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Tori Murden - A Second Attempt

Famous Sports StarsOther SportsTori Murden Biography - Early Challenges, Relentless Competitor, A Second Attempt, An Unprecedented Achievement, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments - CONTACT INFORMATION

A second attempt

Sector Sport Watches, an Italian company, was sponsoring French rower Peggy Bouchet's solo attempt to cross the Atlantic in early 1998 when they contacted Murden. Bouchet was traveling westward from the Canaries; Sector wanted to back Murden in an attempt to cross the North Atlantic from west to east—a much longer, more dangerous route. "Eager to crack the U.S. market, Sector turned to Murden," reported Women's Sports & Fitness. "With her Ivy League pedigree and Wheaties-box grin, she was a corporate sponsor's dream—a gifted public speaker who relished giving inspirational talks to schoolkids and volunteered in a rowing program for disabled youth." Murden initially rejected the idea as too dangerous, but she relented a few days later.

She set out upon the 3,600-mile, 100-day journey from Nags Head, North Carolina, on June 14, 1998. Her boat, American Pearl, was 23-feet long and built from plywood reinforced with fiberglass and covered in Kevlar. The craft capsized a week later, damaging Murden's communications system. The boat automatically righted and bailed itself, as it was built to do, but Murden spent the next 78 days unable to communicate with the outside world or obtain a weather report. On Day 85, still 950 miles from her destination in France, Murden collided with Hurricane Danielle and its 50-foot waves. Murden sealed herself inside her coffin-sized cabin; the boat capsized fifteen times. Murden did not activate her distress beacon until the three-day storm passed, because she did not want people risking their lives in a rescue attempt. She was suffering from a dislocated shoulder and a concussion when she finally was picked up by the bulk carrier Independent Spirit. Months later, the American Pearl washed up off the shore of Portugal.

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