was accompanied by renowned paddler Justine Curgenven for this leg.
- NORTH PACIFIC ROW 2012:Chapter 1: On 13th May, 2012 Sarah set off on her solo row 4,500 miles from Japan to Canada across the mighty North Pacific. But after 25 days at sea, Sarah and her boat, Gulliver were hit by Tropical Storm Mawar. The damage Gulliver sustained as a result of repeatedly capsizing meant that it was not possible to continue the row and Sarah was rescued by the Japan Coast Guard. Shortly afterwards she flew home to the UK.
- RECOVERY & REBUILDING:The mental scars from Chapter 1 of the Pacific and its fallout took many months to heal. But Sarah rebuilt her team and the project and returned to Japan in the spring of 2013.
- NORTH PACIFIC ROW 2013:Sarah set out from Choshi, Japan in her boat Happy Socks on April 27th, bound for Canada. Four months in and she wasn’t even half way, after so many weeks of stormy, contrary weather and impossible currents. With her team, Sarah decided to ‘turn left’ and made for Adak, in the Aleutian Islands, some 600 miles to the North. One month later, after 150 days alone on the water, Sarah stepped ashore in Alaska after what she describes as her most gruelling expedition yet. Sarah returned home to train for the onwards journey by kayak with her paddling partner Justine Curgenven.
- ALASKA 2014: In Spring 2014 Sarah and Justine returned to the Aleutian Islands, Alaska and over the summer kayaked 1500 miles from Adak Island where Sarah had landed in her rowing boat, along the Aleutian Islands and Alasakan Peninsula to Homer. This portion of the journey can be described as ‘wind-assisted’ as Sarah and Justine used small sails on their kayaks to make their journey safer through the long, rough passes.
- NORTH AMERICA 2014/15: 2 weeks after finishing the paddling mission, Sarah set off from Homer on her bike Hercules to cycle from the Pacific to the Atlantic coasts. Cycling through one of the worst winters on record, it took Sarah 7 months to reach Cape Cod, Massachusetts where she is now preparing for her Atlantic row.
- NORTH ATLANTIC ROW 2015 Sarah spent four months alone rowing across the North Atlantic Ocean from Cape Cod on the East Coast of the USA. But poor weather and the threat of potentially life threatening conditions from the tail end of Hurricane Joaquin saw Sarah call fro a pick up. She was 1000 miles from her UK destination. She was forced to leave her boat Happy Socks at sea*.
- THE UK HOME STRETCH: In late October 2015 Sarah set off on her bike from Falmouth with friends, family and supporters and spent the next two weeks cycling up to Oxofrd. From there she was back in the kayak winding her way up the Thames
- LONDON’S TOWER BRIDGE 2015: On the 3rd November 2015 Sarah kayaked under Tower Bridge to complete her 4.5 year, 25,000 mile London2London expedition.
To read about her adventures in her own words, check out Sarah’s blog here.
*A few months after Sarah completed her expedition, Happy Socks was spotted out at sea and returned to her by the Irish Coast Guards.
The boats and bike
Sarah started the London2London expedition in Nelson, kayaking down the Thames from London’s Tower Bridge and across the English Channel to France. She kayaked in Nelson from Russia’s Far East to Japan via the remote island of Sakhalin and then kayaked in a three piece kayak along the Aleutian Islands from Adak to Homer in Alaska. Sarah kayaked in Nelson from Oxford to Teddington on the last few days of the expedition, before switching to Krissy for the final stretch of the Thames from Teddington to Tower Bridge.
On Hercules, Sarah cycled over 11,000 miles from France, right across Europe, Russia and China via the Gobi dessert, to the island of Sakhalin. Following the North Pacific Ocean row and kayak, Sarah has now taken up Hercules once again to cycle from west to east across Canada and North America. She then was back with Hercules for the final cycle from Falmouth to Oxford in October 2015.
In Gulliver, Sarah started to row across the North Pacific Ocean from Japan to Canada. Gulliver sadly had to be left at sea in June 2012 after Sarah and he were hit by Tropical Storm Mawar. Gulliver was replaced by Happy Socks in whom Sarah rowed successfully across the North Pacific Ocean from Japan to the Aleutian Islands in 2013.
On the Atlantic Sarah rowed with Happy Socks on her route from Cape Cod to Falmouth. But after 143 days at sea Sarah had to call for a pick up as Hurricane Joaquin was heading her way. Happy Socks was lost at sea during the evacuation.
London2London was proud to be partnered with the following brands who all believe in the journey and its goals.
