Skip to main content

Severe weather prompts trans-Atlantic rower to abandon crossing

British adventurer Sarah Outen set out from London in April 2011 on her London2London: Via the World expedition. Her goal was to journey eastward around the Northern Hemisphere by rowing boat, bike and kayak.

Four-plus years later, on her final leg from Chatham, Mass., to London, Outen, 30, aborted her Atlantic row on Oct. 3 because of impending severe weather. Winds as high as 60 knots and huge, impassable waves caused by the tail end of Hurricane Joachin, combined with two low-pressure systems, were due to hit her mid-Atlantic location in the coming days.

Together with her team, she decided to be picked up safely. She was quickly met by the 656-foot Federal Oshima, which took her to Montreal. Her 21-foot boat, Happy Socks, was lost at sea because of the complexity of the pickup.

Outen spoke with the Cape Cod Times about her adventure and her decision to pull the plug so close to the end.

“It’s no place to be, in the Atlantic Ocean in a rowboat, with a hurricane coming,” Outen said by phone from Montreal. “There were times, particularly from day 100 on, I thought that something would have to improve very quickly in a sustained way for it to work,” Outen told the newspaper.

Her weather router for ocean crossings all over the world told her it was the worst Atlantic crossing weather he’d ever seen.

“It just wasn’t a year to make it across,” she said.