The couple who survived nine days in a liferaft - no thanks to its emergency pack

Have you ever wondered what’s in the sealed emergency pack of your liferaft? Probably not. You might think, as I did, that if the worst happened you’d cut loose with an EPIRB and a carefully prepared grab bag.

That’s why Pierpaolo Mori’s (right) and Libi Belozerzki’s story is so disturbing. I talked to them both last week.

They were sailing a 47ft performance cruiser from the Maldives to the Gulf of Aden last month – they did the ARC in 2005 and were on their way home to Italy at the end of a circumnavigation – when the keel fastenings gave way. According to Libi, who was on watch at the time, the yacht inverted “in less than half a minute.”

They drifted for nine days before being picked up by a Belgian tug on 3 October, and survived by eating birds and a sea turtle.

But, leaving aside the keel failure for now, the really shocking part of this was the pathetic quality of the emergency pack.

Read more about what they found in their liferaft in Elaine Bunting’s blog