Touching base

The last two days since being back on dry land have been a whirlwind. Honestly, the ocean is simple compared to the platespinning and matching up and logistics that I’m juggling at the moment. Thankfully the whirlwind has been punctuated by plenty of tasty ‘land food’ (think steaks, pizza etc) and  the help and support of some wonderful folks locally – notably the Royal Perth Yacht Club and its members and the Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue Group (FVSRG).  I am feeling a bit drained by all of it but happy that we are making progress and that I will soon be out on the water and making the second assault.

My brain is a bit addled at this end of a long couple of days so here is  a bulletin update of what I have been up to and a few other added bits to answer questions or iron out queries from the Warm Up Lap.


  • The Second Assault – We are currently assessing  the options, looking at weather windows and different launch locations for the best possible chance of striking out successfully against the Leeuwin and starting a safe passage West and yonder. Logistics need to be put in place to make it all happen and then it is Game On once more. I am excited, confident in myself and ‘Dippers and raring to give it another shot. I was ‘in the groove’ when the electrics went down so know that getting into my routine of life on board, adjusting to motion sickness and so on should be easier this time around. I am pleased to report that the electrics issue has been rectified and we are just waiting for the batteries to fully charge again before testing. There is nothing else major with ‘Dippers to sort, so it will be a case of restowing everything and stocking up with fresh fruit and some more treats – there is more space in that little boat than I had thought (space for a few more biscuits, chocolates and the delicious fatty foods that your body craves when under prolonged stress)
  • Reflecting on the warm up lap –  As I mentioned before, this was a fantastic experience on a number of levels. ‘Dippers and I were put through our paces and also worked out how we work best together; we were treated to some wonderful sights, sunsets, stars and wildlife encounters; we ‘got in the groove’ and into the routine of life at sea, growing in confidence each hour, each day. Save the electrics issue, everything else appears to be wearing well and all ready for a second assault, including my body. Physically I am in great shape – and surprised to see that I had already lost a few inches from my on my return. Ditch diets – just do some ocean rowing.
  • Thank you I would like to thank all the folks who came out to see me off, escorting me out in the boats and the Fremantle Volunteer Sea Rescue Group (FVSRG) who towed me the 16 miles back to Fremantle. They are a volunteer organisation, funded entirely by donations, so I shall be making a contribution to the invaluable work they do in keeping folks safe at sea. Finally to everyone for all the messages of support and emails – I have been amazed and humbled at how many folks have been following me and sending good vibes my way. It’s getting cramped in my little boat with you all out there!  I’m sure you will appreciate that I can’t answer them all.
  • Team Worry ye not – the wonderful Ricardo is still part of my crew – I think folk thought that his going back to Portugal was the end of the story. He is my weather router and Advisor Extraordinaire – for his sailing and expedition knowledge is vast and he is a much valued part of the team. Blogs will come from myself and a combination of various folks – Whisper (my PR gurus), Ricardo, my family and perhaps we’ll get some guest bloggers on board too. Rest assured, we shall be keeping you all updated and providing plenty of procrastination options from all the work you should be doing while deskbound.
  • Podcast Yes, it was scripted  but I wrote it myself – straight from the Outey’s mouth. Glad you enjoyed it – more to follow.


Thats all for now folks – this little Outey is a tired one and ready for some snoozing. 

PS Anyone in and around Fremantle this weekend then pop along to the  Fremantle Boat Show. It is  all free and there are various exhibits and lots of wonderful and varied boats on show in  Fishing Boat Harbour, the Esplanade and the RPYC Fremantle Annexe has lots of beautiful model boats and classic wooden boats on display. Well worth a visit.

This entry was posted in Blog. Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Touching base

  1. Bill says:

    What are these “dippers” you speak of?

  2. Phil says:

    Hi Sarah,

    I’m looking forward to your second attempt, confident you’ll make it this time. You can be sure I’ll be following you from here on the Oregon coast.

    I look out at the ocean here in Oregon and try and imagine what it’s like for you. I’ve been out in a kayak but never far from land and only in very calm seas.

    Good luck and God bless…


  3. Amy Middleton says:

    Bill, Dippers is short for Serendipity which is the name of Sarahs beloved boat.

