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Red Sky in Mourning: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Survival at Sea
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Red Sky in Mourning: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Survival at Sea

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  294 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
New available in paperback, a true-life adventure story with everything: page-turning suspense, remarkable acts of courage, wrenching despair, and a triumphant, life-affirming ending.

Red Sky in Mourning is the story of Tami Oldham Ashcraft's 41-day journey to safety, which she survived through fortitude and sheer strength of character. Interspersed with flashbacks to her r
Paperback, 240 pages
Published July 16th 2003 by Hachette Books (first published October 1st 1998)
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Jan 28, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: survival, non-fiction
Red Sky in Mourning is often cited in the survival literature. Tami Oldham Ashcraft tells her own story of sailing from Tahiti to San Diego and capsizing in a hurricane. Her boyfriend is lost at sea and she awakes alone after being unconscious for 27 hours. She has the sailboat, a good amount of fresh water, canned food and other provisions, so more than many survivors. Her story is much more the story of the emotional survival for 44 days as she pilots her mastless, broken craft to Hawaii. She ...more
♥ Marlene♥
Well this was a very quick read. Finished it in a day or 2. This book was on my wish list for quite a long time and finally bought it.

I like to read survival stories and there are very good ones out there like Adrift by Steve Callahan and Jungle by Joshi Ginsberg (I hope I wrote the correct names) They are excellent.

First of all this is about survival on the sea but it is indeed more an emotional story cause this lady had enough supplies to last her for a long time.

I am not going to say what hap
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good book that tells an amazing survival adventure story.
John Branney
Jul 06, 2013 rated it liked it
This lady went through a tragic ordeal that most of us will never experience. However, I believe the author 'missed the boat' when she wrote this, figuratively speaking of course. The author struggled to adequately describe the unbelievable trauma and psychological drama she experienced during those thirty some days she spent bobbing like a cork, hoping to be rescued. Although she wrote about almost committing suicide, I did not feel that before her suicide contemplation, she adequately describe ...more
Perrin Pring
I found this book in a used book store and picked it up on a whim. It only took me an afternoon to read, and I greatly enjoyed it. Red Sky in Mourning is nineteen-year-old Tami Oldham's nonfiction account of her life as she sets off from home and begins to sail the Pacific Ocean, or at least part of it does.

Red Sky in Mourning can be divided into two tales. There is that of before the hurricane, and that of the aftermath of the hurricane. Oldham and her fiance were sailing a yacht across the Pa
Aug 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I saw that Sam Claflin and Shailene Woodley are filming a movie called Adrift. When I realized it was based on a true story and there was a book I had to get a copy. For a girl that hates boats, I sure am a sucker for nautical books. I'm especially fascinated by true stories and/or circumnavigation. Red Sky In Mourning was narrated by the author and at times felt a little flat but she kept my attention the whole way through. There is lots of nautical jargon but I never felt lost or confused. ...more
Cecelia Hightower
The title of this book is a play on the words of the sailor's adage "Red Sky at Night, Sailor's Delight; Red Sky in the Morning, Sailor's Take Warning". This saying relates that if there is a red sky in the evening the weather the next day will be good and if there is a red sky in the morning there is a storm coming, no matter how calm the water and weather is at the time when you first see the sunrise.

As Betty told me, this book is actually a love story. It is a good love story and a great desc
Natalie Sharpston
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Red Sky in Mourning was recommended by a friend — one of the sailors with whom I crossed the Pacific Ocean in a 42-foot sailboat a long time ago. I checked the book out from my local library and read it in two sittings. Tami’s story made me even more grateful that we completed the voyage safe and sound.

A line I could relate to: “…a wave sent the hull airborne into a free fall that smashed down with a shudder.” I remember the pounding we took as we beat into the wind for days on end.

