The sea can be a beautiful place: open ocean, clean blue water reflecting a wide-open sky. No city noises or smoggy air, no cars, and other boats leave such a wide berth that collisions out in open water are an incredible rarity.
For seasoned sailors, it’s a safe and gorgeous retreat from the landlocked world. But the ocean is also dangerous.
It’s home to one of nature’s deadliest phenomena, the Hurricane, which can turn even a Destroyer into a bath toy in the roil of the twisting seas.
Even experienced sailors know, if they sail into a storm, there’s a chance they might not sail out. Tami Oldham Ashcraft went on an unforgettable boat trip in her youth.
What was supposed to be a simple skim across the ocean from Tahiti to San Diego turned into a contest of survival and a test of the human spirit. She came out alive to tell her tale, but at what cost?
10 Red Sky At Morning
Tami was set up to be a prominent sailor since she was younger. Her father sailed as a hobby, and she got the hang of it when she went out and helped navigate one of his yachts.
She decided that she liked it enough to take her fiance, Richard Sharpe, out for a month-long cross-Pacific tour from a dock in Tahiti to San Diego in September 1983.
9 Sailor's Warning
Things were going well for the couple for a while up until they started nearing the equator.
There were signs and radio warnings of a tropical depression, a storm front that threatened their journey, which later developed into Hurricane Raymond.
They were tossed into 40-foot tall waves and winds over 100 miles per hour. On October 12th, Sharpe managed the deck in the biting rain and wind while Ashcraft went below deck to rest. Then everything changed.