Sarah Outen had been forced to abandon her attempt to row solo across the North Atlantic due to an impending storm. The British woman was picked up by a ship called the Federal Oshima, which was bound for Montreal Canada at the time, although we knew it would be a few days before the vessel reached that destination. On Saturday, Sarah was delivered safely back to dry land, and has finally had a chance to share her feelings about having to not only give up on her Atlantic crossing, but also abandon her rowboat in the middle of the ocean.
Sarah spent 143 days out on the water, on what would have been the final leg of her London2London via the World expedition. She has spent the better part of the past four years attempting to circumnavigate the globe under her own power. During that time, she has traveled by bike, kayak, and rowboat through some remote areas of the world, and the Atlantic crossing would have seen Outen return home to where the entire journey first started. Unfortunately, Hurricane Joaquin had other plans, and now Sarah is back in Canada, where she set out from back in May.
The row across the Atlantic was originally expected to take about 120 days to complete. But traveling west to east in a rowboat brings different challenges, and as a result it took much longer than expected. Ocean currents worked against Sarah's efforts, and heavy storms often kept progress to a minimum or negated it altogether. As a result, 143 days in she was still 1000 miles (1600 km) from the finish line, with time quickly running out.
As anyone who has followed Sarah's adventures knows, she has experienced similar issues in the past. While crossing the Pacific back in 2012 she was hit by a storm as well, smashing her boat and forcing her to call for assistance than too. But unlike then, Sarah now says that her expedition is over. In an interview conducted after her arrival in Canada, she says “I don’t have the resources, financially or physically, to take on another trip.”
The journey isn't completely over just yet though. Sarah will fly home to the U.K. today, and will then ride her bike from Falmouth, England to the finish line in London, completing a portion of the final stage of her journey. That ride will cover about 400 miles (643 km).
It's a shame that such a grand adventure had to end this way. Sarah has overcome a lot in the past few years, and for her to be so close to finishing before this latest setback is crushing I'm sure. But as always, she'll make the best of the situation, and solider on the end. Mostly, I'm glad she's safe, and on her way home at last.