Get the water out of the boat.”. . A serious head injury and blood loss meant that she drifted in and out of consciousness. The boat was all-but destroyed: masts were broken off and the waterlogged sails floated uselessly in the water. Taking a 44ft luxury yacht from Tahiti to California, a voyage of some 4,000 miles across the glistening waters of the Pacific, was the chance of a lifetime for two avid young sailors. Grief was, for now, pushed aside. Tami Oldham is a famous American author, Businesswomen, who is the owner of Finish Line Auto Repair and also a Category- … ‘There were times I didn’t even want to live any more because I didn’t know how I was going to go on. ‘While I was in the survival mode, the grief was fairly low. If you noticed that the 2018 movie Adrift suddenly appeared on your Netflix home page this weekend, welcome! Together we had 50,000 miles of ocean-sailing under our belts. Public-school educated Richard, from Cornwall, had been set to follow his officer father into the Royal Navy, but was thrown out of the academy for insubordination. It kept me going.”. ‘I held so much of this in for so long. Richard and Tami, played by Sam Claflin and Shailene Woodley, look worried as hurricane approaches, Fury . She and her fiancé, Richard Sharp, had been sailing for the past six months. Tami shouted his name over and over again, but found only empty ocean. She heard: “Never leave the boat. But that survival instinct [while at sea] just kicked in. Tami, now 58, still believes his spirit helped guide her to safety. Oh, my God, we're gonna die out here! Then the radio crackled to life with a warning that Hurricane Raymond was bearing down on them. Scott Menzel sits down with Tami Oldham to talk about seeing her own story come to life on the big screen. Tami Oldham-Ashcraft, 58, was born in 1960 and is now married with two children, living in San Juan Island, Washington. That's what Tami Oldham and her fiancŽ Richard Sharp did in September of 1983, when they agreed to deliver the yacht Hazana from the South Pacific to its owners in San Diego, California. In 1983, young lovers Richard Sharp and Tami Oldham Ashcraft were sailing from Tahiti to San Diego when their boat was hit by Hurricane Raymond. Tami describes the roar of the 145mph wind as “like jet engines being thrown in reverse”. The couple had already covered more than 50,000 miles of ocean sailing together so the prospect of covering 4,000 miles together over the course of three weeks wasn't daunting. It had lost its masts, engine, radio equipment and its electronic navigation system, and Tami had lost the love of her life, her soulmate. I was never going to fall in love again. Her serious head injuries meant that it was six years before she was capable of reading a book once again, let alone writing one and it was only after marriage and her first child, that she finally felt able to tell her story. I scream and rage at the vast sea that’s torn my man from me… I slip in and out of consciousness, delirious, half-dead.’. The original was shredded and the mast broken, but there was a heavy-duty sail still rolled up in its cover. The two of them spend more time together and begin to plan a trip to sail to Japan. In September 1983, 23-year-old Tami Oldham Ashcraft's future seemed as idyllic as the South Pacific islands she and her fiance, Richard Sharp, had … ‘From the depths of my soul, I feel an animal roar inside me. She said: “I will never understand why Richard died and I lived, except that he saved my life by having me go below.”. She never saw him again. In her absolute solitude Tami pondered whether she was already dead; that she had become impossible to see, and the thought drove her close to ending her life. Then a British couple hired them to sail their bigger yacht, the Hazana to San Diego — Tami’s home town. It was 27 hours before she regained consciousness to an eerie silence and utter devastation. At just 45 square feet, it was small – but it was enough. She created a makeshift sail and rigged up a way to pump water from the cabin. In October of 1983, a friend approached the couple and asked if they would deliver a 44-foot yacht, Hazana, from Tahiti to San Diego. Briefly, she contemplated joining her fiancé in the depths of the now calm water. happy lovers Tami and Richard, Fear . Tami Oldham Ashcraft, left, was sailing with her fiance Richard Sharp when he was washed overboard during a storm featuring 140-knot winds and 40ft wavesÂ. And one moment perhaps more than any other helps her through: ‘As dawn breaks and the rescue ship is steaming towards me, I know my incredible journey against all the odds had surely taught me one thing. But soon, the seemingly idyllic love story takes a grim turn. At the time, she was engaged to 34 year old British sailor Richard Sharp. I talked to him all the time. . Tami Oldham Ashcraft (born February 20, 1960) is an American sailor and author who, in 1983, survived 41 days adrift in the Pacific Ocean. The cabin was half-filled with water, everything inside it smashed or scattered on the floor. Twice, too, a plane flew overhead, but again she was not spotted. Tami Oldham lost fiance Richard Sharp after a killer wave hit their yacht Credit: Zuma Press As they smashed down on the couple’s 44ft boat, Tami, 23, looked into the “electric blue eyes” of … Both are rising stars – Sam appeared in the film adaptation of Jojo Moyes’ novel Me Before You, while US actress Shailene played a teenage cancer patient in The Fault In Our Stars – and Adrift looks set to be this summer’s cinematic hit. On the verge of a mental breakdown, catatonic, she failed to move or eat, her life seemingly at an end as she explained movingly in her memoir: ‘I know in a blinding flash he’s gone overboard. But finally she approached Hawaii’s Hilo harbour and soon she was on land, safe — and overwhelmed with the horror of her ordeal. We're gonna die out here! ‘Even in our darkest hours, even in the wilderness, truly, we are never alone.’