British Ocean Rower Begins Pacific Crossing

British ocean rower Sarah Outen launched her second attempt to cross the Pacific Ocean last week, setting out from Japan on what promises to be a 6-month long, 4500-mile odyssey. The ocean crossing is just the latest leg on her 2+ year  quest to circle the globe entirely under her own power. 

Sarah’s journey began on April 1st, 2011 when she set out from London on what she calls the London2London via the World expedition. The idea is to circumnavigate the globe using nothing more than her own body as a means of propulsion. She first got underway by kayaking down the Thames River and across the English Channel to France. From there, Outen left her kayak behind and climbed aboard her bike. Traveling east she spent the next several months pedaling across Europe and Asia before arriving in Japan early last year. At that point, she ceased her travels for a time while she waited for the right weather window to begin her row across the Pacific.

In April of 2012 Sarah boarded her specially designed row boat named Gulliver and set off for Canada. Outen knew that crossing the Pacific would be a massive undertaking, as she had already solo rowed across the Indian Ocean back in 2009. But even that experience didn’t prepare her for what she would face. A massive tropical storm hit the North Pacific just a few weeks into her row, causing her boat to capsize and forcing Outen to call for rescue from the Japanese Coast Guard.

The storm sunk her boat and left Sarah’s expedition in serious jeopardy, but the 27-year old Brit is nothing if not resilient. Over the past year she’s raised funds to buy a new row boat and organized a return to the water. After months of planning and waiting, all of her efforts payed off last week when she launched her new boat, Happy Socks, and started rowing once again.

If all goes according to plan, Sarah will make landfall in Canada sometime in October. Once there, she’ll return to her bike and start riding across North America. She estimates that will require another three months to complete at which time she’ll embark on the final leg of the expedition – another ocean row, this time across the North Atlantic. That stage of the journey will return her to London, where the entire adventure began.

Originally Sarah estimated that the entire London2London expedition would take two and a half years to complete, but obviously that estimate was optimistic. At this point, she’s just happy to be on the move once again and if the weather cooperates, she’ll be able to complete her Pacific crossing on schedule.

[Photo Credit: Sarah Outen]