British adventurer 1st to row solo from Japan to Alaska

mtheriault@adn.comSeptember 23, 2013 

A British adventurer became the first woman to row across the Pacific Ocean from Japan to Alaska Monday, arriving in Adak's small boat harbor after 150 days and 3,750 miles at sea.

Sarah Outen celebrated her feat with a bottle of Pol Roger champagne and greeted supporters, her first human contact in nearly five months, according to her blog.

The 28-year-old set out from Japan in a custom-built ocean rowing shell in April.

Outen is trying to make history with "London2London" a self-powered loop of the globe by bicycle pedal and paddle.

On the North Pacific row she battled dangerous seas, isolation, cargo ships, sickness and currents that often tossed her boat in the wrong direction.

In recent days she was nearly hit by a cargo ship after her radar failed. Outen described seeing a "big black wall" coming through mist in a phone interview posted on her website.

She also tweeted about whiteout fog and exhaustion-induced hallucinations in the final, treacherous miles to Adak.

Outen came within a half mile of land before winds and current started to push her custom-built 22-foot ocean rowing shell "Happy Socks" onto the rocks Monday afternoon.

"Her support boat decided it was time for a tow," wrote Mel Johnson, a spokeswoman for the expedition, on Outen's blog.

She was towed into Adak's small boat harbor, where community members had assembled to greet her.

Next up: a hot shower, sleep and a good meal, Johnson said.

Outen will return to the exact point she was towed in to shore in spring of 2014 to continue her expedition by kayak, Johnson said.

Reach Michelle Theriault Boots at or 257-4344.


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