Survive The Savage Sea (Sheridan House S.)
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Survive The Savage Sea (Sheridan House S.)

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  260 ratings  ·  39 reviews
After their 43ft schooner was stove in by a pod of killer whales, the six members of the Robertson family spent 37 days adrift in the Pacific. With no maps, compass or navigation instruments and rations for only 3 days.
Published (first published 1973)
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The true story of a family—father (the author), mother, adult son, twin 12-year-old boys, and a twentysomething friend of theirs—who escaped their sinking yacht and then survived for 37 days on the open ocean. Thirty-seven days. This is as harrowing as you would imagine, and Robertson discusses it all with an amazing, almost-flat, frankness. Down to details like the necessity of turtle oil enemas, so if you're at all squeamish, I recommend staying away. ;-) Though of course, this book played int...more
Bart Breen
Inspiring with a Message

There are books that stand out in a person's life. This is such a book for me.

I read this book back in the 1970's as a teenager. The story, images and lessons from it still stand out in my mind years later. That is a measure of the impact that it had on me and may have on others. I wasn't aware then how deep that went. Years later I am able to recount a great deal from that read despite the intervening time. That is a measure of its impact and the vivid nature of the imag...more
Ramsey Hootman
One of the greatest survival stories of all time. This is a re-read; my mother actually read it to me when I was a child of about 8 or so. Recently I was searching for something to do while sitting up with my toddler, and I had stashed this away with several other books I plan to read to him once he's old enough to understand. What was intended to be a quick flip through instantly turned into a "MUST READ NOW." I recalled the broad outlines of the account, but had not remembered how incredibly g...more
A Jaff
I am maybe not qualified to review this book as the author is my father, but that should not detract from the fact that this is a powerful story, and an inspiration to many wether they are seafarers or not. A diluted version has been a part of national curriculum english studies in many countries including USA and Australia. There was a film made for television, and The National Geographic did a docudrama, and other TV stations did programmes over the years.
It is one of the greatest survival ep...more
We met one of the young boys outside his Staffordshire farm some years later. His red setter had had pups and we wanted one. He invited us in for tea. A quiet, gentle boy who made quite an impression on us. It was only when we told my cousin that he said "Oh they're famous, they are."
I remember years before reading the story as I delivered papers up in Cumbria. Years later I was given an extract to teach as a reading exercise with a class. I don't remember how they did as a comprehension but it...more
I have read this book more than 15 times now. Sometimes, in between reading other books I will pick it up and read it again. Why?, I don't know. There is just something about the book that I enjoy. I can say no more than that !!
Jessica Murphy
Good adventure/survival story. Thanks to this book, I still think about turtle eggs and coffee enemas whenever I'm in a boat!
Survive the Savage Sea is a story of the author's experiences surviving at sea with his family when his yacht sunk in the Pacific Ocean on June 15th, 1972. With his wife, his three sons and a student they'd taken onboard, Dougal Robertson has to fight his way in an environment that has had hundreds of years to adapt.
The tale is told in striking detail and with brutal honesty that leaves the reader absolutely no room to doubt the authenticity. As you read, you find it hard to believe that so much...more
Michelle O'flynn
This is a must-read for any sailors who plan to venture further than their coastline. A true story of survival and ingenious ways to stay alive despite the odds. Dougal Robertson was a former teacher, his wife a former nurse and their skills saved the lives of their twin boys, older teenage son, their deckhand and themselves.

What do you do when three killer whales hull your boat and it sinks within less than a minute? How do you battle thirst, hunger, sharks and stay alive for weeks at a time, a...more
Awe, amazement and rapt fascination were my reactions to the trials this family experienced, as told in this true story, written by the father of the family.

During the Robertson family's planned circumnavigation of the earth in 1972, their sailboat was rammed by killer whales a hundred miles off the Galapagos. The boat took one minute to sink.

All six of the crew on board--mother, father, 18-year-old son, 12-year-old twins, and a college-age family friend--made it into the inflatable life raft,...more
John Wiswell
Aug 11, 2007 John Wiswell rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Survival readers, nature readers
A true story of survival follows how Robertson and his family survived having their boat destroyed in the middle of the ocean, with no radio and almost no supplies. Disengagingly formal and even a little sexist, you still can't deny that what they went through was amazing. Robertson points out how they fished, hunted and collected drinking water (including what sea creatures' blood was drinkable) adrift, hundreds of miles from land. Survive the Savage Sea is so formal because it's trying to impa...more
In June 1972, the Robertson's boat was attacked by killer whales and sank in 60 seconds. The six members of this family survive 37 days adrift in the Pacific, first in a rubber raft and then a fiberglass dingy. Without charts, compass, and with only 3 days worth of rations, they manage against 20 foot waves, sharks, thirst and starvation.