  4. Rene Soobaroyen says:

    Hi sarah,

    it’s Rene from Mauritius. i am keeping track of you. i am a long distance runner. an old one. i can tell you one thing: life is all about challenging yourself against all odds. i like to think that once you have set your mind on something “soit ca passe soit ca casse” what i mean is this: your trip is big marathon: you should focus not on the distance but content yourself on every single step forward and you’ll reach Mauritius sooner than you think. In fact every single row you make you have thousands of well wishers behind you. i’ll tell you that it’s crazy what you are doing, but if you go back in history it’s all about crazy people doing crazy things that have made our world what it is to-day and make no mistake it is unfolding as it should and you are part of it

    God bless



  5. Yikes! says:

    If anyone has ever seen footage of wild ocean seas before, they would not venture too far from shore in anything less than an ocean liner or huge navy vessel, etc.

    I think Sarah may have gotten off lightly by being blown safely back to shore, before being struck by bad weather.

    What she proposes to do is extremely dangerous and will be very terrifying at times. Sarah, I suggest you check out footage of an ocean storm (and related rescue attempts) before committing to a restart.

  6. Rosie B says:

    Hi Sarah!

    Great to keep up with all your news! Cycling along coast in Vietnam great fun – cycling in Hanoi at rush-hour very scary experience!

    My Dad swears that ginger helps sea-sickness – good excuse to pack some tasty ginger cookies if you have space!

    GOOD LUCK with next attempt – will be thinking of you!

    R xx

  7. Christine & Kathleen says:

    Hi sarah

    its lovely to have an update like all the otherf olks I guess, ceratinly answerted a few of my questions.

    Just take care and things will get sorted when you are meant to go you will. Must get reasdy for work otheriwse the boss won’t be happy iof I’m late.

    Love to you and all the other kind folks over there who are helping you.

    get your energy levels up.

    Much love

    Christine & Kathleen

  8. ian hall says:

    Hi Sarah Hallie & Elliot here, thinking of you, I guess you will be on your way soon. We both have one more sleep until our Italian adventure on the slopes, starts Saturday afternoon. We will seek out a computer to keep our eye on your progress. In the mean time Mr E says get on with the row, he needs you for some DoE camping.
    Best wishes & & E from SHS

  9. steve says:

    Hi Sarah, good luck on your second attempt. What you are doing is very brave. Puts my daily 5km row on my C2 erg into perspective ! Take care l wish you luck. Steve in Leicester. x

  10. Michael says:

    Hi Sarah, You may remember me…the (old & grey) Aussie guy who lives in the U.K. and knows where Rutland is! I stopped by for a chat after a fishing trip just before you set off. I was out there bouncin’ lead again yesterday and was suprised to see your ‘ship’ at the annexe and wondered if you’d bailed out, west of Rotto. Glad to hear the mission is still on. Hope you get some favourable currents and a good north easter to get you rolling, or should that be rollocking? Loved some of the old timber at the Annexe boat show.
    Good Luck

  11. Yikes says:

    “A most tumultuos sea after the calm we have had recently and the noise is unbelievable. The waves crashing into the boat and breaking all around are thunderous.”

    (The above is just in from your fellow UK rowing buddy, Olly Hicks, who left Tasmania over two months ago and is 2/3 of the way to the southern end of New Zealand in his ’round Antarctica mission.)

    His description is of conditions he is experiencing in some strong wind, which is quite common. What will it be like in an actual gale force storm a few hundred klms off WA??? Yikes!

  12. Andy & Guy says:

    Hi Sarah,

    It was quite heart braeking seeing you come back into land on the tracker, hope your spirits aren’t too dampened and keep your chin up.

    We have arrived in perth and are here for the next few days so wondered where your staying and we’ll come and visit if you like!

    Andy & Guy

  13. Guy Warner says:


    Well done so far – your courage is inspirational to many.

    Your routers should know that current has 4 times as much effect on a boat as the wind and you cannot make progress against a strong one.
    Suggest you head NNW on leaving Fremantle whatever they tell you!

    Best of luck for the next attempt.

    Guy (saw you at the Boat Show – excellent talk)

  14. Felicity Rollings says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Glad to hear you’re in such good spirits and lyou’re ooking forward to setting off again once everything’s ready. The blogs have been great, especially the one recorded from the boat in mid-Ocean!

    Just thought I’d let you know that last weekend we went to Rutland! It’s where my grandpa and grandma went on their honeymoon so we went back on my grandpa’s birthday. Rutland Water looked gorgeous, although I can’t imagine getting up at 5am in the winter to go rowing on it!

    Anywayz, good luck with the preparations!

    Love Fliss

  15. christina watts says:

    Sarah… I guess you will be on your way soon.

    Hope you meet up with Guy and Andy before you go ~ tell Guy you know Lewis.

    Good luck to you and Dippers.

    love xtina watts

  16. Yikes says:

    I am puzzled at the number of people urging this very unexperienced person to attempt such a dangerous feat.

