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Adrift: Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  10,902 Ratings  ·  567 Reviews
On the night of January 29, 1982, Steven Callahan set sail in his small sloop from the Canary Islands bound for the Caribbean. Thus began one of the most remarkable sea adventures of all time. Six days out, the sloop sank, and Callahan found himself adrift in the Atlantic in a five-and-a-half-foot inflatable raft with only three pounds of food and eight pints of water. He ...more
Published January 1st 1999 by Adventure Library (first published 1986)
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Tessia Fields No, but he worked on the movie Life of Pi to make it seem more realistic.
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Petra Eggs
10 Stars If anyone was going to get shipwrecked and survive alone on the Atlantic it was Steve Callahan. He was a delivery skipper sailing boats from one place to another and he very much wanted to do a single-handed across the Atlantic. He had studied books on surviving at sea, he'd bought all the correct gear, practised the manoeuvres necessary to get off a sinking boat as fast as possible and within hours of setting off from the Canaries, his boat sank.

There is nothing I can write further tha
May 17, 2013 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It all begins with entering a race........and once his beloved SOLO is lost, what if's and survival is the name of the game for Steven Callahan's 1982 life-raft ADRIFT across half the Atlantic Ocean.

Often wet, cold or overheated, always starving thirsty or scared, with sores and ulcers plaguing him, and never-ending attacks by the bumping dorados, Callahan continues his daily routines amidst unbelievably harsh conditions for 76 long days.

While at times a bit too detailed and descriptive (for me)

LOVE LOVE LOVED this book. I'm a serious oceanophile(?) and seek any and all books associated with sailing/shipwrecks/stranded at sea and this book captured all of them together. Although it sounds weird, I loved living with the author on his sordid journey. I could almost feel the saltwater chafing his skin...feel the sharks poking at the bottom of the raft...smell the rotting fish as they hung from his makeshift drying racks - I loved every moment (this I admit sitting in the comfort of my own ...more
Miquel Reina
I found “Adrift” during the documentation process for the novel I was writing that moment: Luces en el Mar (Lights on the Sea). After reading the synopsis and discover that the story of Steven Callahan was real I felt more and more curious about reading it. “Adrift” is a great novel for those readers who like stories of survival, where the sea is protagonist and antagonist and above all, lovers of adventures, ADVENTURES in capital letters. Callahan's story is so vivid and real that you feel imme ...more
Aug 29, 2015 PirateSteve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Should be required reading for anyone going to sea with no land in sight, in any type vessel.

This book being a true account it moves along at the pace it simply must.
The adventure within is almost beyond the scope of human survival.
Jul 18, 2013 Pat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an outstanding book. The struggle for survival for two and a half months would have made a compelling, page-turner even if written by a terrible author. It just so happens that style rivals the substance.

Survival story junkies will revel in all the gory details, from his constant attention to water retrieval to the nuances of spear-fishing to keeping his deteriorating raft afloat for 76 days. Amateur psychologists will enjoy his inner dialogue, the rational consciousness scolding his fe
Feb 04, 2014 Alger rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fast-moving and captivating book that grabs hold and carries you right through the end.

So why three stars? Well, Callahan is not the most reliable narrator. Once the wild ride is over, the weird inconsistencies that you didn't have time to think about mid-read start to gnaw at the edge of your consciousness. Then there is Callahan's ego, which is big enough to capsize his ship even without a rogue wave. The too careful minimization of his errors, and his tendency towards inflated descriptions
Susan Spieth
Feb 04, 2014 Susan Spieth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The entire book is set in a small life raft where the author struggles to catch fish, capture water, plug holes and stay alive for 76 days. It's monotonous stuff that is somehow riveting. And it made me realize that I have nothin' to complain about....ever.
Sophie Schiller
Aug 17, 2012 Sophie Schiller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Adrift is about one man's solitary journey, both internal and external, on the perilous ledge between life and death. Steven Callahan is attempting to cross the Atlantic Ocean from the Canary Islands to Antigua, but before he departs, an elderly fisherman points to his vessel, the 21' long Napoleon Solo, and says, "In such a small boat? Tonto!" Fool. The rest of the journey is fraught with danger, starting from when the Napoleon Solo capsizes and sinks, forcing Callahan to abandon ship in a rubb ...more
Jul 30, 2012 Noel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: survival story lovers, fishermen, sailors
I picked up this book when my family rented a beach place for vacation and I was looking for something to read. I'd finished my own book already and it was the only one that grabbed my attention on the owners' shelf.

