Adventurer thanks RNLI for recovering abandoned vessel

Sarah Outen rowing from US to London when forced to abandon ‘Happy Socks’ off Portugal

A British adventurer has thanked Castletownbere RNLI in West Cork after they recovered her specialist rowing boat some two months after she was forced to abandon it in rough seas off Portugal.

Sarah Outen (30) was rowing solo from Cape Cod in the US to London when she was forced to abandon her boat, Happy Socks, in a hurricane some 400 miles west of Portugal.

But Castletownbere RNLI recovered the boat 500 metres from shore in Dunmanus Bay on the Mizen Peninsula on Tuesday evening and towed it safely to Castletownbere Harbour.

Retrieving boat

Castletownbere RNLI spokesman Paul Stevens said Ms Outen is making arrangements to retrieve her boat, which is believed to have cost about £250,000 (€340,000) to make.


“Sarah phoned Castletownbere Lifeboat Station when she heard the news and she thanked us for recovering her boat which we recovered in our first call-out of 2016,” he said.

Ms Outen tweeted the good news and expressed her thanks to Castletownbere RNLI for recovering the boat which she initially thought lost when she was picked up by a freighter.

“Today I got that wonderful sort of news that makes your tummy turn and tears flow and rocks your happy socks off. Happy Socks is safe,” said Ms Outen in her tweet.

"Emotional seeing photos of Happy Socks. It is like a friend coming back from the dead. We had two sightings prior to her rocking up in Ireland.

“We are making plans to go and retrieve her from southwest Ireland where the RNLI crew in Castletownbere found her today, just 500m from shore.

‘Grateful shoutout’

“A big and very grateful shoutout to the RNLI crew at Castletownbere for bringing her in and letting us know. Go Happy Socks!’”

Ms Outen had been 143 days at sea rowing across the Atlantic when she was hit by Hurricane Joaquin in early October and she forced to abandon her solo rowing challenge.

A passing freighter, Federal Oshima, picked her up and brought her to Montreal in Canada, but she tweeted at the time that she was devastated to have lost her boat.

“Gutted to have lost Happy Socks, my faithful friend, but glad and grateful to be safe,” said Ms Outen, who had set off in 2011 to travel around the world on a 32,000km charity fundraiser.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times