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Mariner's Library

117 Days Adrift

By Maurice & Maralyn Bailey

Published by Nautical Publishing, 1974

A couple from Derby, in the hinterland of England, Maurice and Maralyn Bailey had a dream, to leave their humdrum 9 to 5 lives and sail across the Pacific Ocean. They gave up their jobs, sold their house and bought a Maurice Griffiths-designed 31ft Golden Hind bilge keeler, christened with the merger of their names, Auralyn.

In June 1972 they set off from the Hamble on England’s South Coast and crossed the Atlantic. They arrived in the Pacific via the Caribbean and the Panama Canal. Six days out from the canal their plywood boat was hit by a sperm whale which injured itself from the impact so badly that Maralyn watched in horror as the beast thrashed around in its own blood.

As their boat started to sink they filled their inflatable dinghy with stores and lived aboard the liferaft. There began a nightmarish journey adrift of capsize, storm and near starvation until they were picked up by a Korean tuna fishing boat.

Their story is gripping and their ordeal still stands as a record in the annals of survival.

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