One of my fa
Becky Safarik
Jun 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
The writing and the drama are of the high school variety. This girl went through a really hard experience but her recounting is amateurish and disappointing. And unfortunately, she missed out on some important lessons in her experience. One example is when visiting Richard's parents after she gets back to land, she says: "I know their pain was as deep as mine. I know that it could not have been deeper - different yes, but not deeper." I find it amazingly egocentric to believe that the love you h ...more
Jan 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2014
A very real account of a tragic marine event. Tami wrote this with humility and heart. A truly horrible life event to survive. Bound to deliver a sailboat, Tami and Richard, two very experienced yachtsmen, set out on their voyage and cross paths with a hurricane. Horrific in its detail and description of the sheer terror that Tami experiences. A triumphant survival tale as well. The spirit of this woman shines through. I found the sadness Tami and the owners felt at the destruction of the yacht ...more
Jun 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An incredible story told by Tami Oldham, a young woman who survived 41 days alone at sea after her fiance was swept overboard in a horrendous hurricane. Although a person skilled in sailing would understand more fully the endurance test she experienced, even a non-sailor perceives her survival is nothing short of miraculous. More importantly, the amazing insights Tami discovers about love and loss as she struggles for her life, sometimes tempted to join her lover in the depths of the sea, are pr ...more
Sep 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great story about love, courage and overcoming odds that are stacked against us - even when it seems impossible. Really, it is about survival. This is a true story that is written in a way that really allows you to become the narratress and relive the events that shattered her life. Difficult at times, I appreciate how she allows us to experience this with her and to grow from it - learning to appreciate all that we have. This is a very quick, short read, and is intriguing from cover-to-cover.
Alisa Kester
Apr 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Audiobook version. While it was interesting to hear the story in the author's own voice, ultimately I think it would have served the book better to have a professional narrate it. The story itself was not nearly so interesting as other survival tales I've read. The worst part of the story was, of course, the shocking and sudden loss of her husband-to-be; her own survival was not actually all that harrowing, otherwise. Most of her difficulties arose from being grief-stricken, and (understandably) ...more
Aug 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
Fantastic achievement of survival at sea by a young woman. However, I didn't think it was very well written. The author used a device of "The Voice" in her head to explain either her own initiative to keep going, or it was meant to be something more mystical. It was also written with much technical details about sailing -- if I understood anything about sailing personally, I might have enjoyed this book more.
Mar 31, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I currently live on a powerboat, cruising the San Juan Islands and Puget Sound. We wintered in Friday Harbor, where a new friend recommended this book (she is a sailor).

Not sure I will ever work up the courage to do much ocean boating, but I would not say this book has scared me away from the cruising lifestyle. Though I do not like 'bumpy water', I know the basics to navigation and our boat systems.

Perhaps I will meet Tami some day.
Sep 10, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I do like a survival story and this one grabbed my eye on the shelves. I read it quickly - its about a woman's survival at sea for five weeks after being caught in a cyclone. To be honest i found her style of writing cliched and a little corny...although her story in its own right is a remarkable one.
M. Lynne
Sep 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes adventure stories
This is a great story of survival. It really moved along, and I had to read this in one sitting. I don't know how she remembered all the details but I imagine there were some that were added to fill in the blanks of her memory. I loved the Voice. It is always sad when someone as nice as Richard dies so young. I am glad that there was such a happy epilogue.
Aug 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about my husband's family's boat. Before they owned Hazana it belonged to an English couple. The couple hired two young sailors in Tahiti to sail Hazana to California for them. During the trip the young couple got caught in Hurricane Raymond. This book follows their story. It is an amazing story of love and survival. I am glad to have an inside look at the history of Hazana.
Clare Smith
Sep 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very much enjoyed this account as a human interest story, a technical tale and as a blue water cruiser myself. My husband does frequently question why do you read those books. Well I do because they give an honest awareness of the pitfalls and the joys. Maybe not so we'll written but I can forgive that as this was an account not a literary effort.
Dec 04, 2008 rated it it was ok
I'm having trouble finding good books this year. I listened to this one on CD and the author's reading was distracting for me. This is the story of a woman who barely survives a hurricane that kills her fiance. She then must navigate and sail the disabled boat to safety on her own. The story was compelling but, even with the aid of a co-writer, I found the writing pretty cheesy.
Feb 25, 2008 rated it liked it
I actually listened to this on CD-- it was recommended by a friend. I'm not a sailor myself so I didn't understand a lot of the "boat" talk, (and I didn't particularly like the way the author writes, but it IS a true story), but it was a surprisingly enjoyable read for me and I got really emotionally involved in the story!
Aug 16, 2008 rated it liked it
I liked this book better than Albatross for sure. The title says it all, it is a story of love, the loss of her love and then surviving at sea. The book gave me an appreciation for sea faring abilities, if the woman in the book hadn't learned about navigation and basic boat/sea knowledge, she would have perished. It was a good read.
Mar 25, 2010 rated it liked it
I couldn't put this book down, but it really could have used a detailed illustration of the boat. There was so much sailing jargon that it was often difficult to visualize what she was doing. There was a glossary, but I needed a visual, as I know nothing about sailing.
Feb 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jane Dugger
Jul 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Heart-breakingly sad but very good. Pick it up if you're not afraid of sailing.
Thad Gilliam
Jun 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Incredible survival story. As an aspiring sailor, I have a new-found fear of mother nature.
Apr 11, 2008 rated it liked it
True story of survival--and I had the opportunity to meet the author in person!
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
I thought the voice was stilted, the narrative jumpy (and I don't mind non-linear thinking) and as someone who enjoys the survival memoir, this book wasn't a great addition to that genre.
Pam Fink
Apr 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Good book. Had a hard time reading about the boat jargon and mariner details- but what a remarkable young lady.
Aug 06, 2008 added it
Poignant, inspiring book about learning to grow through loss. This is a book that galvanizes what makes the human spirit unique, irrepressible and celebrates resilience.
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