Sarah is exhausted. She has been unable to point her boat in the right direction and even though the wind was there to help her get west and north, she has gone almost due south for the past 12h. Looking at the tracker, she put in a really good effort last night as she managed to get some good westing as soon as she pulled the sea anchor onboard. The instant change in her course is really quite amazing. But then, for reasons we don’t understand, she wasn’t able to keep going in that direction for the rest of the day. Today felt like 48h to Sarah, who sounded most confused and dazed mid afternoon when we spoke on the phone. I asked her very clear questions, like where the wind was from and what her course was, and she was frustrated and unable to provide the correct information. Of course I know exactly what the wind was doing and we can all see her course, but Sarah was too tired to figure it out and then told me that she was going to hang up and go to sleep a bit as she wasn’t quite sure what she was doing or in what direction she was rowing. Although tough for her it makes for interesting reading to us common mortals who can only imagine what this girl is going through.
She woke up 2 hours later and got rowing again. And again she is going too far south.
The wind is going to be very calm until the morning so this will give her reduced seas and a more peaceful environment to rest. Often at sea the noise of the wind and the boat moving through the water can be very hard to deal with, hour after hour. It is just so loud and repetitive sometimes. Tonight she won’t have that. It will be relaxing. She needs the good sleep, not just any old sleep!
Her messages today, uncorrected and with times for her part of the world;
11:12 – PLUGGING AWAY. STILL GETTIMG A BIT SOUTH. AT LEAST MAKING SOME WEST.
13:56 – WIND MOSTLY SW.JUST ROWED 7HRS.SLEEP NOW. BLOG LATER. FIND ME A SE! SPOKE TO A SHIP LAST NIGHT! HUGS X
19:34 – JUST WOKEM UP WILL GETREADY TO MAKE PUSH
15:09 – STRUGGLIMG TO HOLD A COURSE AND STAY AWAKE. NEED REST AND FOOD THEN AGAIN…
Sarah is now very close to the western most sector of the Leeuwin Current, meaning that by this time tomorrow she should be able to be rowing in the direction that she wants. However she is still adapting. Things won’t always be like she wants simply because she still doesn’t know how. For example, earlier today she was saying that she found it hard to steer because the instruments moved a lot with the motion and there were no reference points around her. I asked her if she could pick a cloud and use one every 10mins or so and then as that one moves past to pick another. Its easier to look at something on the horizon or just above your boat than at a floating compass with small numbers. She said that at night she had done just that, but with stars. So it is my hope that when she wakes up in a bit, she will manage to pick her star yet again and put in another solid session of good rowing in the right direction.
When I last spoke to her, one thing that I was very clear on was how well she was doing. All things considered we just want her to point to Mauritius so that we can all go for a swim there with her as soon as possible! (Admit it!) So the big picture is that she is not being pushed backwards or around in circles. She is moving, sounding happy and funny when not too tired and totally focussed on getting the job done.
In the next hour or so, Sarah Outen will be exactly 100 miles away from her starting point. This doesn’t mean much as her onboard log is what really counts. But she will have travelled through the water close to double that. 100 miles is a nice round, reassuring number. Even the worst of storms would need over a day to blow her back onto the beach. And on a trip like this, every little milestone, or should I say, accomplishment, (really!) counts.
Well done Sarah!