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66 Days Adrift: A True Story of Disaster and Survival on the Open Sea Paperback – 1 Mar 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Contemporary (1 Mar. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071438742
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071438742
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 51,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Back Cover

A Powerful Account of Struggle and Survival at Sea

The lure of paradise was unmistakable, and Bill Butler was on a quest to find it with his wife Simonne—riding the Pacific currents on their sloop Siboney, with a world of possibilities ahead. But, twelve hundred miles from land, the alluring ocean showed its deadly side when, without warning, a pod of pilot whales attacked their sailboat, battering it until it sank beneath the waves. The dazed couple was left drifting in midocean in a leaky six-foot raft meant for coastal waters, with only a few hastily grabbed provisions to sustain them. Simonne, who had never truly shared Bill's dream of circumnavigating the globe, blamed him bitterly for their desperate plight.

In this powerful account of their 66-day odyssey, Butler tells a gritty, harrowing tale of their battles against nature, despair, and their own demons. He reveals how he and Simonne found the strength to survive despite the ravages of hunger, storms, and sharks. Based on Butler's faithful log entries, 66 Days Adrift is both a chilling cautionary tale for sailors with big ideas and an inspiring story of love, faith, and survival against long odds.

"How a lifetime dream to sail around the world becomes a fight to survive."—Yachting

"A vivid account of the complete will to live."—The San Juan Star

William Butler learned to sail by the age of nine. When he retired in 1989, he had logged more than 34,000 blue-water miles; his total now exceeds 74,000 miles. Bill and Simonne are #15 in the 2004 Outdoor Life Network program "Countdown: Survival 25"—the most inspiring and unbelievable survival stories of the 20th century.

About the Author

William Butler learned to sail by the age of nine. In 1989 he retired from business and went sailing. Since then, he has logged more than 74,000 miles at sea.


Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
William Butler's memoir "66 Days Adrift: A True Story of Disaster and Survival on the Open Sea" is a riveting account of his 66-day odyssey in a life raft with his wife Simonne in 1989.
A pod of pilot whales attacked and sank "Siboney" their sailboat twelve hundred miles west of the Panama Canal in the Pacific Ocean. Bill was in his late 60s and Simonne in her early 50s. The couple drifted back east towards the Panama Canal in their leaky six-foot raft meant for coastal waters. Their raft was battered by sharks over 80 times a day. They also endured violent storms, near misses by a few of the over forty vessels that passed without seeing them, a three-inch rip in the bottom of their raft, open sores and their own inner demons of fear and anger.
They survived by catching and eating trigger fish by hand, using a manual desalinator for water and with their determination, hope and faith.
Reading their story made me feel as if I was right there with them. Their highs and lows were my highs and lows. Their book gave me a new appreciation for what's important in life.
Bill has, surprisingly, lost three sailboats. The first in manila in 1967, the second in the Pacific in 1989 and the third in 2000 near Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The Butler's story was featured in the 2004 Outdoor Life Network TV program "Countdown: Survival 25."
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This wasn't a bad story but as you might guess there isn't a lot to talk about when you are stuck on a life raft.I found the line of the "raft being bashed by sharks" or "sun set descriptions" or the "catching of trigger fish" being repeated time and time again, but hey it's a true story and not a situation I would like to be in. Although the guy only bought an inshore life raft instead of a high seas life raft, at least he had the sense to buy a reverse osmosis pump to get sweet water from sea water otherwise they would have both been dead for sure. The raft itself was torn slightly while getting it off the yacht when the yacht was sinking, which added a bit of drama as nobody likes to go from one sinking vessel to another. Throw in the fact that butler is a bit of a "Frank Spencer" at D.I.Y and you can imagine how the relationship goes between him and his wife on this tiny vessel for 66 days. Luckily he was better at catching fish than he was at raft repairs.
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This book surprised me, I wasn't particularly keen to read it as I thought it would just be 66 days of them staring out at an empty sea, but encouraged to do so by my husband who'd just finished it I picked it up and read it cover to cover in a couple of days. Yes, it was 66 days of them floating about in a barely seaworthy life raft, but the way William Butler takes us through it, it certainly is not a boring story. A very tense read, but enjoyable nonetheless.
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An excellent read, with much detail, a true story and its straight into the action from chapter 2, Its not hard to believe this happen as the mistakes leading to the event were obvious from the beginning
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A different survival account and I learnt a lot about sea survival which is something I had not even a clue... although same thing happens everyday whilst on the raft, you still read to the end as it keeps you interested.
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This book is excellent. It's a book that's hard to put down once started. It's absolutely fascinating. The couple's day-to-day existence in a tiny life-raft in the middle of the Pacific Ocean for 66 days makes for a compelling read. Sharks, storms, giant turtles, giant freighters and more sharks, all compete to destroy the raft and the couple. Everyone who loves to read will be glad that they chose this gem of a book.
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Good story written in diary form. A little repetitive but worth reading
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