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Sally Kettle

Sally Kettle is hailed as the first ever woman to row the Atlantic Ocean twice from East to West (once with a somewhat unconventional partner… her mother!) Truly an inspirational speaker and event host, she shares stories about shark attacks, broken body parts and hurricanes, highlighting the importance of resilience in the face of adversity.


About Sally Kettle

Sally Kettle’s book, Odd at Sea (Orana, 2007), is her autobiography detailing the ocean journeys and the motivations behind them. It’s an honest account of her struggles to bring the teams together, and of the difficulties faced when living in a boat smaller than the average bathroom.  She has since had further adventures and is a popular speaker, addressing national and international audiences.


Sally Kettle founded Rowgirls in 2005, an all-female rowing team determined to achieve a Guinness World Record for the fastest Atlantic crossing ever. Throughout the journey, one crewmate left the boat, a rudder was lost in the worst conditions in 200 years, and the boat was attacked by a shark. Unbelievably, Sally and her crew completed the challenge and became the first crew of three to ever complete the trip.

Sally Kettle, ever the adventurer, took part in the last leg of the World Clipper race in May 2010. She retraced WW2 heroine Nancy Wake’s footprints across the harsh Pyrenees with former Olympic swimmer Suzanne Dando and seven other women to honour her contribution and raised funds for the Legion. Her speeches are both hilarious and informative, and evoke a whole range of emotions, and her account of rough seas, wild storms, harsh living and encounters with sharks is delivered in stupendous style.

Sally writes and presents pieces for BBC Radio 4, including “Does Hope Help?” for FourThought and “Jonathan the Tortoise – Operation Go Slow” – for From our Own Correspondent. She recently returned from a six-week filming trip to the British Dependencies in the South Atlantic for the television documentary “The Last Horizon” – currently in post-production.

All of Sally’s adventures have included the opportunity to raise money for charitable causes. She has pulled together more than £500,000. In 2010 she sailed across the North Atlantic aboard a 68ft racing yacht for The Children’s Trust, of which she is now Honorary Vice President. She also trekked across the Pyrenees with British gymnast Suzanne Dando and a team of women representing the Armed Forces. They raised money for The Royal British Legion. Sally delivers international humanitarian aid on behalf of the NGO Shelterbox, is a Trustee of The London Sports Trust and an Ambassador for Girl Guiding.

Speech Topics

‘One Ocean, One Mum & £1million’ (Dur. 15mins – 1.5hrs)
Sally spins a great yarn and has the audience in sticthes as she recounts the mishaps which lead to her rowing the Atlantic with her Mother.
Highlights include:
* The pain of pulling out of the first attempt when rowing partner Marcus Thompson suffered an epileptic seizure.
* “The Kiwi’s do the Hakka, the Kettle’s do the Yoga!”
* Close encounters with a pod of pilot whales.
* Making it to Barbados after nearly 4 months at sea.

‘The Rowgirls – Making it across alive’ (Dur. 15mins – 1.5hrs)
Picture the scene, it’s the worst weather in the Atlantic for nearly 200 years! Sally tempted the God’s when, on April Fools day, she offered to skipper the first women’s four to row any ocean. Find out how this competative team of four amazing women made it to the start of the Atlantic Rowing Race 2005. They soon became the fastest female crew in the race, 5th place out of 26 competing teams but then, when disaster struck, hear how they finally made it to Antigua lucky to be alive.

Highlights include:
* Finding the winning team.
* Facing the hurricane and 2 tropical storms.
* Jo leaves the boat – and everything’s going wrong.
* The rudder falls off and oars are broken.
* SHARK attack!

Sally Kettle – The First Woman to row the Atlantic (from East -West) Twice’ (Dur. 30mins – 1.5 hrs)
An opportunity to listen to both stories creating a fantastic ocean going tale.

Booking Information


"Sally presented to our young equestrian athletes on one of our talent programme at their recent induction day. Her animated and entertaining presentation hit some key message for us with the young athletes in the room, particularly around the need to control what is in your control and rise to a challenge rather than see a barrier. She kept everyone engaged throughout with her story of adventure and certainly would be someone that I can recommend to inspire others to realise their goals and reach their potential"

David Hamer - British Equestrian Federation

"Sally’s presentation was extremely well received. Quite a few of the students, who were all Sixth Formers, were heard to say that it was the best talk they had heard this year (and they have had six). I think that the girls in particular could really relate to what they heard and indeed a group of them spent quite a while chatting to Sally afterwards and asked to be kept in touch with her future projects. She arrived in such good time and was generous with her time, staying to chat afterwards"

Alicia Houghton, Marketing Manager, Bethany School

"I recently invited Sally to attend a corporate networking event in Newcastle. Speaking in front of some of the most high profile business men and women is no mean feat but after listening to Sally’s story, fear is not a factor to her. Sally spoke with such passion and enthusiasm that everyone in the room was left thinking “what can I do differently."

Mussel Club - Business Networking Event

"'Sally delivers a fantastic presentation which leaves you wanting more (fortunately she has more in her excellent book!) I can only speak in the highest regard for Sally Kettle as a public speaker and would recommend her to anyone looking to motivate a group of people old or young.'"

Geoff Bowman, St James's Place

"Sally Kettle is a confident and colorful speaker who engages the audience with her honest and down to earth style"

Melissa Norman, Event Officer

"Sally was a lively and energetic presenter who enthralled the audience with her impressive tales. Funny, engaging and someone whose determined approach had achieved excellence in the face of adversity.’ Delegate’s comments included: * “A most interesting tale.” * “A story recounted in an amusing and engaging manner." * “Outstanding speaker, and a pleasure to listen to.” * “Excellent, best speaker of the whole conference.” Sally adapted quickly to the audience and supported her tales with pictures that enhanced her performance. I would fully recommend Sally Kettle who was excellent."

Steve Savage, RFU, Community Rugby

"Sally's talk was very empowering and inspiring. Sally speaks with passion and was able to keep the group engaged. We had some feedback from staff after the talk and they mentioned that they felt very inspired by Sally's talk and presentation. Sally was very easy to talk to and I particularly liked the fact that she related some of her experiences to what we also do as an organisation which was nice to hear and made her experiences relatable to us as an organisation. "

38 Degrees

"Sally came to speak to us at our Gala Dinner and had the audience captivated. As well as being a joyful guest for the evening, Sally’s recounting of her oceanic marathon was spell binding – we all want to get in our own boats and row across the Atlantic ourselves. Sally has led a life we can only dream of, she has gone out there and grabbed life with both hands and made her mark – truly inspirational. I know there is more to come with Sally and her future - we can’t wait for the next installment. Sally is always welcome with her new friends in Knowsley."

Knowsley Council


Sally Kettle News

May 26, 2022

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