Let me say that I did not expect to like this book. I read the last couple chapters first, just skimming out of curiosity and boredom...and then proceeded to get hooked and start from the beginning. Reading a book like this on the beach was quite an experience, and it's a riveting su
Joseph Wiederhold
Mar 07, 2009 Joseph Wiederhold rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite some of the negative reviews, I found this book bordering on poetic. For being a survival story it has some pretty amazing writing... great example for teaching double voice (Callahan speaks to the various imaginary crew members inside his head)... great recommend for YA teen boy... I started it this morning and couldn't put it down.
Paul Spencer
Apr 28, 2012 Paul Spencer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the most riveting books I've ever read.

Someone told me about this book back in the 1980s and I knew that I had to read it.

Steven Callahan, an accomplished sailor, decided to build his own sailboat after he and his wife divorced. Once built, he sailed it to England where he intended to enter a boat race that takes place every year. The race is from England to the Caribbean.

He is forced to drop out of the race because his boat is damaged in a storm. When it is repaired, he decides
Aug 22, 2010 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After his sailboat sinks in the Atlantic, Callahan is left to survive on a small life raft. (Alone! Eek!) Of course it removes a layer of suspense knowing that he survived (obviously, since he wrote the book), but there was still excellent tension throughout, as he was tossed about in the unforgiving ocean.

While it doesn't have the journalistic edge/drive that you might find in one of Krakauer's books, I found Adrift to be quite well-written. It is as much about his struggle to stay focused and
Rebecca McNutt
Jul 17, 2015 Rebecca McNutt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really haunting and unforgettable survival story, I assumed that it might get boring but it stayed interesting the entire way through.
This is a true tale of Callahan’s survival after his small sloop sunk off the shores of the Canary Islands in 1982. I heard about this from a book magazine that had a section about notable books about the sea. This is supposed to be one of the best books about a ship wreck and living to tell about it. I agree it is pretty good, however, I would have liked to read more about what happened after he was rescued. Of the 344 pages, only 39 pages are devoted to his rescue and recovery. The best part a ...more
Jul 09, 2013 S. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
was this the predecessor work for Life of Pi? certainly at least some people think so, as the author reveals in the foreword that people have written letters to him claiming 'spiritual guidance' in the tale. and Callahan, moreover, was a philosophy major in university, just as the esteemed Yann Martel, that fraudster. (ha)

1987 New York Times best-seller sensation, Callahan's work does characterize time and philosophy and 76 days passes by in the sweep of a full book. beats that Andean plane cras
Feb 25, 2013 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I heard the author interviewed in connection with his consulting with Ang Lee for the movie Life of Pi. This is the story of his 76 days lost at sea, with close to nothing to sustain him but his knowledge and endurance. He is a thoughtful observer of himself and of the world around him. His experience reinforces his sense of being a tiny morsel in the universe not its center. He suffers physically and emotionally but something drives him on and he arrives in the Caribbean, not far from where he ...more
Joanne Parkington
A gripping read from a very brave & courageous man who is not afraid to admit that most of the time he was indeed just that .. very afraid! And who wouldn't be given the situation ... i think that this would appeal more to fellow sailor's & other seafarer's as the technical jargon was lost on me .. i just wanted to know what happend. Well written & hugely entertaining .. i especially liked the line ' a view of Heaven from a seat in Hell' ... this against the odd's story of keeping mi ...more
Mar 23, 2017 Falina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This guy is a badass. This account is a bit wordy at times, and I skimmed over some of the more technical aspects of the novel (because I don't plan on being lost at sea, but who knows?) The ending is obvious but I still rushed to get there, because I wanted to know how exactly it was going to turn out. And then I Googled Steven Callahan, and what I found made me like him even more. It's a great story that makes me want to get up off my ass and live harder.
When Callahan set out to cross the Atlantic, he didn't expect to make most of that journey in a drifting rubber raft: he expected to make it in a fully equipped sailboat. The ocean had other ideas.

