The good. The bad. And…?

… a TRACKER!
This is not the final solution but for now go ahead and enjoy playing about with all the bells and whistles on this rather good tracker:
http://system.marinetrack.com/scope/view/embed/sarahouten/

Sarah is doing well. Her position is positive and she has progressed in the right direction over the last 48h, covering over 70 miles. As the crow flies, she is exactly 60 miles away from Fremantle, her point of departure. This represents a fabulous start, not only for her confidence but for her safety. The further away from land she is the better. This may sound unusual to most of you, as land represents our home, our lives and our relative safety. But when you are at sea you want nothing to do with all the hazards that clutter our coastlines. These include ships, fishing boats, ships, fishing pots, nets, ships, pollution, reefs, islands, funny local winds which aren’t necessarily funny, oh and have I mentioned ships?

In this evenings call Sarah mentioned that her ‘ship detector’ was beeping all over the place. She was surrounded, so she felt, and asked me if there was something I could do about it. I suggested that she uses her VHF radio to make a general “hello I’m here!” announcement every 30mins or so. This can be quite exciting, as suddenly you go from ocean rower to radio dj, and anyone in a 30 mile range can hear whatever it is you chose to say. So hopefully Sarah will have said something along the lines of;

“ALL SHIPS. ALL SHIPS. ALL SHIPS. THIS IS SERENDIPITY. SERENDIPITY. SERENDIPITY. I AM A ROWING BOAT IN APPROXIMATE POSITION BLA BLA BLA. I WOULD LIKE TO KINDLY REQUEST A SHARP LOOK OUT AND PLENTY OF SEA ROOM. ALL SHIPS. ALL SHIPS. ALL SHIPS. THIS IS ROWING BOAT SERENDIPITY. OUT.”

There are two important points here. First of all it gives Sarah a sense of control as she is actually doing something about her genuine and perfectly understandable fear of ships. There are probably only one or two ships close to her position, but her detector doesn’t tell her how many, it just beeps when a ships radar beam hits it. So it could, in fact, be the same ship making Sarah’s beeper beep! Secondly those ships really will hear her and they will do all they can to stay clear. They may even reply back and have a little chat with her. It is always exciting and strangely reassuring, to chat with a complete stranger you will probably never ever meet, who is out there, just like you, in the middle of the ocean. Knowing Sarah, she will probably get very excited indeed if a ship were to respond.

Unfortunately the weather is not looking great. It’s no major surprise and no major storm either, but we just hoped the weather would keep to what it said it would do 4 days ago. There is a low pressure system approaching the South West of Australia. Fast. Sarah experienced the first signs of this low in the morning, as the wind changed from south to north west. She considered launching the para-anchor to prevent her drifting back. Throughout the day the wind shifted to the west and increased. It will then continue around to the southwest and increase further to an approximate maximum of 20 knots. This won’t be fun and the sea state will be confused and uncomfortable for the next 36h at least.

Presently Sarah is resting, with the para-anchor holding her steady and allowing for a southwesterly drift at half a knot. This is a controlled and ideal situation. She won’t lose much ground at all. All things considered the weather window for departure was still good as it projected her quickly away from land. To encounter stronger winds from the wrong direction comes with the challenge and is part of her great adventure. The low is travelling at 35 knots. It will be gone by Wednesday morning and the southerlies will be back, allowing her to continue progress. My only hope is that this weather system doesn’t change its mind yet again and hang around for a day longer or provide stronger winds than forecast. This part of the ocean is known for its dramatic weather and Australian Navy sea rescues. But whatever this low decides to do I don’t think it will get any uglier than what Sarah will endure on Tuesday.

So we hope.

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24 Responses to The good. The bad. And…?

  1. Libby Craig says:

    We all thought about you this morning in Assembly, Sarah, when we gave the children the news of your departure.
    Love and best wishes to the 3 of you (you, Serendipity and Spede Bear)from all at SJS. The childrren will be thinking of you every day and we will chart your progress.
    Forgot to ask if you have taken a copy of the Grandstand music and a football with you?

    Hope the weather stays kind.

  2. Dave Wallace says:

    Although she’s a virgin at crossing
    And over the waves she’ll be tossing
    Be it ever so dark
    And there’s no place to park
    She’ll never forget to be flossing

  3. Jen Muirhead says:

    Sarah, absolutely fantastic that you’re making such good progress and are well and truly under way. It’s one heck of an achievement to get this far and I just know you’re going to be docking in Mauritius and claiming those records. So exciting to read all about it on the website. May the wind be exactly where you want it to be and all our thoughts keep you speeding in the right direction.