. The British towns where VEG has almost vanished... and why... We had to tell our children Daddy could die on Everest... we... 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The mast was broken, the sails in shreds and the boat itself flooded with water. Like the movie based on her life, she was engaged to Richard Sharp, but unlike the movie, he died once Hurricane Raymond hit their boat. And the task seemed as simple as it was pleasurable: sail the Hazana to her winter berth in San Diego on behalf of the well-heeled owners. I really felt the energy of the divine soulmate connection between Tami and her fiance.”. + Follow The movie is based on Tami Oldham Ashcraft's memoir Red Sky in Mourning: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Survival at Sea. Tami believes she suffered from severe traumatic shock, and regrets the lack of treatment or counselling. She should feel joy and pride before finally concluding: ‘I will always be with you’. A second important victory. She said: “I think Richard was definitely with me, that he was helping guide me and being there with me because we shared such a passion for each other and for life. Yet even the big-screen treatment could hardly be more dramatic than the true 1,500-mile solo epic that Tami describes in Red Sky In Mourning: A True Story of Love, Loss And Survival At Sea, which will be re-published next month as Adrift. Together they sailed a yacht Richard had built himself to Tahiti, where Richard proposed. She rationed her water supply with life-saving discipline, taking only a few sips a day from the storage bag which supplied the shower. Then she heard a voice — Richard’s voice. The then 23-year-old Ashcraft accompanied him on the crossing. I just really had a hard time,’ she recalled. It was time to contemplate her loss, yet Tami’s inner spirit once again counselled her to take courage. ‘Fight for your life.’. Although Tami was still struggling with the head injury, she managed to attach the sail to a broken pole and raise it. Now her ordeal and the extraordinary memoir that followed have been made into a big-budget Hollywood film, Adrift, set for release in June, and featuring British actor Sam Claflin as Richard and Shailene Woodley as Tami. Few others would have survived the extraordinary voyage, it said. Overwhelmed with grief and shock, Tami was initially paralysed, unable to comprehend the truth. Tami Oldham Ashcraft and her British fiance, Richard Sharp had planned to sail from Tahiti to California on board the 44ft yacht Hazana when … Tami recalled: “While I was in survival mode, the grief was fairly low. In September 1983, 23-year-old American sailor Tami Oldham Ashcraft set to sea for a 31-day crossing from Tahiti to San Diego, California. I grieved for so long, and I just wanted to erase it from my mind and move on. It took her years to cope with the trauma caused by the loss of her fiancé and the violence of the hurricane. When Tami Oldham and her fiancé Richard Sharp set sail from Tahiti to San Diego, they had no idea that they would be sailing into one of the worst hurricanes in … The couple set sail from Papeete Harbor on September 22. “But no Richard. Then she turned her attention to creating a sail. Moments later she heard him scream ‘Oh my God!’ and her world was thrust into darkness. And it was then that the miracle took place: a voice in her head demanded she bail out the boat to prevent it from sinking. It was nightfall and a perilous coral reef stood between her safety so, unable to risk going in until daylight, she endured one more agonising night before dawn broke and a rescue vessel sailed out from port to guide her home. Tami also discusses the … It seemed like a good idea at the time, especially for two people who were crazy about sailing, very much in love and planning a future together. Tami Oldham Ashcraft Career. Tami arrived on land triumphant, but looking like a wild woman. Play it now. It urged her to get up, to eat and to make a plan to get to land. To see all content on The Sun, please use the Site Map. I really wish I had taken the time to do that. Shailene, 26, said of the true-life survival story reviewed here by Sun film critic Jamie East, which took place in 1983: “I was so captivated by it, by who Tami is and the love story. It helped me to focus, to keep myself on track.’. For other inquiries, Contact Us. By day nine of her ordeal, Tami could both sail and steer and briefly allowed herself a degree of hope. Tami found the boat’s tinned rations among the wreckage and calculated that she could make them last up 40 days before starvation would set in. Young and in love, their lives ahead of them, Tami Oldham and her fiancé, Richard Sharp, set sail from Tahiti under brilliant blue skies, with Tami’s hometown of San Diego as their ultimate destination. She was with her British fiancé Richard Sharp, and delivering luxury yacht, Hazana. That voice, she says, brought her back from the brink, helping her navigate with just a sextant and the stars above her head. She also found some beer and – incongruously – Cuban cigars, which became her nightly treats. Tami Oldham Ashcraft, left, was sailing with her fiance Richard Sharp when he was washed overboard during a storm featuring 140-knot winds and 40ft waves. “There were times I didn’t even want to live any more because I didn’t know how I was going to go on.”