British voyager Sarah Outen reunited with her boat in Castletownbere

A British adventurer has been reunited with her rugged transatlantic rowing boat three months after being forced to abandon it in a hurricane.

Sarah Outen gave Happy Socks a hug when she arrived in Castletownbere, Co Cork, yesterday to collect it — a week after it was recovered drifting in Dunmanus Bay by the RNLI.

“It was great to see her again and I’m really grateful to the RNLI for finding her,” Ms Outen said.

She had to abandon the vessel 644km west of Portugal last October during the final leg of her epic London2London charity fundraiser — a 34,000km bike, kayak, and row journey around the northern hemisphere.

“It feels like a friend has come back from the dead. It is very special and very emotional,” she said.

“She was the other half of my team. We’d been through some pretty huge storms together and it felt really hard to abandon her. I had hoped I’d see her again, but you never can tell. So when word came through she’d been found, I was delighted.”

However, she plans to sell the boat once it has been repaired in the hope it will help another adventurer.

Ms Outen was speaking as her partner, Lucy Allen, and Lucy’s father, Anthony, loaded it into a trailer to bring it back to England.

After meeting and thanking RNLI coxwain Brian O’Driscoll and his crew, Ms Outen said the boat was in remarkable shape given what it’s been through.

“She is structurally sound — nothing that a bit of patching up won’t fix,” she said.

A member of the public spotted the apparently unmanned vessel some 500m off Toor Pier last Tuesday and the lifeboat towed it back to base. “If she had been spotted much later, she would probably have been smashed upon the rocks,” Ms Outen said.

Ms Outen completed her epic journey last November when she paddled under London’s Tower Bridge after 1,676 days of travel over four and a half years. She hopes to publish a book on her adventure in May, before marrying Lucy in June.


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