Sarah Outen

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Sarah Outen
Sarah Outen.jpg
Self portrait taken on the Indian Ocean voyage, 2009
Personal information
Nationality British
Born (1985-05-26) 26 May 1985 (age 29)
England, United Kingdom
Sport Rowing, Cycling, Kayaking
College team Stamford High School, St Hugh's College, Oxford
recorded December 2012

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Sarah Dilys Outen MBE FRGS (born 26 May 1985) is an English athlete and adventurer. She is also a motivational speaker in the UK and internationally. Outen was the first woman and the youngest person to row solo across the Indian Ocean and also the Pacific Ocean from Japan to Alaska.


Outen attended Stamford High School before reading Biology at St Hugh's College, Oxford where she started rowing in 2004.[citation needed]


Rowing solo across the Indian Ocean[edit]

After an eleven day failed attempt which she dubbed her 'Warm Up Lap',[1] Outen set out again from Fremantle, Western Australia, on 1 April 2009 in her 19ft boat called Serendipity. She rowed for 124 days, 14 hours and 9 minutes before arriving at Bois des Amourettes, on the island of Mauritius, on 3 August 2009. She was the first woman to attempt the crossing single-handedly, and only the fourth person to ever complete a solo crossing.[2]

Her journey raised more than £30,000 for two charities, Arthritis Care and Arthritis Research Campaign. She dedicated the crossing to the memory of her father who died in 2006.[3] She was elected Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society shortly afterwards and awarded three Guinness World Records for her crossing.

London2London: Via the World[edit]

On 1 April 2011, Outen set off on her current expedition called "London2London: Via the World". This solo loop of the planet will involve the first ever attempt by a woman to row across the north Pacific Ocean. She will row, cycle and kayak her way eastward from London around the world, ending back to London, sharing stories about the adventure and experience. The 20,000 miles (32,000 km) journey was scheduled to take 2.5 years to complete. During her expedition, to date, she has cycled across Europe and Asia, with plans to also cycle across parts of America and Canada, and to row the north Pacific (current leg) and north Atlantic Oceans. In the spring of 2012, during her first attempt on the Pacific leg, her vessel Gulliver capsized and she had to be rescued. After several months spent recovering from this ordeal she restarted her journey in Japan aboard a new seven-metre vessel named Happy Socks.[4] As of 19 June 2013, she had achieved 1097 nautical miles on her row across the Pacific.[5] She communicates about her trip using a satellite phone, filing periodic "phonecasts" from her boat.[6]

On 23 September 2013, after 150 days and 3,750 miles at sea,[7] Outen became the first woman to row solo from Japan to Alaska as well as the first woman to complete a mid-Pacific row from West to East.[8] She arrived at Adak Island in the Aleutian Islands, rowing to within half a mile of a rocky coastline before being towed through the channel between Adak and Kagalaska Island.[9] She was originally bound for Canada, but punishing currents and inclement weather forced her to change destinations for Alaska.[10] She proposed to her girlfriend along the way.


She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society following her successful Indian Ocean crossing in 2009. Outen was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2011 Birthday Honours for services to rowing, conservation and charity.[11][12]


Her first book A Dip in the Ocean: Rowing Solo Across The Indian Ocean was published by Summersdale on 7 February 2011. She has now sold over 4000 copies worldwide.

Personal life[edit]

Outen is openly lesbian.[13]


  1. ^ "Warm up lap". Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  2. ^ "Woman rower conquers Indian Ocean". BBC News. 3 August 2009. Retrieved 30 August 2009. 
  3. ^ Hastings, Chris (14 March 2009). "Rower Sarah Outen launches bid to be first woman to row solo across Indian Ocean". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 30 August 2009. 
  4. ^ "Education blog". Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ "Sarah Outen – 58th phonecast". Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  7. ^ "No Cookies". Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  8. ^ [2][dead link]
  9. ^ "British adventurer 1st to row solo from Japan to Alaska". Anchorage Daily News. Retrieved 24 September 2013. 
  10. ^ Morrison, Sarah (24 September 2013). "After months of sharks, storms, and hallucinations, Sarah Outen lands in Alaska after rowing from Japan". The Independent (London). 
  11. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 59808. p. 20. 11 June 2011.
  12. ^ "Bruce Forsyth knighthood heads Queen's Birthday Honours". BBC News. 11 June 2011. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 
  13. ^ Ring, Trudy (13 October 2013). "Trans Journalist Tops List of U.K's Most Influential LGBTs". The Advocate. Retrieved 15 March 2014. 

External links[edit]