In 1981 Steve Callahan set sail from Newport, Rhode Island on his 6.5-meter sloop called Napoleon Solo. The plan was to sail from Newport to and find some peace and quiet after suffering some personal tragedies. Being a naval architect, the Napoleon Solo was a boat that he had designed himself. He was also an experienced sailor and had sailed a lot before the events that follow.
After leaving the Canary Islands, the first week of sailing was idyllic for Steve. He had great weather and fair winds to drive his boat. But after 800 miles the weather changed, and a storm came in. The waves got rough, and the wind was blowing at over 35 knots. But that didn’t really bother Steve. The trouble really started when he went to sleep one night and woke up to a loud bang and found the boat sinking.
Thus, began his ordeal of being lost at sea. In this video, we follow Steve Callahan from the time of the sinking to his eventual rescue 76 days later. But in between, he was stuck in a sparsely travelled part of the Atlantic Ocean. Things were worse because he only had a week or so worth of food and water. There were some close calls where he had a shark attack his raft and him accidentally puncturing his raft.
His position was so bad that he knew it would be two weeks before he could reach the shipping lanes. In the book that he wrote about the events of those 76 days, he says that he feels the sinking was a result of his boat hitting a whale. His book titled “Adrift: 76 Days Lost at Sea”, is available at Amazon and is a must-read!
Remember that Tom Hanks movie, Cast Away? Well, on one level, you could say he was lucky because he had an island to live on. If you still think that was a raw deal, then think about being shipwrecked in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Now imagine you are on a rubber raft and you are going to be there for the next 76 days with no help in sight!