Stars of BFF 2017: Sarah Outen (Great Britain)

Sarah Outen (Great Britain) – adventurer,  speaker, author – Presentation day of Banskofilmfest`2017 – 25th of November, Saturday, 19:00h, Big Hall, Culture center “Nikola Vapcarov, Bansko.


“Sarah will face dangers on a daily basis, which only the hardiest could tolerate. But I’m sure she will succeed and confirm that she is an adventurer and expeditioner second to none.” Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Sarah Dilys Outen (born 26 May 1985) is a British 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 Paciffic ocean from Japan  to Alaska. She completed a round-the-world journey, under her own power, by rowing boat, bicycle and kayak, on 3 November 2015.

Rowing solo across the Indian Ocean:

After an eleven-day failed attempt which she dubbed her ‘Warm Up Lap’, Outen set out again from Frementle 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. She was also the youngest person and the first woman to row alone across the Indian Ocean. 

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


London2London: Via the World:

On 1 April 2011, Outen set off on an expedition called “London2London: Via the World”. This mostly solo loop of the planet included the first attempt by a woman to row across the north Pacific Ocean. She rowed, cycled and kayaked her way eastward from London around the world, 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, she cycled across Europe and Asia, rowed across the north Pacific, and cycled across parts of the United States and Canada to Cape Cod, before rowing across the North Atlantic to the UK.

In the spring of 2012, during her first attempt on the Pacific leg, her vessel Gulliver was damaged in a storm and she had to be rescued. After several months spent recovering, she restarted her journey in Japan aboard a new seven-metre vessel named Happy Socks.[5] As of 19 June 2013, she had achieved 1097 nautical miles on her row across the Pacific.[6]She communicated about her trip using a satellite phone, filing periodic “phonecasts” from her boat.[7]


On 23 September 2013, after 150 days and 3,750 miles at sea,[8] 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.[9] 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.[10] She was originally bound for Canada, but punishing currents and inclement weather forced her to change destinations for Alaska.



In May 2014 she returned to Adak and kayaked 2500km along the Aleutian island chain and Alaskan Peninsula with Justine Curgenven, to the nearest road in Homer. There is no documentation of anyone else completing this journey in modern times, which involved many long crossings in uncharted waters with strong currents of unknown strength and direction. It took 101 days. From Homer, she got back on her bike and cycled through the Winter to the East coast of America.



Sarah rowing Happy Socks wave

In September 2014 she crossed the border into Canada, arrived in New York on 12 March 2015, and left Cape Cod on 14 May. On 5 July she reported that a wave had torn off the rudder of her rowboat. On 6 October, having been at sea for 143 days but beset by Hurricane Joaquin, she abandoned the Atlantic crossing.

She completed the journey at Tower Bridge in London on 3 November 2015.



The film “Sarah Outen, London 2 London”, Great Britain, 2012, 42’) was part of Banskofilmfest 2013. The film “Kayaking the Aleutians”, United Kingdom, 2015, Justine Curgenven, 36’ was presented by Justine during Banskofilmfest 2016. No-one has succeeded in kayaking the length of the remote and stormy Aleutian Islands which stretch from Russia to Alaska. Explorers Justine Curgenven and Sarah Outen set out to paddle 2,500km along the archipelago to the nearest road confronting more than 20 long crossings which separate the tiny unpopulated islands. Sarah faces an even more formidable challenge as this is part of her round-the-world human powered journey and she has limited kayaking experience. Alone for 101 days in one of the windiest, roughest places on earth, these two women are swept away from land by unknown currents, pounded by rough seas and approached by bears. Experiencing an edge-of-your-seat journey, they gain a rare insight into themselves, the rich wildlife and the lives of the few people who live in this harsh yet beautiful landscape.

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