Washington State Magazine

Washington State Magazine :: Fall 2013

Fall 2013

In This Issue...


Water to the Promised Land :: As an aquifer declines, Columbia Basin farmers look to water promised them 80 years ago. by Tim Steury

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Map: Interactive map of the Columbia Basin Project }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Background: The Columbia Basin Project’s past and present }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Gallery: Irrigation Images of the Columbia Basin by Zach Mazur}

Booze, Sex, and Reality Check :: Student drinking may always be with us, but behavior modification could make it less risky. by Hannelore Sudermann

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Video: Booze, Sex, and Reality Checks demonstration }

If You Don’t Snooze, You Lose :: Chances are, you do not get enough sleep. And that could be dangerous. by Eric Sorensen

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Video: WSU Spokane’s Deadly Force Decision-making Simulator Bryan Vila at the WSU Sleep and Performance Center }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Story: Fatigue at Sea: A Circumnavigator’s Story }


{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Video: How to say “Go Cougs” in sign language }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Gallery: A fitting business: Businesswoman and tailor Lucy Stevenson Photographs by Robert Hubner}

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Video: Soccer concussions }


:: First Words

:: Posts

:: Short subject: Constant coffee

:: Sports: Composing Cougar soccer

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Recipes: Sweet Corn }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Story: The original story of Nature Boy }


{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Music: Compositions of Charles Argersinger }

New Media

Oceania and the Victorian Imagination: Where All Things Are Possible edited by Richard D. Fulton ’75 PhD and Peter H. Hoffenberg

Love Reports to Spring Training by Linda Kittell

Rugged Mercy: A Country Doctor in Idaho’s Sun Valley by Robert S. Wright

New & Noteworthy: Luna Sea by Kim Roberts ’82; The Boys From Ireland: An Irish Immigrant Family’s Involvement in the Civil War by Neil W. Moloney ’53; Biodesign Out for a Walk by Lowell Harrison Young ’72; Characterization of Biomaterials edited by Amit Bandyopadhyay and Susmita Bose

Cover: “Irrigation” by Mark Zack, acrylic on canvas, 2010.

Fall 2013
Web Exclusives
Naomi James


Naomi James

Fatigue at Sea: A Circumnavigator’s Story

by Eric Sorensen | © Washington State University

Were there a Hall of Fame of Sleep Deprivation, a special place would be reserved for single-handed sailors who routinely rise from their bunks to check their rigs and scan the horizon for oncoming vessels. It’s a reasonable safety precaution. It also invites its own measure of risk by compromising reaction times, hand-eye coordination, and general judgment, the kind of things scientists study at WSU Spokane’s Sleep and Performance Research Center.

As it happens, Lois James MA ’09, PhD ’11 , a research assistant professor in the center, is the daughter of Naomi James, the first woman to sail single-handed around the world via the treacherous Cape Horn. James took 272 days to complete her 1977-1978 voyage, beating the record of Sir Francis Chichester by two days. She sailed a 53-foot sloop that ordinarily had a crew of ten. Reached at her home in southern Ireland with Lois’s help, James says she initially slept only 20 minutes at a time while in the traffic lanes of the North Atlantic. At times, she says, she went 48 hours without any sleep at all, like the time when she sailed through a gale on her approach to the Cape. Most sailors come within sight of the coast, but she feared the wind might shift and put her on the rocks, so she put her self-steering gear on a southerly course. Then she went to sleep for six hours. She sailed deep into the iceberg zone of the Southern Ocean. “There was a very good chance that there were icebergs around,” she says. “I knew that theoretically, but this is a funny thing about priorities. I suppose maybe it’s fatalism, maybe it’s trusting to luck or something of that kind, but I just knew that I had to sleep. So I went to sleep.” When she awoke, James turned north, cleared the Cape, and pulled into the Falkland Islands, where an ice patrol vessel told her she had been sailing in the vicinity of an iceberg 20 or 30 miles long. “When I think about it now, it’s a funny thing how one equates danger or risk when you’re very sleep-deprived like that,” she says. “The normal standards that you have when you’re properly functioning, they go by the board and you take much greater risks.”

Categories: Biography, Recreation | Tags: Sailing, Fatigue