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Old 04-06-2006
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"66 Days Adrift" by William Butler

I just finished reading the book 66 Days Adrift by William Butler, and it was very impressive. It's a cleanly written and detailed (almost day by day) account of the sinking of a couple's sailboat (by pilot whales, no less) in mid-Pacific, and the following 66 day adrift in a modern (but lightly made coastal) life raft.

Butler does a great job of detailing the challenges, solutions and mistakes they made, and the account is very contemporary (having occured in 1989). The main difference is that they had an early Type B EPIRB that was useless as far offshore as they were. They luckily had a manual water-maker, but only one fish hook.

The book is a page-turner, and it's pretty much impossible to read without seriously considering how oneself would do in similar circumstances. If nothing else, my impression of the importance of a properly sized, provisioned and maintained has increased about 1000% by reading the book, as well as the need for a modern EPIRB.

However, I read a later article by Butler, and he was somewhat critical of current off-shore cruisers and racers, who may cut corners now that the modern EPIRB and search/recovery systems are improved. Given what can happen in an crisis, however, relying too much on that safety net could have relatively terminal consequences.

Link to more info about the book (and some pictures)

http://www.wbutler.com/daysadrift.html


Jim H
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