. Richard invites Tami for dinner aboard his boat Mayaluga. Filming on the movie began just three months after the loss of her daughter but brave Tami still decided to visit the set. Tami Oldham reveals the harrowing experience of when her dream adventure turned into a real life nightmare. She was then thrown against the side, knocking her unconscious. It was the last time she would hear the voice that had truly saved her life. He met Californian Tami while they were both working in South Africa and they bonded over their shared passion for sailing. This service is provided on News Group Newspapers' Limited's Standard Terms and Conditions in accordance with our Privacy & Cookie Policy. In 1983, Ashcraft's then-fiancé, 34-year-old British sailor Richard Sharp, was hired to ferry the 13-metre yacht Hazaña from Tahiti to San Diego. It was just as well. Recovery was long and emotionally traumatic. At times she thought madness had set in, when she hallucinated land that was not there. But incredibly she managed to guide the crippled boat 1,500 miles to the nearest land in a 41-day voyage that has now been made into movie Adrift, which opens today. Tami Oldham and Richard Sharp had decided to take a break from sailing in Sharp’s 36-foot sailboat. The comments below have not been moderated. To inquire about a licence to reproduce material, visit our Syndication site. They had already spent a year and a half together on the Pacific, delivering and mending boats. In September 1983, the future seemed bright for Tami Oldham Ashcraft. Then, just before the killer wave struck, “all motion stopped”. Tami once recalled: “We hugged, laughed, made love and relaxed into 20 days of paradise.”. . Texas GOP chairman calls for secession, Diamond and Silk demand military intervention, and Rudy Giuliani fumes that it's 'censorship' after the Supreme Court refuses to hear a case to throw out millions of votes, Republican senator Ben Sasse hails Supreme Court for 'closing the book on the nonsense' and slams Donald Trump's conspiracy theoriesÂ, GOP Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner files complaint to the House Ethics Committee urging the panel to 'immediately open an investigation' into Eric Swalwell's relationship with a suspected Chinese spy, Happy Chanukah from our family to yours! It sticks to my tongue like a slug to concrete. She settled in Washington state and in 1994 married property developer Ed Ashcraft. The summer of 1983 started out like a fairytale adventure for 23-year-old globetrotter Tami Oldham Ashcraft. I know in a blinding flash he’s gone overboard.”. Stay the course, it said. It wasn’t as intense as when I got to shore and the survival was over, and I could see people together and everything kept reminding me of him. The navigation station is in pieces. 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At first, this looked like a pretty good business deal, but it soon turned into … With winds of 140-knots and towering 40ft waves, Raymond struck them with the force of a wrecking ball, flipping the vessel over, forcing Richard overboard and leaving Tami alone aboard the devastated craft. Tami Ashcraft ... (based on the book by) (as Tami Oldham Ashcraft) and Susea McGearhart ... (based on the book with) Cast (in credits order) complete, awaiting verification Shailene Woodley ... Tami Oldham: Sam Claflin ... Richard Sharp ... in loving memory of They had decided to take a … And so the days went by with the voice as her only companion on the lonely waters. ‘I had lost everything, so there was no way I was going to give up my hair,’ she recalled. For more than 40 days, with her boat crippled, equipment smashed and heart broken, 23-year-old Tami somehow endured the elements threatening to annihilate her and then conquered them – and she did so thanks to the guiding spirit of her dead fiancé, whose insistent voice, day by day, had urged her on to a seemingly impossible survival. I couldn’t believe how much I was still holding around in my head, and just purging it like that really helped me to get past it all. It took five years for Tami to fully recover from the head injury, which left her struggling to read and suffering short-term memory loss. "The Sun", "Sun", "Sun Online" are registered trademarks or trade names of News Group Newspapers Limited. Then I see it, floating in front of me. I just put it on the back burner. . What followed was a story of good fortune, rare courage, and redemption. Tossed like a cork on the raging ocean, the yacht had flipped end over end. When I realised he wasn’t there, I wanted to die. The Sun website is regulated by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), Our journalists strive for accuracy but on occasion we make mistakes. She also found a sextant — a navigational instrument first used by mariners 250 years ago — which she had been trained to use. Tami Oldham : Am I hallucinating? For it was shortly afterwards, on Day 40, that Hilo Harbour on Hawaii – and salvation – came into view. Scrambling out onto the deck she looked desperately for Richard but found only wreckage. But less than two weeks into their voyage, disaster struck. I force it down. As they smashed down on the couple’s 44ft boat, Tami, 23, looked into the “electric blue eyes” of her handsome British lover Richard Sharp and saw fear. They had two daughters — Brook, 21, and Kelli, who died aged 22 in April last year from carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty heating system in her home. Actress Shailene had to survive on 350 calories a day in order to lose enough weight to portray Tami in her emaciated state — a diet she calls “f***ing miserable”. Tami Oldham Ashcraft and Richard Sharp While today she is a wife and mother in her late 50s, back in 1983 Tami Oldham Ashcraft was just a young 23 year old woman with a bright future ahead of her. She and Richard only carried enough for what they thought would be about ten more days at sea. Sadly, Richard was thrown from the vessel and lost at sea, leaving Tami to navigate the waters alone. 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She loaded her rifle and put the muzzle her mouth, but the thought of never seeing her little brother grow up made her think again. He was born on February 20, 1960, in San Diego, California, USA. This Tami Oldham Ashcraft interview features the real woman who lived the experience depicted in the Adrift movie. 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