"In the end, I know I rowed across the Atlantic to find my heart, but in the beginning, I wasn't aware that it was missing."
In June 1998, Tori McClure began rowing across the Atlantic Ocean solo in a twenty-three-foot plywood boat with no motor or sail. Within days she lost all communication with shore but decided to forge ahead not knowing that 1998 would turn out to be the worst hurricane season on record in the North Atlantic. When she was nearly killed by a series of violent storms, Tori was forced to signal for help and head home in what felt like disgrace. But then her life changed in unexpected ways. She was hired by Muhammad Ali, who told her she did not want to be known as the woman who "almost" rowed across the Atlantic. And at thirty-five, Tori fell in love.
A Pearl in the Storm is Tori's thrilling true story of high adventure and of her personal quest to discover that embracing her own humanity was more important than superhuman feats.
One woman's rebellion against powerlessness places her in perhaps the most powerless situation of all-crossing the Atlantic Ocean alone in a 23-foot rowboat. McClure's unique debut memoir unravels, true to its setting, in a series of currents and waves. At various speeds and intensities, she reveals her life-or-death battle against the ocean, her inner demons and the motives behind her journey. Growing up a self-proclaimed misfit, she was haunted by guilt over being unable to protect her developmentally handicapped brother from the world's cruelty. Her attempts to do so produced a strong, solitary, athletic young woman, but her inability to completely shield him solidified her feeling of impotence. That feeling remained with her throughout her life, even as she worked to help the homeless, the disabled and the terminally ill. She cared fiercely about humanity but was emotionally isolated and blamed herself for failing to save the world. Driven to overcome this self-perceived weakness, 35-year-old McClure departed from the coast of North Carolina in 1998, planning to row the 3,600 miles to France. Isolated at sea for 91 days, battling three hurricanes and a loss of all communication while cherishing the beauty and bliss of the sea, she fluctuated between accepting and challenging nature. A stirring metaphor for life's unpredictable ups and downs, McClure's real-life journey was both propelled and hindered by the ever-transitory ocean currents. When the North Atlantic's worst recorded hurricane season forced her to request rescue at sea, she felt like a failure. Returning home depressed and unable to merge her now-divided self, she stumbled for the first time upon love-and a new plan toconquer the sea. On that voyage, yet another hurricane brought her crashing to her knees, but this time she learned to embrace her demons and forgive herself. Nearly ten years after the conclusion of her groundbreaking journey, McClure offers her reflections in contemplative, honest language, revealing her meaningful road to self-discovery. An inspirational story of losing pride, embracing humanity and accepting love.