In reality, Richard and Tami met in San Diego, not Tahiti. Richard was sailing around the world with an English girlfriend, who he ditched in favor of Tami. It's true that Tami had been a cook aboard a tall ship.
The scenes where they both meet were actually shot on location at the Royal Suva Yacht Club in Fiji. Coincidentallly this was also the setting for another sailing movie called The Dove (1974) where the sailor Robin Lee Graham met Patti Ratteree onboard his yacht The Dove.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
As indicated in the underwater shots at the start of the film, with the blinking emergency beacon, Richard Sharp died in the hurricane. He'd sent Tami Oldham below deck to safety and had her shut herself in as he attached himself to a safety cable. The ship was capsized by a forty foot wave and threw him with such force that it broke the safety harness and he went overboard. Oldham heard him scream, "Oh my God!", the boat flipped, and Oldham was knocked unconscious. When she woke up, Sharp was gone. Oldham was left to mourn her fiance while surviving on peanut butter and canned sardines while navigating a damaged ship by sextant. After 41 days, she finally landed in Hilo, Hawaii, 1,500 miles away.
The Hazana was a 1970s model Trintella. One of the reasons why it didn't sink is that it had a double-hulled design. The air sealed within the hull gave it buoyancy enough to bring it up after being submerged. However, the damage to the outer hull caused a serious leak, filling much of the space with water. This lowered the profile of the boat and increased its drag, which slowed its progress.