Storm Scuttles Two Trans-Pacific Expeditions

Solo rowers pull the plug, and a costly boat is abandoned

Sarah Outen in the cabin of her boat, Gulliver, before launching from Japan. At the height of Mawar's fury, she tweeted an update that read, "Trying hard to smile and breathe calm. Keep getting interrupted by waves throwing us over."

When a cyclone or hurricane no longer threatens large coastal populations, forecasters and news anchors have a habit of saying that it’s “blown harmlessly out to sea.” But try telling that to Sarah Outen and Charlie Martell, two British solo rowers who last week were bowled over in the Pacific Ocean by Tropical Storm Mawar. The two were caught in separate incidents by the same storm and were rescued, putting an end to their expeditions.

Martell, who set sail from Choshi on May 5, was aiming for the fastest crossing of the North Pacific from Japan to the United States, a trip totaling 6,000 miles. The storm knocked out his boat’s navigation and communications systems, and he was picked up 680 miles northeast of the Japanese coast by the Russian ship MV Last Tycoon.

Outen seemed to be in a more dire predicament, with her $800,000 boat Gulliver “capsizing and capsizing until you are exhausted,” according to her tweets during the storm. Outen had set out from London in April 2011 on a human-powered journey—rowing, kayaking and cycling more than 20,000 miles—around the world. The Japanese Coast Guard picked her up 560 miles from land, but was forced to leave her pricey boat behind.


Via Sky News