12 September 2013

1st woman to row solo across N. Pacific closes in on Adak

From the Anchorage Daily News.

After more than four months at sea in her second try at becoming the only woman to row solo across the North Pacific, Outen is bearing down on Adak, in the middle of Alaska's Aleutian Chain. Her row across the world's biggest ocean is one leg of an ambitious trek around the world by paddle and bicycle.

Sarah Outen is bearing down on the Aleutian Islands. The trick is getting there before winter.
She left Japan on April 27. On Wednesday, she was about 250 miles southwest of Adak. She hopes to make landfall in two to three weeks.

Time is of the essence: With every day that passes Outen gets deeper into the treacherous autumn storm season, said Rick Thoman, a climate science manager with the National Weather Service's Alaska regional office.

The North Pacific is always nasty weather-wise, Thoman said.

"On the climatological scale it's right up there with the toughest places to row, sail or really do anything," he said.

... By July, two months into her journey, it had become clear that Outen would never make it to Vancouver by winter.

"We made the decision to hang a left," she said. "We started looking at our options and the Aleutians represent my best chance for a swift, safe landing."

Now she plans to visit Adak, fly home to England and spend the winter training. She'll return to the very spot she landed in the Aleutians next spring. From there she'll paddle to Homer and bicycle through Alaska and Canada, eventually rowing the Atlantic Ocean to London.

That's a brave woman, right there. I hope she makes it.

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