    They (and Sarah) seem to have no idea how dangerous (I mean dangerous as in life-taking) it will be out there. New Zealand stopped the experienced ocean rower Hicks from departing from their shores due to the risk he was undertaking.

    In a big gale, her boat will be flicked from the top of waves and upon crashing down, it could be held under by the following waves.

    Even though I do not think she will get too far from land the second time around (if she really does set off again) any time out there will be a liability to her self and those needing to try to rescue her when she calls for help to save her life.

    Being couragous, etc, on land is one thing, but doing personal dares like this on open water is very different (even for a charitable cause).

  17. L.I. Merrick says:

    A cross-ocean rower called Outen
    Left from Perth amidst fanfare and shoutin’
    On return to Australia
    None thought her a failure
    As “out and back” Outen went out again.

  18. Mum says:

    Message to YIKES…
    What is your own personal experience of ocean rowing???
    As for setting off again….if she wants to, and she does, I can assure you of that….she will set off as soon as she is given clearance by the authorities.
    This is not a personal dare, as you say; but an attempt to row across the Indian. It HAS been done before, tho’ not by a woman….and she will have a jolly good attempt. She’s one tough little cookie. I should know, I am her mother!!!
    If you have sound advice or encouragement and support , then I am sure your posts will be welcomed. However, I don’t really think you should be posting if you are so scathing.

  19. Yikes says:

    Hi Mum. I realise she is a strong person mentally and physically and could possibly stand months and months of being on her own, rowing a heavy boat, suffering fatigue, etc, BUT it is when the lovely, blue, serene ocean turns to hell that she will be in danger. She will be locked in the tiny kevlar cabin (life capsule) of her little boat and it will be terryfying for hours, if not days on end for her, hoping it does not split open and that the rest of the boat does not become damaged as it is tossed and dumped in violent ocean waves.

    I spend a lot of time at sea and know how dangerous it can get if caught out by a quick weather change, or simply by entering an area of wind against current.

    One question for you Mum (or Sarah). In the event that it is necessary to call for rescue during this personal undertaking, do you have a pre-arranged private rescue organisation ready to go in all conditions if she calls, or activates her emergency beacon? OR will she be relying on a government-based rescue authority to send people to her aid?

  20. John Williams says:

    Having rowed the Atlantic and Indian Oceans I know that loved ones at home have the hardest time, whatever the physical and emotional suffering that the rower faces. So I do think it’s unbelievably crass to post the sort of stuff “Yikes” is posting, and for what purpose? This guy obviously doesn’t know a lot about ocean rowing or ocean rowing boats, and he should log on to to learn more, rather than post here.
    Sarah is extremely well-prepared, has a great boat and is very capable. She is the first woman to attempt to row the Indian Ocean – that in itself is wonderful and life-affirming – and with a little luck she will make history by completing her voyage.

  21. Yikes says:

    I searched high and low on that site (and elsewhere) John, but nowhere does it talk about how a full scale rescue will be organised and who will undertake it if a distress call is made.

    I hope with these type of extreme adventures, as opposed to regular mariners in motorised ocean going boats, that a rescue would be by private arrangement, as complex and exspensive as that will be.

    As I presume you do know the answer to the question John, I am sure many other readers would be interested to know too and it will be re-assuring to all to understand what the safety net is. Of course I hope it is not needed.


  22. amin says:

    sarah….good luck…

  23. Spike says:

    As a professional mariner and SAR pilot, I have to agree that you have a valid debating point. However, this blog is not the right place to take that forward. If the politicians had come to terms with it, all adventurers would have to place a bond before departure. Furthermore, you cannot uninvent the satphone and are unlikely to stop all those who attempt ‘Everest in shirtsleeves’. National rescue agenies do sometimes send large bills where crass unpreparedness is shown.
    While she may not have personal experience of oceanic Force 12 (and it IS a religious experience) Sarah is well aware of the risks she is facing and will have briefed/prepared appropriately.

    “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy

  24. Aidcrew says:

    I suppose someone has to speak for the sofa loafers and couch slouches – and this lady ‘Yikes’ does a job. Her very name conjures up a cartoon of the little rabbity girl hiding behind the setee, wringing her hands, terrified of everything.

    Can someone reasusure the wee timorous beastie that she doesn’t actually have to go? Sarah’s going for her. Actually, for anyone of any spirit. Hurrah for Sarah and her family.