  4. Jonny heath says:

    hi hope that you are doing ok and lots of luck from one monkey to another!!!

  5. gary moore says:

    hey sarah….you’re doing great. it was fab meeting you at the boatshow. My own row is coming along well leaving novemember from portugal. I’ll be followiign you all the way.
    go girl!!!
    blessings
    gary

  6. BPC and Albie says:

    Thank you again Ricardo for keeping us updated so wonderfully. I never thought i would be able to ‘feel’ Sarah’s voyage so greatly.

    Thinking of you Sarah during these winds. Sending hugs, xxx

  7. Peter Roome says:

    Go Serendipity! Look after her and she’ll look after you! Bon voyage Sarah. Peter

  8. Marcel says:

    I got your story published on Oprah Winfrey’s Angel Network page. America will be following you too.
    Good Luck. Mauritius awaits you with open arms.

  9. Ray says:

    Good Luck Sarah from Melton Mowbray,you put Oakham on the map good an proper

  10. Ellie Miskelly says:

    Great to hear about your amazing progress Sarah! Keep going and stay very safe. Will be thinking about you and keeping up to date with your progress. Ellie x

  11. Sara Pike says:

    Hi sarah,
    We’re all thinking about you at SJS. Anita gave an update on your progress in assembly and 6P are so keen to follow your journey and look at your website (guaranteed distraction from work!). Loads of love and positive thoughts are sent from SJS! Sara P xx

  12. Hi Sarah
    Read about your voyage in the Daily telegraph.
    Admire your courage and wish you good luck over the coming weeks.
    Will be following your progress with interest.

    Regards
    Barrie

  13. john hamilton says:

    hi Sarah, I read about your website in Davis, California, so I’m recruiting my family here and outside Boston, Massachusetts, to cheer you on. It’s really an inspiring adventure that I’m telling our grandchildren about, as a classic example of what they’ve heard about ‘British pluck’ as we have always called it in the States.
    Hike across Afghanistan? Why not! Row across the Indian Ocean? Why not! Godspeed in your amazing challenge to us all to find creative and invigorating lives that breakout of the humdrum. John

  14. George, cousin J and monsters says:

    Sarah, you are doing amazingly well. Suspect you are more chilled than us. It is so exciting getting the updates and the anticipation til the next one is immense. Hope the weather over the next couple of days is not too bad. Take a piccy of the stars for us, thinking of you, love George, Cousin J and the monsters xxx

  15. Jill Klopfer says:

    Good morning from Sydney Sarah. I picked up on your adventure via our daily paper. Eagerly look forward to Ricardo’s update every day. Thinking of you, and wishing you all luck, and SAFE JOURNEY,
    Jill.

  16. Mum says:

    Hi there,
    Just read about the “not so good weather” approaching……stay safe at all times Sugar Plum. i shouldn’t read this before going to bed. Anyway, hope those stars are looking after you. Read any good boks lately…or heard them?
    Mum xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  17. bill leitch says:

    good onya Sarah,we hope the weather is kind to you
    good luck lass and good weather
    regards
    Bill & Jeannie

  18. Christine & Kathleen says:

    Hi Sarah

    Thinking of you and hope the weather isn’t as bad as feared. Its great to get your updates. Stay safe and roll on the better weather for you.

    all good wishes

    Christine & Kathleen

  19. Dom Carrington says:

    Praying for some favourable winds to get you back on track.
    Hope you are staying chilled out there …
    Dom

  20. Mike Peare says:

    Hi Sarah,
    Its good to see the tracker working will be following you as you cross the pond.
    best wishes.
    Mike.

  21. Barry Wroe says:

    Sarah

    Good luck; I know why you are doing what you are doing.

    Gods speed.

    Barry

  22. ian hall says:

    Hi Sarah, we are all thinking of you here at SHS. Elliot & Myself are checking your progress daily, well mostly me, you know Elliot & computers !!!!

  23. Bluey Graham says:

    Hi Sarah. This is Bluey from Bronte Surf Lifesaving Club in Sydney.Will keep our members informed of your trip on our surf club website.My 2 sons are lifeguards at Bondi.Good luck. One brave little girl.

  24. Brenda Joint says:

    Hi Sarah, thinking of you out there! I feel more than honoured to know you – what you are doing is just amazing. Keep safe and remember ‘swinpily!’ I will of course be following your progress and I am with uou in spirit all the way.

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