Two things really make this book. The first is that Callahan isn't a writer by trade, he can indeed write quite well; he talks a bit in the introduction about the process of putting to book together, but even without that it would be clear that he gave it a great deal of thought. Ditto the illustration
meghan chriss
Jan 11, 2017 meghan chriss rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Adrift: 76 Days Lost At Sea, is an “edge of your seat” memoir about author and sailor, Steven Callahans astounding ordeal of voyaging through the dangers of the ocean alone for more than a month. This first hand account tells of the struggles he faced, from shark attacks to the heartbreaking realizations after nine ships pass him by. This book will have you re-living this survival story right next to Steven. With his emotional descriptions and amazing stories of his hardships, you will experienc ...more
May 17, 2013 Anthony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
This book looked very interesting to me when it was offered by Kindle at a price one third the cost of any paper back book on the magazine stand. This book of survival was akin to the book "Up In Thin Air" and "The Perfect Storm". It can be a very fast read but I choose to read it and then deliberate on the experiences of Steve Callahan, in this well written true story (memoir). I am not sure if the uninitiated experiencing this situation would have survived the ordeal. Callahan was very knowled ...more
Landon Kintner
Sep 03, 2014 Landon Kintner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea was an ok book. Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea takes place in the on the Pacific Ocean. Chris the main character is brave. He is brave because he gets lost at sea but he doesn't panic, he stays calm and waits to be rescued. One day Chris gets pushed out to sea on a sail boat with his friend. The sail boat was Ducky III. One day his friend died and he had to push him of the boat so the sharks didn't come after the boat. One day he saw a ship coming out of the nearby bay ...more
Sep 24, 2011 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Steven Callahan wasn't born a writer but he was born a survivor, which is why, although the writing isn't fantastic, his story of survival is inspirational.
'76 Days Lost at Sea' does drag at times but being stuck on your own drifting in the ocean going through the same problems can't have been easy.
Steven uses the minimal amount of resources he has to survive shark encounters, food and water shortages, and damage to his raft. He is to be admired for his continued strength where most people wou
Ron Irwin
Jul 04, 2008 Ron Irwin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. It is a floating Robinson Crusoe. Totally riveting. Every small, niggly thing he has to do is worth his life--from mending holes in the rubber of the raft to spearing dorado to mending the water still to learning to love fish guts. A while summer in a liferaft. Just imagine. This book delivers!
Jan 06, 2015 Ravachol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Steven Callahan might be my new favourite author. Unfortunately he's never written another book. Why would he though? There's no way he could top this. I wasn't expecting this to be written so well. I envy the prose. What an epic journey.
Oct 07, 2009 No rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shtf
The true hardcore survival story of Maurice Briand who got lost at sea for a grueling 76 days. I stay at sea a large part of my life so this book touched real close to home for me. Excellent story and very well written. Highly recommended.
Mar 13, 2013 Katrina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful real-life sea adventure.
Regina Renner
May 26, 2012 Regina Renner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing read! I could not put this book down.
May 25, 2010 Molly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, adventure
When a tale of a man barely surviving certain death alone at sea makes you want to go sailing...that's this kind of book.
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Non-Fiction Enthu...: December Group Read 2 2 16 Jan 04, 2015 10:27AM  
Robert Redford should have acknowledged Callahan 3 21 Feb 19, 2014 04:41PM  
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Steven Callahan is an American author, naval architect, inventor, and sailor most notable for having survived for 76 days adrift on the Atlantic Ocean in a survival raft. Callahan recounted his ordeal in the best-selling book "Adrift: 76 days lost at sea", which was on the New York Times best-seller list for more than thirty-six weeks.
More about Steven Callahan...

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“To my mind, voyaging through wildernesses, be they full of woods or waves, is essential to the growth and maturity of the human spirit. It is in the wilderness that you really learn who you are.” 14 likes
“This life is full of trials and tribulations, so you have to capture humor whenever and wherever you can find it.” 13 likes
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