  25. Mum says:

    THanks John and Aidcrew fo ryour support ,common sense and good wishes.
    Yes, rescue plans are in place should she need it!!! We wouldn’t be that stupid !!! She is wel prepared and has had experience of at least force 10 storms. Again…if you can’ t be positive then don’t post!! She doesn’t need it!

  26. Sarah says:

    Hi Folks – I’m really chuffed we seem to have such a following here, so thank you for your interest. I would just like to ask that we don’t name call or anything unkind. Everyone is entitled to voice their opinion, so long as its not offensive. It wouldn’t be good to have to censor the site. So please, be nice to each other!

    Anyone interested in the training I have done can have a look through blogs and the web pages about my preparedness, which has been undertaken over the last 3 years with the advice and support of various professionals and experts in the myriad of fields needed to ensure that I am as well prepared as possible, and to mitigate the need for any outside assistance, save over the satellite phone. (And breathe!) This has included but is not limited to sea survival training, navigation training, advanced first aid and others, but for me the most formative experiences were those out at sea both in rowing boats and sailing boats. I was keen that I would have crossed at least one ocean before setting out on my own independent voyage, to know that I had experienced severe oceanic weather and an extended period of time at sea. My ocean passage was a 1400nm run from NW Iceland across the North Atlantic to Plymouth, in which we experienced some extremely heavy weather and storms. Force 10 was the worst and on this trip I had the good fortune of being skippered by an ex Skipper of the support yachts for various Atlantic rowing races. She advised that I was very well prepared for my trip, as have other ocean rowers, including soloists. My whole passage plan and equipment lists have been approved and accepted by the Australian Maritime Safety Association.

    I can assure all readers that I am not reckless and certainly not insensitive to the potential of any sort of rescue and the risks that others would be making in assisting me. When I was ‘down South’ on my Warm Up lap before deciding to head North under my own steam, and it looked like I might require a tow back to land, this was to be a boat chartered out to tow me in. A private enterprise to assist, rather than rescue me, this would have been a $5,000AUD bill to myself. In the event of a major emergency at sea where I require evacuation from the boat, this is coordinated by Falmouth Coastguard. Where I am depends on the vessel which would assist. Often tankers are rerouted from their course, for example. It depends on the situation and location.

    At the end of the day, you always have to have a first time – Olly Hicks now veteran rower, had to solo the Atlantic for that experience. I look at my ten day run earlier this month as an excellent shake down for Chapter 2 – how many ocean rowers can say they spent ten days at sea before heading out into the big blue?

    I could chat on all day about it as it’s been my life for three years, but really my site has lots of information about my training and preparation to this point, the wonderful boat build and so on. So I shall leave you in peace and sign out assuring you that I would not be undertaking this journey if I hadn’t put in the prep beforehand.

    As I say, thanks for all the chats – just be pleasant to each other!


    PS Loving the little ryhmes that L Merrick keeps making up – great stuff!

  27. Yikes says:

    Spike and Sarah – thanks for the straight-up info. Answering peoples questions about some of the nitty gritty is important. Two things then I am done.

    One – Sarah said: “I look at my ten day run earlier this month as an excellent shake down for Chapter 2 – how many ocean rowers can say they spent ten days at sea before heading out into the big blue?” I have noticed this before and can’t believe that rowers don’t do at least one voyage of several days/weeks including rough weather, before heading off on trips that will take months – it really is as Spike says: “attempting Everest in short sleeves”.

    Two – I get the impression that rather than have a pre-arranged private rescue contract in place before departure, most ocean rowers rely on the government of those suitably equipped nations to attempt a rescue if asked. My point here is that traditional ocean travellers do so in substantial, motorised vessels (even cruising yachts have motors and they tend to island hop, rather than head across an ocean), whereas rowers/oceanic drifters obviously have an incredibly higher chance of needing to flick the “Save me!!” switch on their EPIRB. I reckon rescue organisations are on standyby to help more “legitimate” ocean and coastal users if needed (commercial fisherman, trading ships, well founded private boats, etc and for their men and women to be called into a mid-ocean storm to rescue someone who set off in a row boat wouldn’t please them.

    Money won’t help the rescuer’s personal safety, but the massive rescue costs should all be borne by the rower/their organisers and hopefully Sarah has been able to get/will now seek funding from her sponsors to pay for rescue insurance if it is available, possibly via one of the rowers’ associations? If not available, sponsors should be sought to pay the costs if needed.

    Hey – this is good idea! A wealthy sponsor could be legally bound by you to pay the complete rescue bill if needed, but if all goes well, they get great coverage (Title Sponsor) and don’t end up paying a cent/pence!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *