sailor chick of the decade

Editor

Administrator
Staff member
6,696
1,113
carlsbad
lia-ditton-1024x575.jpg


Dear and nearly long-lost friend Lia Ditton has a story to tell. Read it.

Why Did You Stop Sailing? A journalist in Portland, Oregon asked me a year ago. 

Why Are You Rowing the Pacific?  Everyone asks me this.

In 2011, I starred in a horror movie, except that movie was my life. I had a stalker and you know him. You probably follow him online.

The messages at first were one liners, but over the months they became lengthy scripts from a sick, disturbed mind. “I am Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde…”

The emails were sent from names of people in the sailing industry or hybrids of sailing names. Sometimes photos were attached, of me that week. The calls were unregistered. The phone company had no record of them. Something called ‘pinging’ - I learned - an automated service you can select online, to harass someone. 

It didn’t matter what email address or social media account I used. The messages came up to 6 a day, sometimes sent to people I interacted with online. By Christmas of 2011, I had stopped writing for all sailing publications including Sailing Anarchy. 

I don’t remember when the hot sweats started, but I remember the nightmares in detail - waking up unable to scream, waking up as my throat was being slit.  I sat in the living room one day beside my life’s possessions all boxed up. I was planning to swim to the Scilly Isles at night, knowing full well I wouldn’t make it. I was afraid of myself - afraid if my stalker turned up in my alleyway, I would grab the kitchen knife and kill him. This was year two and I now knew who he was.

The police got more involved on the request of my uncle, a policeman himself. The stalker went on the list as WANTED in the UK, but he was on a train back to France before they could grab him. He was no fool. 

I moved apartment, moved again and then to Spain, alas too late. My appendix ruptured, then for a year, I was on a special diet to save my spleen. I was corroding, from the inside out.  Amazingly, I got a job - in the Sahara, for an ultra marathon company. The Sahara is beautiful, brutal, raw and so was the race, The Marathon des Sables. 

I waited all my career to join a women’s Volvo Team, but I didn’t apply for Team SCA, because I couldn’t. My life was a shattered pane of glass, held together by tape. 

But in the dust of the desert I found hope and three years after it started, I ventured back into sailing. At first I suffered heart palpitations at the sight of boats, - the stalker works in the sailing industry - but over time those went away. 

My first job was as safety officer for the ocean rowing race from Monterey to Hawaii; my second as boat captain of the 110ft solar powered catamaran ‘Planet Solar.’ Then again I was safety officer for the second edition of the rowing race to Hawaii. The ocean was calling me back.

Rowing the Atlantic in 2010 was a diversion, a fun side show to my main love of racing boats. Naked for 73 days, the oars extensions of my arms, I could feel the ocean. Whales swam alongside and clicked to communicate. I felt I belonged. I felt wild and free. 

When I began this project to row solo across the North Pacific, to be the 1st woman and 1st person to row land-to-land, I don’t think I knew my motive. Now I do. 

In 1,850 miles of training, rowing my boat in the bay of San Francisco and down the California Coast, my body has become strong. I have picked up a huge following of all ages, but particularly young girls. And for those girls, I want to throw open the doors of possibility that they can do and be whatever they dream of. 

Rowing the Pacific was never about rowing, but what it represents: resilience in the face of adversity, determination against all odds and dogged unwavering perseverance.

I don’t know how you move on from an experience like being stalked - it left shards of glass inside of me. But what we do know, is that over time glass is weathered by the sea. 

My typhoon-proof rowboat is about to be built and I am set on leaving Japan right before the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Think of it as the Super Slow Olympics as I’ll leave before the Olympics start and probably still be rowing after they’ve finished. 

I have one more thing to say. 

The man who stalked me is a sailing photographer. 

 

BlondeWithFreeBoat

Anarchist
935
66
NY
Terrifying. And yet, not entirely surprising. There are some serious creeps out there. She's amazing for coming through that and accomplishing amazing things in spite of it. RESPECT.

 

Recidivist

Super Anarchist
Terrifying. And yet, not entirely surprising. There are some serious creeps out there. She's amazing for coming through that and accomplishing amazing things in spite of it. RESPECT.
Respect indeed!  What a powerfully written piece, and how fucking scary!

Anyone want to start a gofundme to arrange for this scum to meet up with some Hells Angels types in a dark lane?

Go Lia - good luck with the Pacific row!

 

zuludaddy

New member
9
1
I'm sorry this happened to you. You should never have had to bear the burden of his utterly unacceptable behavior, and you deserve justice where he deserves hell. Good thing, then, that you're an asskicker and a champion amongst women. Please come back to SA when you're ready, and let the water heal you as only it can in the meanwhile. 

 

paps49

Super Anarchist
8,943
315
Adelaide Australia
Incredible woman and I wish her well on this amazing endeavor. I have sailed that route and can't imagine rowing it.

It does give pause though to think about some of the behavior in these very forums.

 

cms

Super Anarchist
One "well known sailing photographer" was given a 5 year jail sentence for the rape of his niece back in 2014. Only actually spent 1 year behind bars though...