When I finished ADRIFT, I was on a hunt for more sea stories, so someone gave me this one to read. This certainly satisfied my interest, proving to be another c...more
A singular book--only a Scottish-farmer/master seaman/stoic lost at sea with his entire family could have survived and then reflected upon his feat in the restrained style and grand manner he dusts off for this. The captain/chief castaway/author comes across as both the one guy you would want to get stuck out to sea with and the one guy you'd never in a million years want to get stuck out to sea with.

This book also points out how quickly the world changes. Survive 38 days lost at sea in 1972 and...more
The amazing story of a family's 38 day survival on the 'savage seas' following a collision with a pod of killer whales. As luck would have it, the author was a qualified merchant seaman and his wife a qualified nurse. The author's account wastes little time on character development, throwing the reader almost immediately into the family's predicament. The family's spirit, discipline and ingenuity with little resources is remarkable. Every detail of the family's struggle is evoked with gritty rea...more
LindaB.D. (old AKA LindaD.)
Great book! True story. Also a movie was made from this, but the movie was not as good as the book. The movie left out many details. It is the true story of a family & one deck hand that took a summer vacation on their boat. It tells of the horrible tragedies that occurred such as: starvation, loneliness, isolation, worry, and disease. This is a fast paced novel that has gripping problems at every turn- it really captivates the reader on the first few pages. I've had this book for many years...more
Ian Chapman
An excellent true story of a 1970s family and a friend surviving shipwreck in the Pacific. The author was the skipper father, a middle-aged man with experience as a Merchant Navy officer. Their sailing yacht was sunk by killer whales, possibly mistaking the hull for a grey whale. They then spent weeks in a liferaft and small dinghy. Much detail on fishing and hunting turtles, and on drying meat.

The description of the small Japanese deep-sea fishing vessel turning to rescue them, with a corkscrew...more
A family heads out for a round-the-world sea voyage, encounters a shipwreck at the hands (fins?) of a killer whale, and lives on a raft for 40 days. No maps or tools or communications gear. The adventures are told with a nice pace, and the long nights and days are recounted such that you share their boredom and patience. I was struck with how ruthless the father forced himself to become in order to guarantee his family's survival. It cost the marriage, and I salute his willingness to sacrifice e...more
This was one of my 900 finds. (Our book group sometimes just assigns numbers from the library and you have to find a book in that group of numbers) It was a little on the technical side, me being a land-lubber, but the story was gripping. Having read The Secret of The Sea, I was glad to know ahead of time that everything turned out ok, but it was still suspenseful. A family, sailing around the world, has their boat sunk by killer whales and survive for 38 days in a small raft and dinghy.
Someone left this book at my husband's family cottage when he was growing up. He read it as a kid and loved the story, especially the descriptions of how tools were made and survival was achieved. He re-read the book this February and wanted me to read it. I'd been putting it off, but have to say that I really enjoyed it...despite the turtle oil enemas.
It seemed like a good idea at the time--to take the kids out of school and do a hue sailing trip. That's exactly what Robertson and his family did back in the 70s. When a whale destroys the boat, the family is stranded for more than a month in the Pacific. This is a thoughtful true adventure that will stay with you long after you've closed the back cover.
A well documented journal of being castaways. With everything against them, survival was the only thought. I've had nightmares about this type of situation. Can you imagine six people adrift in a twelve foot dingy in the Pacific Ocean for thirty eight days............unbelievable but true. No cannibalism here, just luck, intelligence and discipline!
I read this in my teens, after my parents read it, and I swear, if you get caught out there someday, somewhere, you will remember at least one of the situations in this book that might prolong or save your life. His writing puts you right there in the boat with them, visually and emotionally experiencing the words on the page.
Not the most well written book and certainly dwells on minute details that distract from any storyline. However the tale of survival is amazing. Even though you know the end you read with baited breath until they are safe and wondering just how many days at sea will they spend.
Adam Levine
I enjoyed this book from the standpoint that it was a true story and the specifics around how they survived were interesting (and yucky). I did skip some pages because the book is written from the author's journal - and many days are similiar.
From an old box of books my Dad was donating. Great story of survival at sea, but I sure hope I'm never in this situation because I'm not a fan of deep open water, sharks, turtle blood, surviving on sips of water, oh and also sharks.
Mi-sA-lê Fransen
It was a great read. Nerve wracking at times. I found a lot to learn. That if needed I should try to remember and apply. In fact, I have re-read it more than once. And amazing stories are mostly - amazing.
Started it night before last, only read 25 pages and read the rest yesterday and today at work. Great book, harrowing account of survival in the most forbidding environ we have on Earth. Read it!
This is another one that stayed with me for decades... Haunting book. Great read. Last summer I also met someone who's seen the actual last raft they were rescued from! It is a true story.
Found this in our little bungalow on the Big Island and read it while island hopping. Made me crazy paranoid about the ocean. (I am sure the pregnancy hormones didn't help.)
Nate Hendrix
Six people on a boat and the boat sinks. They survive in a rubber dingy and row boat for 38 days and the dingy sinks afer about a week. Well written an easy read.
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