In October 1983 when Tami Oldham Ashcraft and her fiancee Richard Sharp set out on a job to deliver a luxurious 44 foot yacht from Tahiti to San Diego, they never dreamed that they would be stuck in a category four hurricane battling forty foot waves.
The couple tried to run north of the storm and Sharp sent Ashcraft below deck and clipped himself to a lifeline.
Moments later, the boat rolled over, then flipped end over end.
Ashcraft was knocked unconscious and only regained consciousness twenty seven hours later.
The storm was over and her head was covered in blood.
Sharp’s lifeline had snapped and his tether trailed off into the dark ocean.
Her fiancee Richard Sharp was gone.
The yacht was dismasted, the engine and electronic equipment didn’t work, and the cabin was partially flooded.
Mourning for Sharp and weak from loss of blood she did nothing for two days until a voice in her head began demanding that she get to work.
"Being on that boat was like solitary confinement but the voice kept me on track and I just followed it".
Working with only a sextant for two days, she finally figured out her bearings and rigged a sail to position herself in currents she hoped would take her to Hawaii.
And after forty two days she sailed into the Big Island’s Hilo Harbor.
Today, Ashcraft, who told her story in the 2000 book Red Sky in Mourning, lives in Washington State’s San Juan Islands, where she continues to sail.