 

BlondeWithFreeBoat

Anarchist
935
66
NY
She should, because now every famous sailing photographer is a suspect...
It would also allow the rest of us to avoid the F out this person. She said most of us probably follow him - he deserves to lose his following, his credibility and business. 

I am sure this is a delicate thing for her and she has reasons she didn't say anything, but if she does decide to when she is comfortable, it would be a net positive, I think. 

 

LMI

Member
321
128
east coast usa
lia-ditton-1024x575.jpg


Dear and nearly long-lost friend Lia Ditton has a story to tell. Read it.

Why Did You Stop Sailing? A journalist in Portland, Oregon asked me a year ago. 

Why Are You Rowing the Pacific?  Everyone asks me this.

In 2011, I starred in a horror movie, except that movie was my life. I had a stalker and you know him. You probably follow him online.

The messages at first were one liners, but over the months they became lengthy scripts from a sick, disturbed mind. “I am Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde…”

The emails were sent from names of people in the sailing industry or hybrids of sailing names. Sometimes photos were attached, of me that week. The calls were unregistered. The phone company had no record of them. Something called ‘pinging’ - I learned - an automated service you can select online, to harass someone. 

It didn’t matter what email address or social media account I used. The messages came up to 6 a day, sometimes sent to people I interacted with online. By Christmas of 2011, I had stopped writing for all sailing publications including Sailing Anarchy. 

I don’t remember when the hot sweats started, but I remember the nightmares in detail - waking up unable to scream, waking up as my throat was being slit.  I sat in the living room one day beside my life’s possessions all boxed up. I was planning to swim to the Scilly Isles at night, knowing full well I wouldn’t make it. I was afraid of myself - afraid if my stalker turned up in my alleyway, I would grab the kitchen knife and kill him. This was year two and I now knew who he was.

The police got more involved on the request of my uncle, a policeman himself. The stalker went on the list as WANTED in the UK, but he was on a train back to France before they could grab him. He was no fool. 

I moved apartment, moved again and then to Spain, alas too late. My appendix ruptured, then for a year, I was on a special diet to save my spleen. I was corroding, from the inside out.  Amazingly, I got a job - in the Sahara, for an ultra marathon company. The Sahara is beautiful, brutal, raw and so was the race, The Marathon des Sables. 

I waited all my career to join a women’s Volvo Team, but I didn’t apply for Team SCA, because I couldn’t. My life was a shattered pane of glass, held together by tape. 

But in the dust of the desert I found hope and three years after it started, I ventured back into sailing. At first I suffered heart palpitations at the sight of boats, - the stalker works in the sailing industry - but over time those went away. 

My first job was as safety officer for the ocean rowing race from Monterey to Hawaii; my second as boat captain of the 110ft solar powered catamaran ‘Planet Solar.’ Then again I was safety officer for the second edition of the rowing race to Hawaii. The ocean was calling me back.

Rowing the Atlantic in 2010 was a diversion, a fun side show to my main love of racing boats. Naked for 73 days, the oars extensions of my arms, I could feel the ocean. Whales swam alongside and clicked to communicate. I felt I belonged. I felt wild and free. 

When I began this project to row solo across the North Pacific, to be the 1st woman and 1st person to row land-to-land, I don’t think I knew my motive. Now I do. 

In 1,850 miles of training, rowing my boat in the bay of San Francisco and down the California Coast, my body has become strong. I have picked up a huge following of all ages, but particularly young girls. And for those girls, I want to throw open the doors of possibility that they can do and be whatever they dream of. 

Rowing the Pacific was never about rowing, but what it represents: resilience in the face of adversity, determination against all odds and dogged unwavering perseverance.

I don’t know how you move on from an experience like being stalked - it left shards of glass inside of me. But what we do know, is that over time glass is weathered by the sea. 

My typhoon-proof rowboat is about to be built and I am set on leaving Japan right before the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Think of it as the Super Slow Olympics as I’ll leave before the Olympics start and probably still be rowing after they’ve finished. 

I have one more thing to say. 

The man who stalked me is a sailing photographer. 
I wish and hope you will find peace and and even more strength than you already have.

 

Sail4beer

Usual suspect
10,418
3,705
Toms River,NJ
He seems like a regular guy and he’s busy on this side of the pond. Don’t think he would be able to hop a train for France to beat UK charges either.

 
Last edited by a moderator:

BlondeWithFreeBoat

Anarchist
935
66
NY
I doubt it’s Sharon or Meghan...

View attachment 298606
I think you can eliminate most or all of those. Based on the story, it sounds like this person may live in Europe, given the escape through the tunnel to France.

In any case, I would encourage everyone not to toss names out here without knowing who it really is - there is one photographer who's a stalker nutcase and many more who have worked their tails off to build a fragile niche business and could lose it all thanks to an erroneous and speculative accusation by the internet court of public opinion. We can hope Lia will eventually name her tormenter but it isn't for us to post names in here and potentially ruin innocent people's businesses.

 




Top