Pacific Lady: The First Woman to Sail Solo across the World’s Largest Ocean
Co-authored with Sharon Sites Adams
Format: Hardcover, 240 pages
Pub. Date: 2008
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Buy it: Amazon (Kindle) | B&N (NOOK) | Powell’s | UNP
It was an age without GPS and the Internet, without high-tech monitoring and instantaneous reporting. And it was a time when women simply didn’t do such things. None of this deterred Sharon Sites Adams. In June 1965 Adams made history as the first woman to sail solo from the mainland United States to Hawaii. Four years later, just as Neil Armstrong very publicly stepped onto the moon, the diminutive Adams, alone and unobserved, finally sighted Point Arguello, California, after seventy-four days sailing a thirty-one-foot ketch from Japan, across the violent and unpredictable Pacific. She was the first woman to do so, setting another world record.
Inspiring and exciting, Adams’s memoir recounts the personal path leading to her historic achievements: a tomboy childhood in the Oregon high desert, an early marriage and painful divorce, and a second marriage that ended when her husband died of cancer. In the wake of his death and almost by accident, Adams discovered sailing. Six weeks after her first sailing lesson she bought a boat, and within eight months she set out to achieve her first world record. Pacific Lady recounts the inward journey that paralleled her sailing feats, as Adams drew on every scrap of courage and navigational skill she could muster to overcome the seasickness, exhaustion, and loneliness that marked her harrowing crossings.
Praise and Reviews
“Adams’ inspirational tale is a groundbreaking journey worth taking.”—Margaret Flanagan, Booklist
“A seafaring Amelia Earhart chronicles her pioneering sailing career…. A straight-ahead, determined account by a straight-ahead, determined woman.” —Kirkus Review
“Following the death of her husband, this intrepid sailor ‘discovered’ the sport and had her first lesson, bought a boat, and within eight months set out to achieve her first world record. A truly inspiring story for anyone dreaming of taking on a challenge!”—The Feast
“A thrilling adventure story and an engaging read, Pacific Lady is a book of detail and depth. Sharon Sites Adams’s remarkable achievements inspire us to find our own oceans and sail on through the highs and lows of our own lives.”—Amy Racina, author of Angels in the Wilderness
“Eight-thousand miles of open ocean, with the same navigational tools used by Columbus, and no way to communicate. This is one gutsy lady. Widowed at thirty-four, she escaped into the world of sailing for the first time, bought her own boat, and sailed into history. As the press put it, ‘A woman who dared and won.’ This is the stuff movies are made from.”—Martel Scroggin, author of Wasco, The Moonlighters, and The Sheepshooters
“Pacific Lady tugged at me from the opening story. Even though I know nothing about sailing and solo ocean crossings, I was mesmerized by Sharon Sites Adams’s determination, curiosity of the world, and intrepid spirit. When she embarked on her trip across the Pacific Ocean alone, I simply could not put down the book until I knew that she had made it safely home. Karen Coates has done a graceful job of translating this singular story into spare, elegant prose. I will never forget it.”—Shauna James Ahern, author of Gluten-Free Girl: How I Found the Food That Loves Me Back and How You Can Too
“From the time I reached chapter 3, until Sea Sharp landed in Oahu, I could not put the book down. It is a work of suspense, which will bring out the amateur psychologist in any reader. Why did Sharon do it? Human autonomy can produce amazing results. The second trip is even more amazing. Go, Sharon!”—Alfred T. Goodwin, senior judge, U.S. Court of Appeals