‘Sarah Outen is an aspiring young woman who has touched Accenture with her courage and character. We made an instant connection with Sarah when we first met at Accenture’s International Women’s Day celebrations.
I am delighted that we have been able to build on this connection with Sarah and am very excited that we are supporting her on this adventure.’
Fiona O’Hara. Human Capital and Diversity lead, Accenture UK & Ireland.
Suppliers & Sponsors
While Sarah spends most of her time travelling alone, it is by no means a solo mission. She is supported by a brilliant team who manage, activate and advise, mostly remotely.
Sarah is paddling, pedalling and rowing her way back to London while the folks in her team manage things from various HQs on various continents. She has chosen her team for their skill, experience, energy and drive and knows that without their support there would be no expedition.
Lucy Allen – Chief of Engine Support
Lucy works closely with Sara and Sarah to ensure that the expedition runs as smoothly as possible. Lucy is a full time farmer, full time fiancee and full time supporter of L2L. Loving anything water based, she can often be found pulling a few sails on boats when time allows or running around the rugby pitch earning a few bruises.
Sara Davies — Project Manager
Often to be found on muddy cross country runs with dog Tinker when she’s not tending her sheep, pigs and hens. Sara’s main aim is to facilitate the smooth running of the London2London;Via the World expedition and to enable Sarah to travel across the world sharing her stories and inspiring others to take on their own challenges.
Jenny takes care of the media side of things for Sarah as she navigates her way across continents and oceans. Having cut her teeth managing the PR for media, marketing and ad agencies, Jenny loves the wealth of stories working on the L2L expedition constantly throws out. And when she’s not arranging press interviews for Sarah, you’ll find her chasing her toddler around London.
Rebecca’s many years of board-level business experience gained at Mars Inc, and a decade spent coaching and mentoring executives, make her well placed to support Sarah and the team in these areas. Linked-In.
Rin is a clinical and sports performance dietitian who very much practices what she preaches. She specialises in anything endurance from ultra running to rowing across the atlantic! She’s a keen advocator of dejunking many of the nutrition fads and mixed messages through her writing and twitter rants whilst challenging herself on expeditions and running miles on end. PND Consulting
Tony Humphreys – Ocean Chief
A sailor himself, Tony has been involved with over 140 ocean rows. Assisting Sarah with all aspects of the oceans, Tony’s knowledge and experience is invaluable. www.oceanpursuits.co.uk
Justine Curgenven – Support Kayaker & Film Chief
Justine joined Sarah on the kayaking legs of the expedition and has flown out to film at certain stages of the journey. A seasoned expedition sea kayaker with lots of exciting journeys under her paddle, Justine is also an award winning film maker. www.cackletv.com
Katy Allen – Accountant
Responsible for banking matters, Katy is a full time twin of Lucy, a farmer who works alongside the National Pig Association and she is also a part time soldier in the TA. Seeking as many adventures as she can, she has landed on her feet with this gem.
George Outen – Accountant
Responsible for the number crunching, George’s business experience as a forensic accountant is invaluable to the smooth running of the project. Outside of this, she is often to be found looking at the world through a camera lens or helping out at her local City farm. www.georginaoutenphotography.co.uk
Digital Explorer is a social enterprise that works with expeditions and schools to bring ‘real world learning’ to the classroom. We are delighted to partner with the London2London Expedition to create resources and other learning opportunities based on Sarah’s exploits; and we hope that teachers and pupils enjoy learning from Sarah as much as we do.
Seasoned expedition doctors, Sean and Caroline have worked with Sarah since her Indian Ocean row in 2008. They have trained Sarah in the skills she might need to keep herself healthy and support her in all things medical.
Lee Bruce – Weather Router
What Lee doesn’t know about ocean weather isn’t worth knowing. With decades of experience in routeing all sorts of boats across oceans, there is no one better to be providing weather forecasting and strategic advice to Sarah for her ocean rows. Ocean Met website
Helen Outen – Chief of Happy Socks
Having knitted her signature ‘happy socks’ for the entire L2L team, Sarah’s Mum Helen is often to be found searching for bits of kit, packing up fruit cakes to send out to remote parts of the world or keeping an eye on progress from L2L HQ.
Briony is a qualified psychotherapist with a great deal of experience of working with sportspeople, helping them improve their performance and achieve their goals through vital mental preparation. She has worked with Sarah for a number of years, coaching her on how to overcome the mental battles she has to face during her expeditions. For more, visit her website.
Jim Shannon – Website & Graphic Design
Jim was an illustrator before moving into art direction for advertising. In July 2010, he started his own agency. Jim has traveled and photographed in 41 countries worldwide. His images have been published widely.