Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Rower Sarah makes Pacific proposal

Sarah Outen arrived in Adak in the Aleutian Islands after rowing 3,750 nautical miles in her boat Happy Socks

A British rower paddled for 150 days on a solo feat from Japan to Alaska - and returned engaged.

Adventurer Sarah Outen, 28, arrived in Adak in the Aleutian Islands on Monday after rowing some 3,750 nautical miles in her boat Happy Socks.

Ms Outen, from Rutland, Leicestershire, believes she is the first person to complete the voyage which saw her propose to her girlfriend on a satellite phone.

"I have had some of the most intense and memorable months of my life out on the Pacific," she said. "It has been brilliant and brutal at the same time. And it has been a privilege. But I have pushed myself to my absolute limits both physically and mentally to make land here in Alaska, and body and mind are now exhausted."

The rower capsized five times during her treacherous journey and was confined to her cabin for days because of the perilous conditions.

Plummeting temperatures and poor light made rowing "incredibly demanding", she said, and towards the end of the trip, she narrowly missed being struck by a cargo ship.

But she still managed to propose to her girlfriend Lucy from the middle of the ocean. "I cannot wait to be with Lucy again," she said, as she arrived on dry land.

It is the second time Ms Outen has attempted such a feat. Last year she attempted to cross the Pacific but was forced to abandon her challenge when she was caught in a tropical storm.

This time she planned to paddle from Japan to Canada but changed her route when she was battered by high winds and bad weather.

Mr Outen's trip forms part of a round-the-world expedition. She hopes to eventually circle the globe using only human power: cycling, rowing and kayaking more than 20,000 miles. Next year she will return to the Aleutian Islands to kayak to mainland Alaska. She aims to raise more than £100,000 for charity.

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