Naomi James

Sailor, Author

1949 –

47

Who is Naomi James?

Dame Naomi Christine James, Mrs. Haythorne, DBE, Ph.D was the first woman to sail single-handed around the world via Cape Horn. She departed Dartmouth, Devon on 9 September 1977 and finished her voyage around the globe on 8 June 1978 after 272 days, thus improving Sir Francis Chichester's solo round-the-world sailing record by two days.

She was born in New Zealand on a landlocked sheep farm and did not learn how to swim until the age of 23. She worked as a hairdresser until she boarded a passenger boat for Europe.

In the summer of 1975 in Saint-Malo, France she met her future husband Rob James, who was skippering yachts for Chay Blyth and who had come into port with a charter boat. She learned about sailing from Rob James, and while waiting for him to return from an ocean race and marry her, she made the decision to sail single-handed around the world, non-stop. She told Rob her dream on their honeymoon, and had only six-weeks sailing experience at the time. Chay Blyth lent her the boat Spirit of Cutty Sark, other people raised money for supplies, and the Daily Express raised sponsorship money. She sailed around the world aboard the 53-foot yacht Express Crusader. During her voyage, she once nearly lost her mast, capsized and had no radio for several weeks.

Famous Quotes:

  • Sailing was never my thing,

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Born
Mar 2, 1949
New Zealand
Profession
Education
  • University College Cork - National University of Ireland, Cork
Lived in
  • Cork Harbour
  • Gisborne
  • Ngongotaha

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

Citation

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