Adventurer thanks Cork lifeboat crew for saving boat

Crew recovered rowing boat abandoned in hurricane during solo Atlantic crossing

British adventurer Sarah Outen with Happy Socks, which was saved from being smashed against rocks by Castletownbere RNLI. Outen was rescued 200 miles off the Azores in October. Photograph: Niall Duffy

British adventurer Sarah Outen with Happy Socks, which was saved from being smashed against rocks by Castletownbere RNLI. Outen was rescued 200 miles off the Azores in October. Photograph: Niall Duffy

 

A British adventurer yesterday expressed her gratitude to a west Cork lifeboat crew after they saved her rowing boat from being smashed against the rocks three months after she abandoned it during a solo voyage across the Atlantic.

Sarah Outen (30) was rowing solo from Cape Cod in the US to London when she was forced to abandon her boat, Happy Socks, some 200 miles north of the Azores on October 3rd when Hurricane Joaquin threatened.

But last week, Castletownbere RNLI lifeboat Annette Hutton recovered Happy Socks when they responded to reports of a vessel drifting near the shore in Dunmanus Bay on the Mizen Peninsula and towed it back to their base at Dinish Island in Castletownbere Harbour.

“I am just so grateful to the Castletownbere lifeboat crew – they have made me super, super happy. I am just so delighted to get Happy Socks back because when I abandoned her, it felt [as if] I was abandoning a friend,” said Ms Outen.

“I was sad to leave her, but equally it was the only thing I could do. But I left a message inside the cabin which said I abandoned this boat at this time and at this position, as well as my contact details, and that’s how Castletownbere RNLI contacted me.”

Ms Outen was picked up by a passing carrier, Federal Oshima, and brought to Montreal in Canada. But she never gave up hope that Happy Socks might survive Joaquin.

“We had two sightings of her in the past three months, so I was hopeful she was being pushed this way, but you never can tell what will happen to a boat with big weather – she travelled over 850 miles from where I abandoned her to get here,” she said.