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Mariner's Library

Adrift

By Steve Callahan

Solo sailor Steve Callahan was 800 miles west of Tenerife, on passage to Antigua, when what he believed was a whale, sank his home-built 21ft cold-moulded wooden boat during the night. He deployed his six-man life-raft and began a gruelling 76-day ordeal.

Two days later he discovered he’d accidentally punctured the raft’s floor with his knife in the chaos of disembarking from his sinking boat. He used his cigarette lighter to dry the torn edges of the hypalon before glueing on patches.

I willed Callahan to survive as I turned the pages recounting his hellish voyage, which took me fewer hours than he spent days at sea. If there’s one book you should read to sense how insignificant we are on the back of the ocean it is Adrift. Adrift was published by Guild Publishing in 1986 and is currently available to buy from various outlets.

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